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Retinal Break

Retinal break

Retinal breaks (holes) result mainly from tugging by a contracting vitreous. Other causes are degenerative disorders of the peripheral retina, ocular trauma and intraocular surgery.

Retinal breaks can lead to retinal detachment. To see how retinal breaks can lead to retinal detachment, click here.

When the retina detaches, the patient will usually have loss of peripheral vision in the field corresponding to the detached area of retina. Unfortunately, many patients with early detachments do not notice the peripheral field loss. Other symptoms of a retinal detachment are intermittent flashes of light and floaters.

What to do?
If the patient reports sudden flashes, floaters and field loss (the three Fs), refer emergently to an ophthalmologist. Retinal detachment requires emergency surgery to prevent its spread into the foveal region.

Paradoxically, referral is more emergent if visual acuity is normal than if it is abnormal, because the prognosis for good visual acuity is better if the fovea has not been detached at the time of retina reattachment surgery.

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