As of 2015, the Retina Specialty Institute with 10 doctors, including Dr. Sunil Gupta, Dr. Maggie Shuler and Dr. John Myers, provides laser surgery for retinal tears. This practice has 16 locations located in northwest and central Florida and the Alabama and Mississippi Gulf Coasts.
Dr. Paul Torrisi, along with his five partners at the Retina-Vitreous Institute in central New York, also utilizes a laser for retinal tears, as does Dr. John Kirk and Dr. John Colvin in Loveland, Colorado.
The laser surgery procedure does not typically cause any pain, and doctors often perform these procedures in their offices or outpatient centers. An ophthalmologist uses the laser, without needing general anesthesia, to make small burns around the tear that result in scarring. The scars seal the retina to the back wall, thus keeping eye fluid in the middle of the eye, not under the retina. The treatment can prevent a full retinal detachment, but doesn't necessarily prevent future retinal tears. A patient may need to limit his activity for a couple of weeks following the procedure.
Not every retinal tear requires repair, so doctors often consider whether the tear could lead to detachment when making the treatment decision. They also consider whether the patient has experienced symptoms such as floaters or flashing lights. Tears occurring after a posterior vitreous detachment more frequently lead to detachments and thus are often treated with laser surgery.