Vitreo Retinal Detachment Repair
Symptoms of retinal detachment include:
- Blurry vision
- Bright lights or sparks, particularly in the periphery (outer edges) of the visual field
- Areas of darkness, shadow or shade in the visual field
- Loss of vision.
Retinal detachment is diagnosed using a range of eye tests, including:
- Vision tests
- Examination of the retina
- Ultrasound scan.
See your doctor or eye specialist immediately if you experience any of these visual disturbances. A retinal detachment needs prompt corrective surgery to prevent permanent damage to your eyesight.
There are various surgical options to reattach the retina, these include the following:
This is the simplest repair of a detachment, but it is not suitable for everyone. The retinal surgeon injects a gas bubble into the vitreous cavity and treats the tear(s) with either laser or cryotherapy (freezing). The bubble presses the retina flat against the wall of the eye and the laser or freezing sticks the retina down. For this to happen, it is important you follow the surgeon’s instructions about keeping your head in the correct position after the surgery. The gas gradually disappears over the days or weeks following the surgery.
The surgeon treats the retinal tear with cryotherapy, drain the fluid under the retina and then sutures a piece of silicone rubber to the outer wall of the eye (the sclera). The silicone creates an indent, which closes the tear and holds it in place while the cryotherapy seal has time to form. The scleral buckle will remain permanently in the eye.
Under an operating microscope, the surgeon removes the vitreous using very fine instruments. They treat any tears with laser or cryotherapy and fill the eye with gas or silicone oil. It is important to follow instructions about post-operative head positioning to allow the retina to stick down. You will experience temporary poor vision while your eye is filled with gas. However, if the surgery is successful, your vision will improve as the gas reabsorbs and is replaced with your eye’s own clear fluid. If your eye is filled with silicone oil, you will still be able to see, although the image will tend to be out of focus. Silicone oil is usually removed after a few months. Occasionally, the retinal surgeon may decide to leave it in your eye indefinitely.
Your surgeon will determine the best approach depending on your individual circumstances.