Retinal Tears and Detachments

Retinal tears and detachments happen when the retina (the inner lining of the eye) is damaged. The retina is a layer of tissue that’s light-sensitive and sends visual information through the optic nerve to the brain. Without it, we are unable to see.

A retinal tear is a small break in this inner lining. Retinal tears can have many causes and can happen at any age. Aging, eye trauma, eye surgery, or being drastically nearsighted may cause retinal tears or detachments.

Treating Retinal Damage

Tears and detachments can be treated with laser surgery or an advanced “freezing” process. Both of these treatment options attempt to keep the retina in place and keep it from fully detaching. If tears are not treated quickly, this layer of tissue can eventually detach from the inside of the eye. Detachment causes permanent vision loss.

Retinal detachment describes a much larger separation of the retina tissues. Although it is not exclusive to older people, it’s more common in those over age 40. If detected early enough, retinal detachment can be treated with the procedures used for some tears. More intricate surgery may be necessary. This procedure uses gas to push the retina together with the wall of the eye to allow for reattachment.

Symptoms of Retinal Tears and Detachments

Symptoms of these retinal conditions may include seeing flashes or floaters, sudden blurry vision, and seeing an area of dark vision.

If you notice changes to your eyesight or have other questions regarding your eye health, please call us right away. Make sure to mention any changes to Dr. Steven St. Marie or Dr. Karl Cunningham during your appointment. Serious problems can develop if left untreated, or if too much time passes between eye exams.

We’re happy to schedule an exam time that is convenient for you, or to work you in as soon as possible, in case of an eye emergency.

We want to express our appreciation to all of you for your patience with us during this crazy time.  We have remained open to see urgent and emergent patients and are slowly beginning to increase the number of patients we see per week.  We have staggered schedules to only have one doctor and their required support staff in the office.  We have staggered patient times such that only one patient is seen at a time.  As such, we must still prioritize those with the greatest need for our services since we are seeing only a fraction of our customary number of patients.  Please understand that you are all very important to us and we look forward to seeing you as soon as practically possible.
We are still offering telemedicine for urgent needs that can be managed outside of the office.

If you come into our office for an appointment, this is what you can expect…
You will receive a phone call from us before the day of your appointment to go over your recent history and other pertinent information to facilitate your time with the doctor during the exam.  If we are unable to have this conversation, your appointment will need to be rescheduled.

Please park near the front entrance (west facing) when you arrive and call our number (524-9561) to announce your arrival.  Our doors are locked to limit the number of patients in the office at any one time.  One of our staff members will review a COVID risk questionnaire with you and take your temperature prior to your entering our office.  We require that you wear a clean mask to your appointment. If you require support or assistance or are under the age of 18, you may have one person accompany you (provided they pass the COVID questionnaire as well).  In an effort to reduce the number of potential contamination points, please leave any unnecessary items in your vehicle (hats, cell phones, etc.).  Nonessential visitors that accompany patients will be required to stay in their vehicle.

Our frame gallery is open on an appointment basis only.  The same precautions shall apply.  All frames are sterilized following handling.

Patients, parents and essential care providers with a temperature of 100.4 or higher or answer yes to any of the COVID-19 questions will not be allowed entry into the office.  If you do not have a mask, one will be provided for you.

Everyone’s health and wellness are our number one priority.  We are following the CDC and the AOA’s recommendations regarding COVID-19.  As guidelines change in the upcoming months, we will adapt accordingly.

Thank you very much for entrusting us with your care during this unprecedented time.