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Retinal Detachment - Surgery

Surgery choices

Common methods of repairing a retinal detachment include:

  • Pneumatic retinopexy. In this procedure, your eye doctor injects a gas bubble into the middle of the eyeball. The gas bubble floats to the detached area and lightly presses the detached retina to the wall of the eye. The eye doctor then uses a freezing probe (cryopexy) or laser beam (photocoagulation) to seal the tear in the retina.
  • Scleral buckling surgery. Your eye doctor 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 pulling (traction) on the retina, preventing tears from getting worse, and it supports the layers of the retina.
  • Vitrectomy. This is the removal of the vitreous gel from the eye. Vitrectomy gives your eye doctor better access to the retina and other tissues. It allows him or her to peel scar tissue off the retina, repair holes, close very large tears, and directly flatten a retinal detachment.

Common methods of repairing a retinal tear include:

  • Laser photocoagulation, in which an intense beam of light travels through the eye and makes tiny burns around the tear in the retina. The burns form scars that prevent fluid from getting under the retina.
  • Cryopexy (freezing), in which your eye doctor uses a probe to freeze and seal the retina around the tear.

What to think about

You have several surgical options to repair a retinal detachment. Their success in restoring good vision varies from case to case. The cause, location, and type of detachment usually determine which surgery will work best. Other conditions or eye problems may also play a role when you choose the best type of surgery.

You may need more than one surgery to reattach the retina if scar tissue from the first surgery grows over the surface of your retina.

Things that may make surgery more difficult include:

  • Glaucoma.
  • Pupils that will not get larger (dilate).
  • Infection inside or outside the eye.
  • Scarring from previous surgery.
  • Bleeding (hemorrhage) in the vitreous gel.
  • Scars on or cloudiness in the cornea.
  • Clouding of the lens (cataract).

After surgery, you may need to use antibiotic eyedrops and corticosteroid medicines for a short time.

This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: July 15, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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