Retinal Detachment (cont.)
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, FACS
Andrew A. Dahl, MD, is a board-certified ophthalmologist. Dr. Dahl's educational background includes a BA with Honors and Distinction from Wesleyan University, Middletown, CT, and an MD from Cornell University, where he was selected for Alpha Omega Alpha, the national medical honor society. He had an internal medical internship at the New York Hospital/Cornell Medical Center.
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.
In this Article
- What is the retina?
- What is a retinal detachment?
- What are retinal detachment symptoms and signs?
- What are retinal detachment causes and risk factors?
- Which diseases of the eyes predispose to the development of a retinal detachment?
- How does cataract surgery lead to a retinal detachment?
- What other factors are associated with a retinal detachment?
- Why is it mandatory to treat retinal detachments?
- What is the treatment for retinal detachment?
- What are complications of surgery for a retinal detachment, and what is recovery like after retinal detachment surgery?
- What are the results of surgery for a retinal detachment?
- Retinal Detachment At A Glance
- Find a local Eye Doctor in your town
What are complications of surgery for a retinal detachment, and what is recovery like after retinal detachment surgery?
Discomfort, watering, redness, swelling, and itching of the affected eye are all common and may persist for some time after the operation. These symptoms are usually treated with eyedrops. Blurred vision may last for many months, and new glasses may need to be prescribed, especially because the scleral buckle may have changed the shape of the eye. The scleral buckle also can cause double vision (diplopia) by affecting one of the muscles that controls the movements of the eye. Other complications can include elevated pressure in the eye (glaucoma); bleeding into the vitreous, within the retina, or behind the retina; clouding of the lens of the eye (cataract); or drooping of the eyelid (ptosis). Additionally, infection can occur around the scleral buckle or even more widely in the eye (endophthalmitis). Occasionally, the buckle may need to be removed.
What are the results of surgery for a retinal detachment?
The surgical repair of retinal detachments is successful in about 80% of patients with a single procedure. With additional surgery, over 90% of retinas are reattached successfully. Several months may pass, however, before vision returns to its final level. The final outcome for vision depends on several factors. For example, if the macula was detached, central vision rarely will return to normal. Even if the macula was not detached, some vision may still be lost, although most will be regained. New holes, tears, or pulling may develop, leading to new retinal detachments. If a gas or air bubble was inserted in the eye during surgery, maintaining proper positioning of the head is also important in determining the final outcome. Close follow-up by an ophthalmologist, therefore, is required. Long-term studies have shown that even after preventive treatment of a retinal hole or tear, 5%-9% of patients may develop new breaks in the retina, which could lead to a retinal detachment. Overall, however, repair of retinal detachments has made great strides in the past 20 years with the restoration of useful vision to many thousands of people.
- A retinal detachment is a separation of the retina from its attachments to the underlying tissue within the eye.
- Most retinal detachments are a result of a retinal break, hole, or tear. Most retinal breaks, holes, or tears are not the result of trauma but are due to preexisting factors such as high levels of myopia and prior ocular surgery.
- Flashing lights and floaters may be the initial symptoms of a retinal detachment or of a retinal tear that precedes the detachment itself.
- Early diagnosis and repair of retinal detachments are urgent since visual improvement is much greater when the retina is repaired before the macula or central area is detached.
- The surgical repair of a retinal detachment is usually successful in reattaching the retina.
Ross, W.H., and F.A. Stockl. "Visual Recovery After Retinal Detachment." Curr Opin Ophthalmol. 11.3 June 2000: 191-194.
Last Editorial Review: 9/1/2010
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