The retina is a thin membrane of nerve tissue that lines the back of the eye. If it detaches, you will need retinal detachment surgery to reattach it. Consult your Schuylkill County retina specialist promptly at the first sign of trouble to avoid serious vision loss.
Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania is the leading ophthalmology practice in Berks and Schuylkill counties. We have a highly skilled team of board certified, fellowship-trained vitreo-retinal specialists who will evaluate your eyes and help you manage a retinal detachment before it causes severe loss of vision.
Barry C. Malloy, MD, completed vitreo-retinal fellowship training at the Washington Hospital Center. He specializes in cutting-edge treatments for detached retinas, including the use of intraocular injections and surgical tools for complex retinal detachment repair.
Michael Cusick, MD, completed a medical and surgical vitreo-retinal fellowship at the Duke Eye Center. He specializes in vitreo-retinal disorders, including retinal detachment, macular holes, diabetic retinopathy and other conditions of the retina and vitreous.
Surgery for Retinal Detachment
If the retinal detachment is caused by a hole or tear, the surgeon will generally use laser treatment (called photocoagulation) or extreme cold (called cryopexy) to seal the hole or tear and hold the retina in place against the supporting tissues. There are also several common retina surgery procedures which are often done in conjunction with laser treatment or cryopexy.
Pneumatic Retinopexy: If the retina has just started to detach, a tiny bubble of gas can be placed in the eye to help flatten the retina and push it back into place. This is most often an office procedure.
Scleral Buckling Surgery: In this procedure, the eye surgeon attaches a tiny band of flexible silicone rubber to the outside of the eye (the white of the eye or “sclera”). The band compresses (or buckles) the eye and forces the retina to reattach to the interior wall of the eye. The silicone buckle remains on the eye permanently and is invisible after surgery. This procedure is usually done in a hospital or outpatient surgery center.
Vitrectomy: The eye surgeon may need to remove the vitreous gel to gain better access to the back of the eye and release tension on the retina. 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. Most vitrectomies are done with numbing medicine while you are awake.
Who is at Risk for a Retinal Tear or Detachment?
Anyone can have a retinal tear or detachment, but they are more common in people over the age of 40. According to the National Eye Institute, retinal detachments affect more men than women, and more Caucasians than African-Americans. Here are some factors that may increase your chances of a retinal detachment:
- Extreme nearsightedness
- Previous retinal detachment in the other eye
- Family history of retinal detachment
- History of cataract surgery
- History of other eye diseases or disorders, such as retinoschisis, uveitis, degenerative myopia, or lattice degeneration
- Severe injury to the eye
If you are nearsighted or have a family history of retinal detachment, regular eye exams with your Schuylkill County ophthalmologist are very important. Make an appointment with Eye Consultants of Pennsylvania at the first sign of trouble to find out more about surgery options. We have four convenient locations in Pottsville, Wyomissing, Pottstown and Blandon.