Symptoms of retinal tears include flashing lights and floaters. Retinal tears are most common in patients with myopia (near-sightedness), as these patients tend to have slightly thinner and weaker retinas. A retinal tear is a medical emergency, because the open tear in the retina allows the vitreous gel in the eye to seep into the tear and accumulate behind the retina, causing a retinal detachment. A retinal detachment can cause permanent, irreversible vision loss. Luckily, when caught early, retinal tears can be successfully treated with a laser procedure performed in the office. Therefore, any patients with flashes and floaters should present to the retina clinic immediately to evaluate the possibility of a retinal tear.