Retinal detachment is a very serious condition that occurs when the retina pulls away from its supporting eye tissues. Since the retina can't work properly under these conditions, permanent vision loss may occur if a detachmentisn't repaired within 24-72 hours. There is no pain associated with retinal detachment, but if you notice vision problems -- such as seeing flashes of light, floaters, or a darkening of your peripheral vision -- contact your eye doctor immediately. Early diagnosis is key to preventing vision loss associated with a detached retina.

Retinal Detachment - Treatment

Retinal detachment requires care right away. Without treatment, vision loss can progress from minor to severe or even to blindness within a few hours or days.Only surgery can repair retinal detachment. It is usually successful and, in many cases, restores good vision.

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.
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