Retina detachment occurs most often in the elderly, but younger patients may experience a retinal detachment when the eye or your head encounters a massive amount of blunt force trauma. Because total vision loss is impending when a retina detaches, it is vital that it be reattached as soon as possible. Retina surgeons, like the ones at Advanced Retinal Institute Inc, will use one of three methods to reattach your retinas, and it is important to know what these methods are so you can make an informed choice about what to do if you ever find yourself in this position.
In what sounds like a procedure involving the removal of compressed air, the surgeon actually uses a bubble of compressed air to push the retina back into place. Then he or she might use a freezing tool to surgically adhere the retina back into position. Sometimes, instead of freezing the retina to the back of your eye, the surgeon may use a laser. Either way the first step is the same. The air bubble pushed into the center of the eye is always floated and manuevered into the area of the detachment before the laser or cryopex sticks the retina to its usual place.
Vitrectomy and Direct Reattachment
(This particular method may leave you feeling queasy, so be forewarned.) The vitreous humor, or the jelly substance that fills your eyeballs, is extracted completely. Then the surgeon inserts instruments which push the retina back against the back of the eyeball and flatten it down. If there is any scar tissue developing as a result of damage to your eyes, it is removed and then the vitreous is reinserted into your eyes before the incisions are sealed. It is not a preferred method of most retina surgeons unless there is some serious damage noted to the retinas along with detachment that only this procedure can fix.
Scleral Buckling Surgery
The shape of your eyeballs can also effect retinal detachment, so if that is the case with you, this is the surgery your doctor may perform. Essentially, your eyes are moved out of their sockets. A "patch" or square made of rubber or plastic is sewn onto the backs of your eyes. Because the patch is designed to pull the sclera of your eye down and inward (thereby buckling it) it reduces the pressure on the retina that is causing your retinas to detach. The scleral patch remains indefinitely when the shape of your eyes is unaltered. In the event that you select to have laser eye surgery for corrective vision purposes, then the scleral patch(es) may be removed.