Retinal Detachment Surgery


Retinal detachment is a severe condition of the eye whereby the retina stops receiving oxygen. Some of the symptoms of a retinal detachment can be scary. Objects might seem to float across your eye, or a gray curtain may move across your field of vision. If not treated fast, a retinal detachment can lead to lose of vision. Retinal detachment repair is an operation that is used to reinstate circulation to the retina and maintain vision. If you have the symptoms mentioned above, you should call your ophthalmologist or go to the emergency department as soon as possible.

Why is a retinal detachment repair performed?

Your retina is the section of your eye that sends images through your optic nerve to the brain. Your retina has millions of cells that detect light like a camera. It is part of the back of your eyeball and is vital to your vision.

Retinal detachment happens when the retina pulls out from the back of the eye and the blood supply. Without a blood supply, the retinal cells will begin to die. This can lead to enduring damage to your vision. If the macula (central vision area) starts to loosen, your vision may be permanently damaged. If the macula totally detaches, you may lose your vision completely. Reattaching the retina promptly is crucial to prevent such a severe complication.

Retinal detachment can happen due to the vitreous fluid of the eye (a gel-like liquid) retracts from the back of the eye, pulling the retina and tearing it. Those tears can then pull away from the back of the eye and detach the retina. Some causes and factors of retinal detachment include glaucoma, stern trauma, nearsightedness, previous cataract surgery, previous retinal detachment in the other eye, or family history of retinal detachment.

How is a retinal detachment repair performed?

There are numerous types of surgery to repair a detached retina. A common tear in the retina can be repaired with freezing, called cryotherapy, or a laser procedure. Different types of retinal detachment need different sorts of surgery and different levels of anesthesia. The type of procedure your doctor carries out will depend on the seriousness of retinal detachment.

One type of retinal detachment repair is pneumatic retinopexy. In this operation, a gas bubble is injected into the eye. The bubble presses aligned with the detached retina and pushes it back into place. A laser or cryotherapy is then used to reattach the retina tightly into place. The gas bubble will dissolve in a couple of days. A pneumatic retinopexy can be carried out in an ophthalmologist’s office.

In more serious tears, a procedure called a scleral buckle may be conducted. For a scleral buckle a doctor will position a flexible band around the eye to counteract the force that is pulling the retina out of position. The fluid behind the detached retina will be drained, and the retina should go back to its normal place in the back of the eye. This procedure is carried out in a hospital, operating room, or surgery clinic. Local or general anesthesia will be used, and you may be required to stay overnight in the hospital.

A vitrectomy is a surgery done for severe retinal detachments. It may need partially removing the vitreous fluid within the eye. Local anesthesia is used and the procedure is normally performed in a surgical clinic.

How do I prepare for retinal detachment repair?

Retinal detachment repair is typically done on an emergency basis. Be sure to tell your doctor of any medications you might be taking that could interfere with the surgery or the anesthesia.

What are the risks of retinal detachment repair?

Surgery always comes with some risk. Having general anesthesia can interfere with your breathing. Some persons have serious reactions to the medication.

If the retina was damaged before reattachment, you can permanently lose your vision.

What can be expected in the long term?

Normally the retina can be attached in a single operation, but sometimes multiple procedures are needed. Over 90 percent of detachments can be repaired. In the less than 10 percent of detachments that cannot be repaired, the patient will have to deal with either poor vision or no vision in that eye.

The success of a retinal repair depends on the severity of the tears and detachment and how much scar tissue was created in the retina. If the macula or central part of the retina was not affected, vision will be good. If the macula was detached for a long period, some vision will come back, but it will usually be less than 20/200, which is legally blind. It may take many months of healing after surgery to find out how much vision will return.


DisclaimerThe information provided herein is for patient general knowledge only and should not be used during any medical emergency, for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Duplication for personal and commercial use must be authorized in writing by

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