Detached Retina Surgery
Types of surgery for a detached retina include laser surgery, cryopexy, vitrectomy, and others. The surgery your healthcare provider recommends depends on the type, size, and location of the retinal detachment. Many people who undergo this procedure experience good results. However, it is difficult to predict the outcome for sure, and it may take months before the final results are known.
An Introduction to Detached Retina Surgery
Treatment for a detached retina typically involves immediate surgery in order to repair the condition. The specific type of surgery your healthcare provider recommends will depend on the type, size, and location of the detached retina.
Laser Surgery and Cryopexy
For small holes and tears, laser surgery or a freezing treatment called cryopexy may be recommended. These procedures are usually performed in the doctor's office. During detached retina laser surgery, tiny burns are made around the hole to "weld" the retina back into place. Cryopexy "freezes" the area around the hole and helps reattach the retina.
Scleral Buckle, Vitrectomy, and Pneumopexy
For some cases, other types of surgery for detached retina may be recommended. These surgeries include scleral buckling, vitrectomy, or pneumopexy.
A scleral buckle is a tiny synthetic band that is attached to the outside of the eyeball to gently push the wall of the eye against the detached retina.
Vitrectomy and Pneumopexy
During a vitrectomy, the doctor makes a tiny incision in the sclera (the white of the eye). Next, a small instrument is placed into the eye to remove the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills the center of the eye and helps the eye maintain a round shape. Then, gas is often injected into the eye to replace the vitreous and reattach the retina (known as a pneumopexy); the gas pushes the retina back against the wall of the eye. During the healing process, the eye makes fluid that gradually replaces the gas and fills the eye.
With these two surgical procedures, after a couple of weeks, laser surgery or cryopexy is used to "weld" the retina back into place.