What Are the Different Types of Surgery Performed to Repair Retinal Detachment?

The retina is a part of the eye that allows visual images to be sent to the brain through the optic nerve. The retina is located at the back of the eye, and there is a clear collagen vitreous gel that fills the eye between the retina and the lens. There are several different things that may cause the vitreous gel to pull away from the retina so that it becomes detached, including glaucoma, nearsightedness, severe trauma to the eye, and a family history of retinal detachment. These are the different types of surgery that are commonly performed on patients who have retinal detachment.

Pneumatic Retinopexy 

In this procedure, a gas bubble is injected into the vitreous space inside the eye, and the gas bubble creates pressure that forces the retinal tear back against the wall of the eye. Then a laser is used to secure the retina to the wall of the eye around the retinal tear.

This form of retinal surgery is commonly performed in the office of the ophthalmologist. Once it is completed, the patient will need to keep their head in a certain position so that the gas bubble stays in place for several days until the retinal tear has healed. Over time, the gas bubble evaporates.

Scleral Buckle 

The scleral-buckle procedure is done by placing a flexible band around the eye to prevent the retina from being pulled out of place. It is also sometimes necessary to drain the excess fluid from the retina so that it returns to its normal size and fits against the back of the wall of the eye properly. This procedure is normally performed in an operating room as outpatient surgery.


When a vitrectomy is performed, the natural vitreous gel in the eye that pulls on the retina is removed. This helps keep the retina in place because there is less pressure causing it to be pulled away from the wall of the eye. A vitrectomy may also be combined with a pneumatic retinopexy in which the vitreous gel is replaced by the gas bubble.

For some patients, the vitrectomy is performed before placing the scleral buckle band around the eye. This procedure may be performed in the ophthalmologist's office or may be done as outpatient surgery depending on whether it is combined with one of the other retinal repair procedures.

If the retina becomes detached, the vision will usually become very blurred. However, having one of these surgical procedures can help improve the vision once the eye has healed properly. If left untreated, a detached retina can lead to permanent blindness.

Talk to a company such as Coastal Eye Group, PC for more information.