Everything You Should Know About Retinal Detachment Surgery

Retinal detachment happens when the retina breaks away from its normal position. When this occurs, the retina no longer receives oxygen and nourishment from the blood vessels. Without prompt treatment, your risk for permanent vision loss increases.

While retinal detachment is painless, you may notice symptoms like floaters, flashes of light, blurred vision and reduced side vision. Be sure to contact your eye doctor immediately if you notice any of these symptoms, as retinal detachment is a medical emergency.

Types of Retinal Detachment Surgery

If you have a retinal detachment, you’ll need surgery to repair it, ideally within a few days of your diagnosis. The type of surgery you have depends on how severe the detachment is and other factors.

Here are the three types of retinal detachment surgeries:

  • Pneumatic retinopexy. This procedure injects a small air bubble into the eye. The bubble pushes the retina back into place, and a laser or freeze treatment may be used to patch any holes.
  • Scleral buckle surgery. Scleral buckling involves sewing a piece of silicone material to the white of your eye over the affected area. This helps your retina reattach.
  • In this procedure, the vitreous is removed, along with any tissue pulling at the retina. Air, gas or silicone is then injected into the vitreous space.

How Long Does Retinal Detachment Surgery Take?

Typically, retinal detachment surgery takes one to two hours to perform. All three procedures are done on an outpatient basis, which means you get to go home after the surgery. Pneumatic retinopexy and scleral buckling can be performed in an eye doctor’s office, while vitrectomies are usually performed in a hospital or ambulatory center.

What to Expect Following Surgery

After being monitored for a short time, you can return home following retinal detachment surgery. Your doctor will place a patch over your eye. Most patients have some discomfort after the procedure. Take Tylenol for pain. Do not use ibuprofen or aspirin, as this can increase your risk of bleeding.

Also, leave your eye patch on until you see your retina specialist, and use all eye drops as prescribed. Your doctor may also recommend that you position your head a certain way depending on any retinal tears you may have. It takes about two to four weeks until you can return to your normal activities.

How Successful is Retinal Detachment Surgery?

The success rate for retinal detachment surgery is 93 percent. Or, about nine out of ten retinal detachments are successfully repaired in a single operation. In the other cases, the retina detaches again and requires another surgery. If this happens, the final success rate is 95 percent. The key is being aware of the symptoms of retinal detachment and seeking immediate medical care.

Empire Retina Consultants specializes in retinal tears, holes and detachments. If you are experiencing symptoms of retinal detachment, contact us today for an appointment.