The retina is the part of your eye that sends images through your optic nerve to the brain and is essential to your vision. Retinal detachment is a serious condition that occurs when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye and its blood supply. Without a blood supply, the retinal cells will start to die. This condition can cause permanent damage to your vision if not treated promptly. Reattaching the retina quickly is essential to prevent such a serious complication.

A retinal detachment may be caused by the vitreous fluid of the eye retracting from the back of the eye.  When this occurs, the retinal tissue may tear. That retinal tear can then pull away from the back of the eye and detach the retina. Some causes and risk factors of retinal detachment include glaucoma, severe trauma, nearsightedness, previous cataract surgery, previous retinal detachment in your other eye or family history of retinal detachment.

Retinal Detachment Repair Procedures

There are several types of surgery to repair a detached retina. A simple tear in the retina can be treated with freezing, called cryotherapy, or a laser procedure. Different types of retinal detachment require different kinds of surgery and different levels of anesthesia. The type of procedure your doctor chooses will depend on the severity of the detachment.

One method of retinal detachment repair is pneumatic retinopexy. In this procedure, a gas bubble is injected into the eye. The bubble presses against the detached retina and pushes it back into place. A laser or cryotherapy is then used to reattach the retina firmly into place. The gas bubble dissolves in a few days following the procedure.

In more severe cases, a procedure called a scleral buckle may be performed. During a scleral buckle, a flexible band is placed around the eye to counteract the force that is pulling the retina out of place. The fluid behind the detached retina will be drained then the retina should return to its normal place in the back of the eye.

A vitrectomy is a procedure done to repair serious retinal detachments. It requires removing the vitreous gel inside the eye. The vitrectomy may release tension on the retina, allowing it to move back into its proper position where it can be reattached. Once the vitreous is removed, a gas bubble is placed inside the eye to keep the retina in place until it is healed.

If not treated quickly, a retinal detachment can cause partial or total vision loss. If you notice changes to your vision, do not delay in seeking treatment. Contact Medical Eye Center at 541-779-4711 or medfordretinacare.com to learn more.