Laser Surgery for Retinal Detachment
The retina is a layer of light-sensitive tissues that lines the back of the eye. The retina receives and organizes visual information and sends it to the brain so that images can be processed. The retina is attached to a gel-like substance called the vitreous. In some cases the vitreous pulls away from the retina, creating a tear or detachment.
Retinal detachment is a serious condition that can lead to blindness, if not treated promptly. At Monterey County Eye Associates, which serves patients from Monterey, CA, Salinas, King City, and surrounding areas, we offer laser surgery for retinal detachment. This procedure allows the retina to reattach to the vitreous, and restores clear vision for our patients.
When to Seek Treatment
A retinal tear does not always affect the vision right away. Unfortunately, if a retinal tear is not diagnosed and treated, it can progress to retinal detachment. Retinal detachment compromises the vision and can lead to permanent vision loss, if not treated promptly. The most common symptoms of retinal detachment are:
- Flashes - Bright spots, streaks, or bursts of light
- Floaters - Dark specks or squiggly lines in the field of vision
- Dark spots - Dark spots can make it seem as though a shadow or curtain has fallen over the field of vision
If any of these symptoms develop, it is important that people contact an ophthalmologist right away, so that the cause of the symptoms can be diagnosed and treated.
How Does Laser Surgery Treat Retinal Detachment?
Laser surgery is one of the most common treatments for retinal detachment. During the procedure a powerful and precise laser is used to create scar tissue on the retina. The scar tissue acts like inner sutures or staples. Scar tissue attaches to the vitreous gel to close tears and reattach the retina so that it sits in its correct position.
Laser eye surgery is a quick and effective treatment for retinal detachment. The entire procedure is usually completed within five to 10 minutes. The procedure is performed with numbing eye drops, so patients should remain comfortable throughout treatment. At most, patients may experience a slight prickly sensation when the laser is directed at the eye.
How Long Does it Take to Recover from Laser Surgery for Retinal Detachment?
Recovery from laser eye surgery usually takes between one and four weeks. In most cases, scar tissues heal and close off tears or detachment within a week following treatment. However, it can take four full weeks for tissues to completely stabilize. Before then, complications could develop if patients are not careful.
To promote proper healing patients should avoid strenuous activities and quick head movements for at least four weeks after surgery. Patients should also follow all post-surgical care instructions, which may include wearing a protective shield over the treated eye, and applying antibiotic eye drops to prevent infection.
Are There Other Treatment Options?
Laser eye surgery is a common treatment for retinal detachment, but there are other techniques that are effective at treating this condition. Depending on each patient’s unique needs, our doctors may recommend alternative retinal detachment treatments, such as cryopexy, pneumatic retinopexy, scleral buckle surgery, or vitrectomy.
Contact Monterey County Eye Associates
If you are experiencing flashes, floaters, dark spots, or other visual disturbances, the ophthalmologist at Monterey County Eye Associates can determine what is causing it, and how best to treat it. To schedule an appointment at our eye care clinic, send us a message online, or call (831) 372-1500.