Retinal Detachment (cont.)
IN THIS ARTICLE
You cannot treat retinal detachment at home. Surgery is the only treatment.
After surgery to repair retinal detachment, your doctor may give you specific instructions to help your eye recover. You may need to rest and sleep with your head in a certain position, for example. And you may be asked to wear an eye patch or use eyedrops.
Some types of surgery to treat retinal detachments involve injecting a small bubble of gas into the eye. Afterward, you may be asked to avoid air travel until your eye has healed, because the changes in air pressure may cause pain and affect your eye.
Surgery for retinal detachment
Surgery is the only treatment for retinal detachment. The goals of surgery are:
Almost all retinal detachments can be repaired with scleral buckle surgery, pneumatic retinopexy, or vitrectomy.
But even with such a high rate of success for surgery, it is important to act quickly. The longer you wait to have surgery, the lower the chances that good vision will be restored. When the retina loses contact with its supporting layers, vision begins to get worse. An eye doctor (ophthalmologist) who specializes in retinal detachments will usually do surgery within a few days of your being diagnosed with a detachment.
How soon you need surgery usually depends on whether the retinal detachment has or could spread far enough to affect central vision. When the macula, the part of the retina that provides central vision, loses contact with the layer beneath it, it quickly loses its ability to process what the eye sees.
Your doctor will decide how soon you need surgery based on the result of the retinal exam and the doctor's experience in treating retinal detachment.
Surgery for retinal tears
Treating a retinal tear may be useful if the tear is likely to lead to detachment. Symptoms such as floaters or flashing lights are key factors in deciding whether to treat a tear. A tear that occurs right after a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD) with symptoms is usually much more dangerous and more likely to progress to a retinal detachment than one that occurs without symptoms.
In deciding when to treat a retinal tear, your doctor will evaluate whether the torn retina is likely to detach. If the tear is very likely to lead to detachment, treatment can usually repair it and prevent detachment and potential vision loss. If the tear is not likely to lead to detachment, you may not need treatment.
Common methods of repairing a retinal detachment include:
Common methods of repairing a retinal tear include:
What to think about
You have several surgical options to repair a retinal detachment. Their success in restoring good vision varies from case to case. The cause, location, and type of detachment usually determine which surgery will work best. Other conditions or eye problems may also play a role when you choose the best type of surgery.
You may need more than one surgery to reattach the retina if scar tissue from the first surgery grows over the surface of your retina.
Things that may make surgery more difficult include:
After surgery, you may need to use antibiotic eyedrops and corticosteroid medicines for a short time.
eMedicineHealth Medical Reference from Healthwise
To learn more visit Healthwise.org
© 1995-2012 Healthwise, Incorporated. Healthwise, Healthwise for every health decision, and the Healthwise logo are trademarks of Healthwise, Incorporated.
Find out what women really need.