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* Ocular Anatomy And Function

* The Vitreous

* Retinal Tear And Vitreous Hemorrhage

* Treatment Of Retinal Tear

* Retinal Detachment

* Scleral Buckling Surgery For Retinal Detachment

* Pneumatic Retinopexy

* Vitreous Surgery (Vitrectomy)

* Vitreous Hemorrhage And Retinal Detachment

* Proliferative Vtireoretinopathy (PVR)

* Giant Retinal Tear

* Diabetic Retinopathy

* Epiretinal Membrane (Macular Pucker)

* Intraocular Infection: Endophthalmitis

* Retinal Detachment With CMV Retinitis

* Trauma And Intraocular Foreign Body

* Dislocated Lens

* Macular Hole

* Submacular Surgery

* FAQ's About Retinal Detachment

FAQ's About Retinal Detachment.

There are 14 FAQ's in this section.

  1. If I see floaters and flashing lights do I need to see my eye doctor?
  2. Flashes and floaters are sometimes important signs that a retinal problem such as a retinal tear or detachment is present. Although flashes and floaters may not be serious, a retinal examination must be performed to be sure.

  3. What is the purpose of retinal detachment surgery?
  4. When the retina is detached, it cannot work and vision is lost. The purpose of the surgery for retinal detachment is to reattach the retina. If the surgery is successful, the vision will usually improve.

  5. If pneumatic retinopexy does not work, may I then undergo the scleral buckling procedure?
  6. If pneumatic retinopexy fails to reattach the retina, the patient usually can undergo a scleral buckling procedure.

  7. Does the silicone scleral buckle ever need to be taken off?
  8. Once a scleral buckle is sutured onto the wall (sclera) of the eye, it stays in position forever. It may slightly change the shape of the eye and, after the eye has healed, a new pair of glsses may be necessary. On rare occasions, a scleral buckle placed all the way around the eye may cause pain. If the pain is severe and cannot be relieved with medicine, it may be necessary to loosen or remove the buckle. Rarely, an infection may occur. In such instances, the buckle must be removed from the eye. When the buckle is removed, the retina usually remains attached, but may detach. In most cases, however, the scleral buckle remains against the eye forever and causes no serious problem. It cannot be seen by others.

  9. How is vitrectomy surgery performed?
  10. The surgery may be performed using either general anesthesia or local anesthesia depending on the particular case. Vitrectomy surgery is performed through an operating microscope, which allows the surgeon to look through the widely dilated pupil at the retina. Small openings through the sclera are made in order to insert vitrectomy instruments into the eye. A variety of instruments are used, including a fiberoptic light which lights the inside of the eye, and a variety of vitreous cutters, scissors, and forceps.

  11. How long will the vitreous or retinal surgery take?
  12. The length of the surgery depends on the type of problem you have. If you have an epiretinal membrane or uncomplicated retinal detachment, surgery may take less than an hour. However, if the eye needs to have the lens removed, a scleral buckle placed, and scar tissue removed from the eye, the surgery could take many hours.

  13. How long will I be in the hospital for my surgery?
  14. You will be admitted to the hospital the day before the day of surgery. Most patients are able to leave the hospital one or two days after surgery. Occasionally, patients may leave the hospital the same day, but sometimes a more lengthy stay may be necessary.

  15. Are there risks to general anesthesia?
  16. General anesthesia always carries a degree of risk. Minor risks include postoperative nausea, vomiting, and hiccupping. Some patients experience an upset stomach following surgery. If nausea does develop, it can be controlled with medication. Occasionally patients will experience some confusion and prolonged sleeping. Very rarely, serious reactions occur that result in liver failure, cardiac arrest, and even death.

  17. Will my eye hurt after surgery?
  18. You may note some discomfort around the eye, but severe pain is unusual. Discomfort can be relieved with medication if necessary. Your eye will remain swollen, red somewhat tender, and uncomfortable for several weeks. You may also notice a scratchy, foreign body sensation when opening or closing the eye. This is caused by small stitches on the outside of the eye. These stitches will gradually become soft and fall out, probably withing two weeks.

  19. What instructions must I follow when I go home after surgery?
  20. The amount of physical acitvity that is allowed depends on the type of surgery that you have had. Your surgeon will discuss with you any restrictions. You will be asked to use some eye medications when you go home. The purpose of the drops is to prevent infection and make the eye more comfortable as it heals.

  21. Will I see better right after surgery?
  22. The vision following surgery depends on the type of surgery that you have had. In general, it takes a long time for you to reach your best vision. The vision in the eye will almost certainly be blurry for many weeks. Your surgeon will discuss with you the chances of visual recovery following your surgery and how much vision you can hope to regain. It is important to realize that recovery of vision following any type of retinal or vitreous surgery takes a long time.

  23. Why is postoperative head positioning important and how long must it continue?
  24. Patients are asked to position themselves after surgery (usually face down) if they have air, gas, or silicone oil in their eye. These materials rise to the highest point in the eye. If there have been retinal tears that have received laser or cryotherapy during surgery, the air, gas, or oil can help keep the tear closed, and the retina attached, while the laser or cryotherapy takes hold. Occasionally, head positioning is used to allow blood in the eye to settle away from the macula. The length of time varies, and your surgeon will tell you when it is safe to stop this special positioning.

  25. Is it possible that I may not see after surgery?
  26. Despite our increasing knowledge about retinal detachment and vitreous disease, and despite the sophisticated technology that we can bring to the operating room, we may find ourselves unable to improve a patient's vision. The chance for blindness with severe retinal disease is real. When considering surgery, the patient and the doctor must weigh the risks, including the possiblity of total blindness, against the possible benefits of either stabilizing or improving vision. It is important for the patient to know that surgery may fail due to complications, or simply due to the progressive nature of the retinal disease.

  27. Is there a time when an eye is too hopelessly damaged to consider surgery?
  28. This is a difficult question. Whether to perform any surgery depends on whether the patient feels that the benefit of the surgery are worth the risks. This decision will be different for every patient, since every patient's needs are different. If an eye is badly damaged, there may not be much to gain with surgery, and a patient might decide not to have surgery. If, however, the patient has only one eye, then any vision that is saved will be tremendously important. No two patients, and no two retinal problems, are alike. Your surgeon will help you understand what you can hope to gain with surgery, and what risk to lose.


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