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What is Detachment & Tearing?

Retina Eye Care

A retinal detachment is a very serious problem that almost always causes blindness unless treated. The appearance of flashing lights, floating objects, or a gray curtain moving across the field of vision are all indications of a retinal detachment. If any of these occur, see an ophthalmologist right away.

A retinal detachment begins as a small hole in the retina. As fluid collects behind the retina, more of it is detached.

As one gets older, the vitreous, the clear gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye, tends to shrink slightly and take on a more watery consistency. Sometimes as the vitreous shrinks it exerts enough force on the retina to make it tear.

Retinal tears increase the chance of developing a retinal detachment. Fluid vitreous, passing through the tear, lifts the retina off the back of the eye like wallpaper peeling off a wall. Laser surgery or cryotherapy (freezing) are often used to seal retinal tears and prevent detachment.

If the retina is detached, it must be reattached before sealing the retinal tear. There are three ways to repair retinal detachments. Pneumatic retinopexy involves injecting a special gas bubble into the eye that pushes on the retina to seal the tear. The scleral buckle procedure requires the fluid to be drained from under the retina before a flexible piece of silicone is sewn on the outer eyewall to give support to the tear while it heals. Vitrectomy surgery removes the vitreous gel from the eye, replacing it with a gas bubble, which is slowly replaced by the body’s fluids.

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Boulder Eye Surgeons has been providing comprehensive medical and surgical eye care since 1997. We help patients of all ages in Boulder, Longmont, Lafayette, Louisville, and throughout Colorado to achieve and maintain clear vision. Our goal is to provide professional, compassionate and customized eye care to every patient, every time. We strive to understand your needs and exceed your expectations.

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