Retinal Detachment Surgery

Retinal Detachment Surgery is performed to repair a detached retina in which the retina situated at the back of the eye is pulled away from its normal position.

April 23, 2022

Retinal Detachment Surgery is performed to repair a detached retina in which the retina situated at the back of the eye is pulled away from its normal position.

Some facts about Retinal Detachment Surgery:

  • The retinal cells gets separated from the layer of blood vessels that provides oxygen and nourishment in Retinal detachment.
  • Your risk of permanent vision loss in the affected eye increases with untreated retinal detachment.
  • Reduced vision and the sudden appearance of floaters and flashes are warning signs of retinal detachment.
  • Sudden appearance of many floaters, blurred vision, a curtain like shadow over your visual field, gradually reduced peripheral vision and flashes of light in one or both eyes are some of the symptoms of retinal detachment that appear before it occurs or has advanced.
  • Retinal detachment is a medical emergency in which you may permanently lose your vision.
  • Circulation to the retina can be restored and vision can be preserved in a Retinal detachment repair.
  • Your retina is the part of the very back of your eyeball and is essential to your vision as it contains millions of cells that detect light like a camera and sends images through your optic nerve to the brain.
  • The retinal cells will start to die when the retina pulls away from the back of the eye and the blood supply. A permanent damage to your vision can be caused because of this. Your vision may be permanently damaged if the macula completely detaches. Such serious complication can be prevented by reattaching the retina quickly.
  • Severe trauma, nearsightedness, glaucoma, previous cataract surgery, previous retinal detachment in your other eye, or family history of retinal detachment are some of the  causes and risk factors of retinal detachment.
  • There can be permanent loss of vision if the retina was damaged before reattachment.

Preparation for Retinal Detachment Surgery:

  • Retinal Detachment Surgery is usually done on an emergency basis.
  • You should inform your doctor about any medications you may be taking that could interfere with the surgery or the anesthesia.
  • The back of your eye, including the retina will be examined with the help of an instrument with a bright light and special lenses to see any retinal holes, tears or detachments.
  • An ultrasound imaging can be done if  bleeding has occurred in the eye, making it difficult to see your retina.
  • Both your eyes will be examined even if you have symptoms in just one.
  • Your doctor may ask you to return within a few weeks to confirm that your eye has not developed a delayed tear as a result of the same vitreous separation if a tear is not identified at first visit.

Procedure for Retinal Detachment Surgery:

A retinal tear, hole or detachment can be repaired by Retinal Detachment Surgery.
There are several types of surgery to repair a detached retina and the type of procedure or combination of procedures that is best for you can be determined by your eye doctor.
One of the following procedures can be done to prevent retinal detachment and preserve vision. You can go home the same day after both the procedure as these procedures are done on an outpatient basis  

Laser surgery (photocoagulation):

A laser beam will be directed into the eye through the pupil that makes burns around the retinal tear, creating scarring that usually attach the retina to underlying tissue.

Freezing (cryopexy):

A freezing probe will be applied to the outer surface of the eye directly over the tear after giving you a local anesthetic to numb your eye. A scar will be formed by the freezing that helps secure the retina to the eye wall.
You will need surgery to repair your retina if it has detached. The type of surgery your surgeon recommends will depend on the severity of detachment and several factors.

Pneumatic retinopexy:

A bubble of air or gas will be injected into the center part of the eye by your surgeon in Pneumatic retinopexy. The bubble pushes the area of the retina containing the hole or holes against the wall of the eye, stopping the flow of fluid into the space behind the retina if positioned properly. Cryopexy can also be used during the procedure to repair the retinal break. The retina can then adhere to the wall of your eye as the fluid that had collected under the retina is absorbed by itself.
You may need to keep your head in a certain position for up to several days to keep the bubble in the proper position. Eventually, the bubble will be reabsorbed on its own.

Scleral Buckling:

A piece of silicone material will be sewed to the white of your eye (sclera) over the affected area by your surgeon in this procedure. The wall of the eye will be indented and some of the force caused by the vitreous tugging on the retina will be relieved.
Your surgeon may create a scleral buckle that encircles your entire eye like a belt if you have several tears or holes or an extensive detachment. Usually, the buckle remains in place permanently and is placed in a way that doesn't block your vision.


The vitreous along with any tissue that is tugging on the retina will be removed in this procedure. The fluid will be drained and replaced in the eye.
The retina will be flattened by injecting air, gas or silicone oil into the vitreous. The vitreous space will refill with body fluid as the the air, gas or liquid will be absorbed.
Silicone oil may be surgically removed months later if it was used.
Vitrectomy can be combined with a scleral buckling procedure.

Recovery from Retinal Detachment Surgery:

  • It may take several months to improve your vision after surgery.
  • Usually the retina can be attached in a single operation, but you may need a second surgery for successful treatment.
  • The patient will have either poor vision or no vision in that eye when detachments cannot be repaired.
  • The success of a Retinal Detachment Surgery depends on the severity of the tears and detachment and how much scar tissue was formed in the retina.