Retinal Detachment Treatment
Retinal detachment is an eye emergency that affects the light-sensitive layer of tissues at the back of the eye. Retinal detachment occurs when the tissues of the retina detach from the blood vessels that provide oxygen and nutrients. A retinal tear or detachment may not initially cause pain or vision loss, but it can lead to symptoms such as flashes, floaters, or dark spots.
Without proper treatment, retinal detachment can lead to permanent vision loss, or blindness. The ophthalmologists from Monterey County Eye Associates, who serve Monterey, CA, Salinas, CA, King City, CA, and surrounding areas, go over retinal detachment treatment with their patients so that they understand the techniques available to repair damage and preserve their vision.
When Should I Seek Retinal Detachment Treatment?
Retinal tears and retinal detachment are considered eye emergencies because they threaten the vision. Anyone who begins to experience sudden flashes of light, the appearance of small spots or “floaters” in their field of vision, or dark spots should schedule an eye exam as soon as possible. In many cases, our staff can provide patients with an emergency appointment so that their condition can be diagnosed and treated right away, before permanent damage or vision loss occurs.
At Monterey County Eye Associates, our doctors customize retinal detachment treatment to best meet each patient’s unique needs. We offer four treatment techniques. The type of treatment that is recommended to each patient is dependent on how severely the retina has been damaged. Treatment options for retinal detachment include photocoagulation, cryopexy, pneumatic retinopexy, scleral buckle surgery, and vitrectomy.
Photocoagulation is a technique that treats retinal tears and detachment by creating scar tissue within the eye that essentially acts as sutures to close tears and reattach the retina. During this procedure, a powerful laser is targeted at the retinal tissues. The laser alters the tissues so that scar tissue forms and brings the retina back to its proper position.
The cryopexy technique is very similar to photocoagulation. The procedure is intended to repair damage to retinal tissues and restore the retina to its proper position by stimulating the creation of scar tissue along retinal tears or near areas of detachment. However, whereas photocoagulation uses laser heat to create scar tissue, cryopexy uses the cold from a freezing probe. The probe is held against the wall of the patient’s eye near areas of damage.
Pneumatic retinopexy is a retinal detachment treatment that may be performed alongside cryopexy. During this procedure, an air or gas bubble is injected into the vitreous (the gel-like substance that fills the space between the lens and the retina). The bubble expands and pushes the retina back up against the eye, where it belongs. With the gas bubble holding the retina in place, cryopexy can be performed to create scar tissues that will hold the retina in position once the gas bubble is absorbed by the body.
Scleral Buckle Surgery
Some patients may be well-suited to scleral buckle surgery. This treatment addresses a detached retina by attaching a small piece of sponge or rubber to the scleral (the white part of the eye). The attachment creates an indentation that helps relieve tugging so the retina can reattach to surrounding tissues.
The final treatment option for retinal detachment is a vitrectomy. During a vitrectomy, vitreous gel is removed from within the eye. This removal relieves tugging on the retinal tissues and grants access to areas where repairs need to be made. After appropriate repairs are completed, the vitreous gel is replaced with gas or silicone oil, so that the retina stays in place.
If you are experiencing the potential symptoms of retinal detachment, you should schedule a comprehensive eye exam as soon as possible. To learn more about the diagnostic tests and treatment options offered at Monterey County Eye Associates, contact us online or call (831) 372-1500.