What Are Retinal Tears and Detachments?

The retina is the inside lining of the eye. It turns light into nerve signals. These signals are then sent to the brain where they become the images you see. The retina may be torn or detached due to aging, an eye injury, or other problems. Tears and detachments are painless. But they often cause troubling vision changes. If you have symptoms of a tear or detachment, see your ophthalmologist right away, within 24 hours of noticing symptoms. He or she will assess your vision changes and help you decide on treatment.


Symptoms of a Detachment

If you have a detachment, you may notice:

  • A shadow or “curtain” across your vision.
  • Signs of a tear (floaters, flashes, and blurry vision)


Symptoms of a Tear

If you have a tear, you may notice:

  • Floaters  (spots or threads in your vision)
  • Flashes  (bursts of light in your vision)
  • Sudden blurry vision