A retinal tear occurs when the fluid in the eye, or vitreous, pulls up a flap of retina. With this opening in the retina, the vitreous in the eye can pass through the hole and get beneath the retina. When the retina is separated from the back wall of the eye, a retinal detachment occurs.
Symptoms of a retinal tear are most often characterized by a shower of floaters, flashing lights or web-like strands in the field of vision.
With early diagnosis and treatment a retinal tear may be repaired with laser surgery or a freeze treatment called cryopexy, preventing retinal detachment. Laser treatment works by creating small burns around the retinal tear and as natural healing occurs, a watertight seal is formed, sealing the retina to the back of the eye. Cryopexy is a similar procedure, but uses intense cold to scar the area around the retinal tear to stimulate healing.