What is a retinal tear?
The retina is the lining inside the back of the eye – it functions a bit like the film in a camera, absorbing light and creating an image of the outside world.
If the clear gel that fills the eye (the vitreous) pulls away from the retina this is called a posterior vitreous detachment. Sometimes this can pull a break or tear in the retina.
A retinal tear is seen surrounded by multiple laser spots designed to seal the retinal break and prevent retinal detachment
What is a retinal hole?
Retinal holes are round defects in the retina that occur naturally, often without detachment of the vitreous. They are sometimes associated with short-sightedness (myopia).
What are the symptoms of retinal holes and tears?
Quite often retinal holes and tears do not cause any symptoms. However, if there is a posterior vitreous detachment you may have floaters and flashing lights in the vision. These usually resolve with time.
What treatment do I need?
Retinal tears usually require treatment with laser (laser retinopexy) or a freezing probe (cryotherapy), to reduce the risk of a retinal detachment.
Retinal holes may or may not need treatment, depending on their risk of causing retinal detachment.
Further information about retinal holes and tears and the risks and benefits of treatment can be found in the patient information leaflet.