How to treat a retinal detachment

How to treat a retinal detachment

If a retinal detachment is suspected, the ophthalmologist examines the back of the eye with an ophthalmoscope. To do this, the pupil must first be dilated with eye drops. Then, the ophthalmologist can see all areas of the retina with a so-called ophthalmoscope. If he discovers cracks or holes that have not yet led to a detachment, laser therapy can treat these preventively.

Laser treatment: prevention of retinal tears

The laser beam places punctiform foci around the retinal defect, which scarves after a few days and thus “attaches” the retina. This can prevent retinal detachment.

Laser treatment is usually done on an outpatient basis. After that, the visual acuity is restricted for about a day, so you cannot drive a car for 24 hours. In addition, you should avoid strong vibrations – such as through sports – for about a week until the scarring occurs.

Surgery to treat a retinal detachment

However, an operation is essential if the retina has already become detached. Various methods are used: A foam sponge (silicone seal) is commonly sewn onto the eye’s sclera from the outside.

In this way, the wall of the eyeball is dented, which reduces the tension of the vitreous and causes the retina to reattach itself. If different areas are affected by the detachment, the dent can be made with a silicone band (cerclage) that is placed around the eyeball.

In rare cases, the vitreous must be surgically removed and replaced (vitrectomy). The vitreous body is removed first, and a heavy liquid is put into the eye instead, which presses on the retina. This is then sucked out, and the eyeball is filled with silicone oil or an air-gas mixture, which replaces the vitreous body.

After the operation, Reading and flying are forbidden.

Surgeries to treat a retinal detachment can be performed under local anaesthesia, although general anaesthesia may be necessary in some cases. Patients usually have to stay in the hospital for a few days and are not allowed to read for about four weeks to avoid eye jerking caused by rapid eye movement.

If gas were used as a substitute for vitreous body removal, air travel would be taboo for a few months because the gas can expand due to the change in altitude.


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