Many patients can be successfully treated with retinal detachment surgery. It is important, however, to consult with a Berks County retina specialist right away because early treatment is the key to success.
Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania is the leading ophthalmology practice in Berks County, Pennsylvania. Our board certified vitreo-retinal team includes Barry C. Malloy, MD, who was fellowship trained at the Washington Hospital Center, and Michael Cusick, MD, who was fellowship trained at the Duke Eye Center.
Drs. Malloy and Cusick have extensive experience in the treatment of retinal tears and detached retinas and will evaluate your symptoms and discuss the latest state-of-the-art technology and treatments with you.
What is Retinal Detachment?
The retina is the light-sensitive tissue that normally lies smoothly and firmly against ocular tissue that anchors it to the back wall of the eye. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina separates from this tissue, or becomes “detached.”
In some cases, retinal detachment is caused by an injury which tears the retina, allowing fluid to enter the vitreous and pull the retinal tissue away from the anchoring tissue. In others cases, a severe inflammation may cause fluid to build up under the retina, altering its position and starting the detachment process.
Retinal detachment usually occurs only in one eye and, in most cases, cannot be prevented. It is considered a medical emergency and can lead to permanent blindness.
Retinal Detachment Treatment and What to Expect
In most cases, retinal detachment progresses slowly. As the retina detaches from the supporting tissue, vision will get worse, so quick action is important.
There are several procedures your ophthalmologist can perform to reattach the retina and prevent or reverse vision loss, and they depend on the severity of the detachment.
- Laser photocoagulation: Treatment with a laser may help repair holes or tears in the retina that are causing the detached retina. This treatment is usually done in a doctor’s office.
- Cryopexy (extreme cold): Freezing the tissue around a retinal tear or hole may help to seal the tear and hold the retina in place. Cryopexy treatment is usually done in a doctor’s office or an outpatient surgery center.
- Pneumatic retinopexy: A tiny bubble of gas can be placed in the eye to help flatten the retina and push it back into place. Pneumatic retinopexy is usually done in a doctor’s office or an outpatient surgery center with local anesthesia.
- Scleral buckling: In this procedure, the ophthalmologist sutures tiny bands of silicone rubber, called a “scleral buckle,” to the outside of the eye (the white of the eye or sclera). This pushes the wall of the eye into a position that forces the retina back into place. Scleral buckling is usually done in an outpatient surgery center with local or general anesthesia.
- Vitrectomy: If necessary, the eye surgeon can remove the vitreous gel to gain better access to the back of the eye. He or she may use laser photocoagulation to treat the retina, remove scar tissue, or repair holes or tears. At the end of the procedure, the surgeon injects a gas bubble to push the retina back against the wall of the eye and hold it in position. This procedure may sometimes be done as outpatient surgery but may require an overnight stay in the hospital.
Your Berks County vitreo-retinal specialist will help you decide which retinal detachment surgery may work best for you based on the cause, location and type of the detachment, and other factors. Make an appointment with Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania at the first sign of trouble. We have four convenient locations in Wyomissing, Pottsville, Pottstown and Blandon.