Retinal Tears & Detachment


If the retina is torn but there is no detachment, laser therapy may be used to seal the tear and prevent the retina from detaching. If the retina has already detached, it must be surgically reattached. There are a couple of ways to do this:


A scleral buckle operation is one in which a silicone band or tyre is used to indent the sclera (outer wall of the eye) and release the tractional forces on the retina. It also enables the detached retina to rejoin the eyewall and reattach itself. Recovery from the procedure may take several weeks.


A vitrectomy is a procedure in which an instrument is inserted into the inner cavity of the eye to remove the vitreous gel that is tugging on the retina. Following the removal, other procedures (see below) may be required to conclude the surgery. Recovery from a vitrectomy takes several weeks.


Vitrectomies and scleral buckle procedures may be combined with laser therapy or freezing of the retina to seal the edges of the hole and to avert further detachment. In order to keep the retina fixed, air or gas may be pumped into the eye to generate an extra tamponade effect. Most retinal detachments can be successfully reattached if treated early.