Retinal Detachment Repair
Retinal holes or tears may be treated with cryotherapy (freezing) or laser treatment in an effort to prevent them from becoming full detachments, depending on the type and location of the hole or tear, as well as whether it is pulling on the retina or if bleeding is involved. For full detachments, scleral buckling, pneumatic retinopexy, and/or vitrectomy may be done. Scleral buckling is performed in a hospital operating room where the surgeon will heat or freeze the tissue or use a laser to seal the hole or tear. Scar tissue is formed which will keep the tear sealed. A scleral buckle is then sewn to the outer part of the eye, compressing it so the tear pushes against the outer part of the eye. The buckle is typically not visible.
With pneumatic retinopexy, cryotherapy or laser treatment is used to seal the hole or tear. The surgeon then injects a gas bubble inside the eye to push the detachment against the outer part of the eye. The bubble dissipates within 2-6 weeks. After the procedure, special positioning of the patient’s head is required. Pneumatic retinopexy is an outpatient procedure, typically performed under local anesthesia.