Detached Retina Surgery

Detached Retina Surgery

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  1. Detached retina surgery

    The retina is a thin piece of tissue in the back of your eye. It needs to be in the right spot or we cannot see. When it detaches, it pulls away from the eye cleanly, the way a peel pulls away from a banana. Therefore, it can usually be re-attached. A detached retina will cause blindness. It cannot repair itself as some other body parts do. So surgery is necessary. Get help immediately!

    Injuries, diseases, or heredity, can all be factors in retinal detachment. There is no pain when a retina detaches. The symptoms can be vague and varied. But don’t take the chance of losing your sight, go to an eye doctor immediately if you have any of these problems. 

    Common symptoms are:


    • Seeing a curtain in front of your eye
    • Seeing spots in front of your eye
    • Seeing flashes of light 
    • Seeing what looks like a spider web in your eye
    • Decrease in vision
    • Blurry vision
    • Floaters in the eye

    Floaters (material that floats around inside the eye) are usually harmless. However, seeing floaters can also be a sign that your retina is in the process of detaching.

    See a doctor to immediately determine the cause. It could save your sight!

    Blindness probably outweighs the risks of having any type of surgery for a detached retina. However, as with any surgery, there is always the risk of hemorrhage and infection.

    Five Surgical Procedures Commonly Recommended:


    1, Laser

    This surgery seals the retina back into its place.

    2. Cryopexy

    This is a technique that freezes the retina into its proper position.

    3. Scleral buckling

    Is like a belt put around the eye to hold the retina in place

    4. Pneumatic retinopexy

    Seals the hole and injects a bubble of gas that holds the retina in place                                                                                                                     

    5. Vitrectomy

    Is usually done on the most severe cases. The vitreous (the clear jelly-like material inside your eye) is removed, so the retina can be repaired. Then a scleral buckle is applied and a bubble of gas is also injected. All this is done to try to hold the retina in place.   

    Each procedure is usually done as outpatient surgery. Occasionally, a patient will be required to stay overnight for monitoring to assure the retina is securely back in place.


    Pre-op Plans:


    It is standard practice for a doctor to ask your medical history and give you a physical prior to surgery. Doctors usually want the most up-to- date info about your health to prevent any complications. 

    For that reason the doctor will probably also order:

    ü      A chest x-ray (to avoid breathing problems during surgery).

    ü      A urinalysis (to confirm there is no infection which can spread to other areas).

    ü      An Electrocardiogram (EKG) (to verify your heart is healthy enough for surgery).

    Pre-op tips:


    Doctors usually ask patients to stop taking certain medicines about a week prior to surgery. Aspirin, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (like Motrin) and blood thinners are a few common medicines that are stopped due to the risk of hemorrhage. So be sure to tell your doctor about ALL the medicines you are taking. Be sure to stop taking the medicines your doctor suggests.

    Post-op Plans:


    The doctor’s advice for your post-op period will depend on the severity of the detachment and the amount of repair needed to fix it. In any case, someone will need to drive you home.

    Common post- op instructions are individualized, so follow your doctor’s specific orders. .

    Post-op instructions frequently include the following advice:

    • Avoid strenuous activities
    • Wear an eye patch
    • Avoid moving your head in certain ways
    • Don’t wet the eye during bathing

    Most people are allowed to return to their normal routine within weeks of surgery.

    If you suspect a detached retina, get treatment right away.

    Your sight is too important to leave to chance. Look out for trouble.

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