Located at the back of the eye, the retina is attached to the vitreous, the gel-like substance that makes up for most of the eye’s volume. Although the vitreous begins as a thick substance with a firm shape, the consistency of the gel changes and becomes thinner and more watery as we age. A change in the shape of the vitreous can cause it to pull away from the retina and leave a tear. A retinal tear leaves the retina unprotected and can allow fluid to travel between the retina and the wall, which may lead to retinal detachment. Although a retinal tear does not cause pain, patients may experience flashes or floaters in their field of vision, a reduction of vision, a shadow or curtain forming in the peripheral vision, or other vision changes. Early detection of a retinal tear can often prevent the retina from detaching through prompt treatment.