Retinal Detachment

What is it?

This eye condition occurs when the retina – a layer of tissue at the back of the eye that processes light – pulls away from the tissue around it. Since the retina cannot function correctly when this occurs, permanent vision loss could be the result if it is not treated immediately.

There is no pain associated with a detached retina and it can occur without warning.

Symptoms include:

  • Flashes of light
  • Seeing lots of new “floaters” (small flecks or threads)
  • Darkening of your peripheral (side) vision

How is it treated?

Laser (thermal) or freezing (cryopexy) are both methods that can repair a tear if it is diagnosed early enough. These procedures are often performed in the doctor’s office.

Pneumatic retinopexy: This works well for a tear that is small and easy to close. The doctor injects a tiny gas bubble into the vitreous, a clear, gel-like substance between the lens and retina. It rises and presses against the retina, closing the tear. Laser or cryopexy can also be used to seal the tear.

Scleral buckle: In this surgical procedure, the doctor sews a silicone band (buckle) around the white of the eye (called the sclera). This pushes it toward the tear until it heals. This band is invisible and is permanently attached. Laser or cryo treatment can seal the tear.

Vitrectomy: This surgery is used to repair large tears. The doctor removes the vitreous and replaces it with a saline solution. Depending on the size of the tear, the doctor might use various combinations of vitrectomy, buckle, laser, and gas bubble to repair the retina