Retinal Tear and Detachment
The retina is the layer of tissue in the back of the eye that is responsible for vision. It is attached to the choroid tissue, which supplies the retina with blood. Retinal detachment is a disease where the retina separates from the choroid after a retinal tear develops.
Retinal detachment is a serious eye condition. If it is not treated, it can lead to blindness. Each year, 30,000 people in the United States are diagnosed with retinal detachment.
There are clear warning signs that a person is developing a retinal tear or detachment. When diagnosed early, most retinal problems are treatable. With treatment, retinal problems usually do not affect vision very much. This reference summary explains what retinal tears and detachments are. It discusses their symptoms, causes, diagnosis and
It is important to recognize the parts of the
eye before learning about retinal tears and
detachments. This section reviews the
anatomy of the eye.
Light hits the cornea of the eye first. The
cornea is the transparent covering on the
front of the eye.
Next, light travels to the back part of the eye through the pupil. The pupil is the opening in the center of the iris, the colored part of the eye. This document is a summary of what appears on screen in X-Plain™. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional or a recommendation for any particular treatment plan. Like any printed material, it may become out of date over time. It is important that you rely on the advice of a doctor or a healthcare professional for your specific condition. ©1995-2009, The Patient Education Institute, Inc. www.X-Plain.com Last reviewed: 6/02/2009
The iris controls the amount of light that enters the eye by changing the size of the pupil.
As light passes through the pupil, it enters a clear lens that focuses the light onto the back of the eye. The lens acts like the lens of a camera.
After passing through the lens, focused light continues through a clear gel called “vitreous.” The light moves towards the back of the eye where the retina is located. The retina changes light into electric signals. The signals are sent through the optic nerve to the brain. The brain translates the signals into the images we see. The middle part of the retina is called the “macula”. The macula makes it possible for us to see things in front of us clearly.
The rest of the retina is called the periphery. It allows us to see things on either side of us. This type of vision is called peripheral vision or side vision. Like other parts of the body, the retina needs blood to function. The retinal arteries supply the surface of the retina.
Retinal tears and detachments are painless. Seeing
floaters or flashes is a warning sign that a person may
have retinal tears.
Floaters are small, moving spots or specks that people
see in their field of vision. Not all floaters are signs of
retinal tears and detachment. About 7 out of 10 people
experience floaters at some point during their lives.
Floaters may appear as dots, circles, lines, clouds,
cobwebs, or other shapes. They usually look gray or
white and are somewhat see-through. They may move
or remain in one place.
About 70% of people have floaters. It is easiest to see floaters when looking at a plain background, like a blank wall or blue sky. Close one of your eyes and look at the
This document is a summary of what appears on screen in X-Plain™. It is for informational purposes and is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a doctor or healthcare professional or a recommendation for any particular treatment plan. Like any printed material, it may become out of date over time. It is important that you rely on the advice of a doctor or a healthcare...