By Dr. Harshavardhan Ghorpade, Ophthalmology
Ways to treat retinal detachment
Retinal detachment basically refers to detachment of the retina of the eye from its position. Though it is a very rare condition, it is termed as an emergency situation and it needs immediate medical attention. It requires an immediate surgical procedure to be performed in order to reattach the retina back to its supportive tissues.
Surgical Operations before complete detachment
Surgery can cure retinal tears before complete detachment quite effectively. A retinal tear is basically referred to as a condition which is a precursor to complete detachment from its tissues. If the hole has not yet developed to detachment, the procedure basically involves a laser surgery in which a laser beam is directed into the eye to scan the area around the retina. This is done to attach the retina in its place by removing the holes in the tissues. It is quite similar to a welding mechanism. Another surgical procedure involves applying a frozen probe around the eye directly above the tear. The freezing performs a similar function as the laser does in case of laser surgery.
Surgical Procedures after complete retinal detachment
Several other procedures are performed in case the retina has detached completely. The severity of the condition dictates the procedure to be undertaken. Injecting gas or an air bubble into the eye is often done. The bubble then tends to push the retina back to its place by stopping the flow of fluids behind the retina. The doctor uses a frozen probe throughout the process to repair the area around the retina. Scleral buckling procedure basically involves stitching a silicone based material over the retina which puts it in position and relieves some of the pressure caused due to a detached retina.
Vitrectomy is another procedure which involves draining the entire fluid from the eye and replacing it with gas, air or silicone oil. The fluid generally refills replacing the air or gas. If silicone oil is used, it can be surgically removed a few months after the surgery. This procedure is generally carried out along with scleral buckling procedure.