Retinal Tears and Detachments

Retinal tears and detachments happen when the retina (the inner lining of the eye) is damaged. The retina is a layer of tissue that’s light-sensitive and sends visual information through the optic nerve to the brain. Without it, we are unable to see.

A retinal tear is a small break in this inner lining. Retinal tears can have many causes and can happen at any age. Aging, eye trauma, eye surgery, or being drastically nearsighted may cause retinal tears or detachments.

Treating Retinal Damage

Tears and detachments can be treated with laser surgery or an advanced “freezing” process. Both of these treatment options attempt to keep the retina in place and keep it from fully detaching. If tears are not treated quickly, this layer of tissue can eventually detach from the inside of the eye. Detachment causes permanent vision loss.

Retinal detachment describes a much larger separation of the retina tissues. Although it is not exclusive to older people, it’s more common in those over age 40. If detected early enough, retinal detachment can be treated with the procedures used for some tears. More intricate surgery may be necessary. This procedure uses gas to push the retina together with the wall of the eye to allow for reattachment.

Symptoms of Retinal Tears and Detachments

Symptoms of these retinal conditions may include seeing flashes or floaters, sudden blurry vision, and seeing an area of dark vision.

If you notice changes to your eyesight or have other questions regarding your eye health, please call us right away. Make sure to mention any changes to one of our doctors during your appointment. Serious problems can develop if left untreated, or if too much time passes between eye exams.

We’re happy to schedule an exam time that is convenient for you, or to work you in as soon as possible, in case of an eye emergency.

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To our patients,

The safety and well-being of our employees and our patients is always our priority, and we recognize the important role we play in providing comprehensive eye care throughout the Des Moines area. Given the continued spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) within our community and throughout our nation, we are taking extensive measures to prevent any further spread of the virus. We are constantly monitoring this pandemic and will continue to look for recommendations from the American Optometric Association as well as our local Iowa branch.

To minimize risk of COVID-19 transmission, we are asking any patients with any cold or flu-like symptoms (cough, shortness of breath, sneezing, or fever), have traveled outside of the United States, or believe to have been exposed to someone with COVID-19 to reschedule their appointments. Hand washing, social distancing, and self-isolation are still the best ways to prevent this virus from spreading more widely. We are committed to providing the best care to you and will continue to give you the best guidance we can.

We appreciate everyone's cooperation during this time and ask for your understanding if you are someone who is asked to reschedule your appointment to a later time.

Thank you again and be well!