Most patients with a retinal detachment will need surgery, either immediately or after a short period of time. (However, surgery may not be needed if you do not have symptoms or have had the detachment for a while.)
Types of surgery include:
- Cryopexy (intense cold applied to the area with an ice probe) to help a scar form, which holds the retina to the underlying layer
Laser surgeryto seal the tears or holes in the retina
- Pneumatic retinopexy (placing a gas bubble in the eye) to help the retina float back into place
Laser surgery is performed after pneumatic retinopexy to permanently fix it in place. This is often done in a doctor's office.
More extensive detachments may require surgery in an operating room. Such procedures include:
- Scleral buckle to indent the wall of the eye
- Vitrectomy to remove gel or scar tissue pulling on the retina
What happens will depend on the location and extent of the detachment and early treatment. If the macula has not detached, the results of treatment can be excellent. Most retinal detachments can be repaired, but not all of them.
The unsuccessful reattachment of the retina results in loss of vision.
Calling your health care provider
A retinal detachment is an urgent problem that requires medical attention within 24 hours of the first symptoms.