The retina is the light sensitive film at the bay of the eye, and in retinal detachment, this peels away from the wall of the eye. In most cases this happens because a tear has formed in the retina allowing fluid to pass underneath the retina. The treatment for retinal detachment involves surgery and the main aim is to seal any tears or holes in the retina and reattach the retina. This can be done in one of two ways: vitrectomy or scleral buckle.
When vitrectomy is used to repair retinal detachment, a gas or oil bubble is inserted into the eye to support the retina while it heals. Gas slowly absorbs over 2 to 8 weeks (depending on the gas type used), but silicone oil needs a second operation to remove at a later date. The surgeon will ask you to posture after the operation. This means placing your head in a certain position to allow the gas or oil to float into the best position to support the retina. You will require to posture 45 minutes out of every hour during the day.
A scleral buckle is a piece of silicone rubber which is stitched to the outside wall of the eye to push the wall of the eye onto the retina. This is not visible on the outside of the eye and remains in place permanently in most cases.
Benefits of Retinal Detachment Surgery
The aim of the operation is to prevent blindness in the affected eye. If the macula is affected (and vision is already lost), your vision may not return to normal.
Risks of Retinal Detachment Surgery
Retinal detachment surgery is successful in 9 out of 10 cases (90%). This means that 1 in 10 people will need more than one operation. The main reasons for this are either new tears forming in the retina or scar tissue which contracts and pulls off the retina. The risk of severe bleeding and infection is less than one in a thousand but it can cause blindness.
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