Retinal detachment repair
The retina is the layer at the back of the eye that sends the information of the image seen to the brain. Sometimes this layer can become detached and balloons into the inside cavity of the eye. This interferes with its function and that part of the eye cannot see. If this becomes longstanding the visual loss will become permanent.
Warning signs of a possible detachment include seeing flashes of light, a shower of dots and seeing a dark shadow forming in the periphery which can increase and affect the central part if not treated in time. Procedures to treat this condition include placing an external band around the eye or doing a vitrectomy.
A posterior vitrectomy aims to restore the retina to its correct position. Small incisions are made into the posterior cavity and the vitreous or jelly that fills the eye is removed with a small cutting blade and tube. Laser is used to “weld” the retina down and sometimes gas or silicone oil is used as a splint to keep the retina in place while waiting for the retina to stick down.
The outcome and the amount of vision regained depend on the time since the retina detached and how much of the retina was detached. If the central part is affected the outcome is less promising. Often more than one procedure is necessary to get the retina in the correct position.
Posterior vitrectomy is indicated for other types of retinal problems such as epiretinal membranes and macular holes as well as vitreous haemorrhages (bleeding into the posterior cavity).
Age related macular degeneration is a condition that affects the central part of the retina that is most important for reading. Early in the condition progression can be slowed and sometimes even stopped with an injection of medicine into the eye. Unfortunately at some point this treatment will not have any benefit. We will discuss this treatment option as well as the prognosis with our patients.