Hole or break in retina?

The mechanism by which retinal holes are produced is not yet completely understood.

The most frequent cause of a hole in the retina appears to be pulling by a shrinking vitreous body at a weak spot in the retina. The vitreous body is a transparent jelly filling the space between the lens and the retina. It maintains the space of the eyeball, works as a shock absorber and helps to hold the retina in place. Shrinkage of the vitreous body sometimes causes traction on the retina in areas where the vitreous body is "struck" to the retina. This traction may cause a tear in the retina.

Other types of breaks seem to be related to changes due to aging which occur in both the retina and vitreous body. 

Direct blow to the eye may cause the retina to tear away from its attachment


Most of the holes are in retinal periphery causing no symptoms. However its formation may be associated with sudden flashes of light, floaters and smokes and cobwebs. Presence of these symptoms calls for immediate eye check up.


It is done by examination by Indirect ophthalmoscope and slit lamp.

What to do ?

Retinal breaks may sometime lead to retinal detachment. If your doctor feels, he may seal the hole by cryotherapy or Laser, both are minor procedures done by doctor in a few minutes.

Cryotherpy: In this a probe is put on your eyes over the break as seen by Indirect ophthalmoscope and break is sealed by freezing the retina by extreme cold temperature delivered by the probe.

Laser: In this tiny burns are put around the break welding the break.

Note: Even after the treatment a new break may occur so a regular check up or emergency check up should be done if symptoms of floaters or flashes develop.


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