Only surgery can repair
retinal detachment. It is usually successful and, in
many cases, restores good vision.
The most common methods of
repairing a retinal detachment are:
- Scleral buckling surgery. Your eye doctor (ophthalmologist) places a piece of silicone sponge,
rubber, or semi-hard plastic on the outer layer of your eye and sews it in
place. This relieves traction on the retina, preventing tears from getting
worse, and it supports the layers of the retina.
- Pneumatic retinopexy. Your eye doctor injects a gas
bubble into your eye. The bubble floats to the detached area and presses
lightly against the tear, closing the tear and flattening the retina so that no
fluid can build up under it. Your doctor then uses a freezing probe (cryopexy) or laser beam
(photocoagulation) to seal the tear in the
- Vitrectomy, or the removal of the
vitreous gel from the eye. Vitrectomy gives the eye
doctor better access to the retina to repair holes and close very large tears.
The most common methods of repairing a retinal tear
- Laser photocoagulation. Your eye doctor uses an
intense beam of light that travels through the eye to make tiny burns around
the tear in the retina. The burns form scar tissue, which prevents fluid from
entering the tear and collecting under the retina.
- Cryopexy (freezing). Your eye doctor uses a probe to
freeze and seal the retina around the tear.
Retinal tears that occur with symptoms (such as
flashes of light) are more likely to lead to a
detachment. In these cases, repairing the tear can often prevent detachment.
The decision to treat a tear depends on whether the tear is likely to progress
to a detachment. For more information, see
when to treat a retinal tear.
have new or sudden flashes or floaters, darkness over part of your visual
field, or a new loss of vision that does not go away, see a doctor or seek
emergency care immediately. Sudden, rapid vision loss is a medical emergency.
What To Think About
After surgery, you
may need to use antibiotic eyedrops and
corticosteroid medicines for a short time.
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