What Are Two Common Treatments for Retinal Detachment?

Retinal detachment is an emergency condition. If you are experiencing the signs and symptoms of a detached retina, seek medical care immediately to preserve your vision. If you see a gray curtain-like shadow covering part of your field of vision or blocking your peripheral vision or if you see a sudden burst of flashing lights, you are likely experiencing a retinal detachment. 

Although a retinal detachment can be brought on by a trauma or injury, retinal tears can progress to retinal detachment as a natural part of aging. The vitreous, the gel-like substance in the eye, shrinks over time and pulls on the retina causing it to pull away from its normal position at the back of the eye. If the retinal tear has not yet become a detachment, there are 2 common treatment options: photocoagulation (laser surgery) and cryopexy (freezing). If the retina has a small hole or tear or a doctor determines the detachment is small enough, either a freezing probe or a laser can seal the break in the retina. If the retina has only a minimal detachment, it can be repaired with a procedure known as pneumatic retinopexy where the surgeon injects a bubble of air or gas into the eye which expands and flattens the retina against the wall of the eye, stopping the flow of fluid from the tear or small detachment to the area behind the retina. Cryopexy or a laser is then applied to the tear or hole. The 2 common treatments for more complicated or severe retinal detachment are a scleral buckle and vitrectomy. 

Scleral buckle is a surgery that involves suturing a thin silicone band over the sclera (white of the eye) to close a retinal break. The buckle is placed so that it does not obstruct vision as the material indents the wall of the eye, relieving some of the force caused by the vitreous pulling on the retina. The scleral buckle is secured under the mucous membrane that covers the front of the eye to move the wall of the eye closer to the detached retina. The buckle is usually left in place permanently.

Vitrectomy is a surgery that involves removing some or all of the vitreous humor from the eye, along with any necessary tissue. The surgeon then injects air, gas, saline or silicone oil into the vitreous space to flatten the retina. The air, gas or liquid will be absorbed but the silicone oil will need to be removed with a future surgery.  The vitreous humor will then be refilled with the eye’s own natural saline solution. 

If retinal detachment surgery is not performed, there is a high probability of blindness in the affected eye. Be sure to seek emergency help if you think you may be experiencing a retinal detachment. For a comprehensive eye exam at Retina Consultants of Nevada that includes retinal imaging to assess the health of the retina, call our office today at 702-369-0200 or visit our website at WEBSITE for more information.