As we get older, the vitreous, which is the gel that fills the center of the eye, starts to liquify and contract.  As the vitreous contracts, it pulls away from the retina, where it is normally attached.  Many times patients will notice more floaters as this happens.  As the vitreous pulls away from the retina, some areas with stronger adhesions can cause the retina to tear as the gel pulls away.

If you develop a retinal tear, it is important to have it treated to try to stop the development of a retinal detachment.  Risk factors for developing a torn retina include being nearsighted, having weak areas of the retina, and having family members with the same problem.

Retinal tears can often be treated with laser to help isolate the tear and prevent a retinal detachment from occurring.  If you are noticing increasing floaters, flashes, or a curtain or shadow in part of your vision, you should contact your ophthalmologist for an evaluation.


Retinal tears are holes in the retina.  Retinal tears allow fluid to go under the retina, which is a called a retinal detachment.  Retinal detachments can cause permanent vision loss and typically require surgery to fix.


A retinal tear treated with laser