Laser retinopexy for retinal tears
Retinal tears may occur in response to a posterior vitreous detachment (an age-related phenomenon), trauma, previous eye surgery, or spontaneously for no apparent reason. They are more common in nearsighted people, people with a family history of retinal tear or detachment, and people with lattice retinal degeneration (areas of retinal thinning). Tears are frequently associated with flashes and floaters; therefore, any new flashes and floaters should be evaluated as soon as possible by your eye doctor.
Retinal tears may evolve quickly into a retinal detachment, which usually requires fairly extensive surgery. In order to decrease the chance of this progression, laser retinopexy can be performed to spot weld the retina around the tear to the underlying tissue layers. It is performed in our outpatient Sewickley office on an emergent or semi-emergent basis, and usually takes only several minutes. There are no restrictions on activity afterwards, but the body takes approximately two weeks to respond fully and achieve the protective effect. Therefore, the patient is still at elevated risk during those two weeks and should be careful to seek timely treatment if any additional flashes or floaters develop.