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Laser Photocoagulation and Cryopexy for Retinal Tears


Topic Overview

Laser photocoagulation and cryopexy are used to fix tears in the retina and prevent a retinal detachment. These methods can be used if fluid has not begun to collect between the two layers of the retina. These methods work well to treat certain retinal tears. But some people will need future treatment for a tear in another part of the retina.

You can usually receive these treatments in a doctor's office or an outpatient surgery center. They do not require a hospital stay or general anesthesia. You may need to limit your activity for a couple of weeks after treatment.

In laser photocoagulation, an intense beam of light travels through the eye and makes tiny burns around the tear in the retina. Over several weeks the burns form scars that prevent fluid from getting under the retina.

Cryopexy achieves the same result by using a probe to freeze and seal the retina around the tear.

By attaching the retina to the layers beneath it, both methods keep fluid in the middle of the eye from passing through the retinal tear. During retinal detachment surgery, the same methods are used to hold the reattached retina in place and to keep fluid from collecting under it.

Related Information

Credits

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerAdam Husney, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerCarol L. Karp, MD - Ophthalmology
Last RevisedAugust 7, 2011

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