Scleral Buckle Surgery For Retinal Tears & Retinal Detachment
Scleral buckle surgery is a common procedure used to repair a detached retina. Your retina is a thin layer of light-sensitive tissue that lines the back of your eye. A retinal detachment is when this layer is pulled out of place. Retinal detachments are medical emergencies and can lead to blindness if left untreated.
There are three types of retinal detachment:
- Rhegmatogenous retinal detachments involve tears in the retina which cause fluid to gather underneath your retina and detach it from its blood supply.
- Tractional retinal detachments are the result of scar tissue growing over the retina and pulling it from the back wall of your eye.
- Exudative retinal detachments occur when fluid leaks out of blood vessels and pools under your retina.
Prior to complete detachment, you may experience a number of symptoms, including floaters, flashes of light, blurriness, or darkened vision. If you experience of any these symptoms, reach out to a doctor right away.
The Scleral Buckle Procedure, Step by Step
During the process, we secure a thin band of silicone around your sclera, which is the white part of your eye. This pushes the retina back into position and holds it in place. Typically you’ll only need one procedure to fix the detachment, though in some cases a second surgery is needed to completely address the issue.
A first-time scleral surgery typically takes 1-2 hours. Additional surgeries may take longer. Here are the steps you can expect:
- You receive local anesthesia and sedation to ensure you’re comfortable. In some cases, we use general anesthesia.
- We use cryotherapy, or a freezing probe, to seal around any retinal tears or breaks.
- A silicone band is placed around your eye, restoring the retina to its proper position.
- Any excess fluid is drained from your eye.
- If necessary, a sterile gas bubble is injected into your eye to hold the retina in place.
- A patch is placed on your eye.
- If you take medications, you may need to adjust them prior to the surgery. You may also need to start using special eye drops leading up to the procedure. Also, be sure to fast on the day of surgery. We’ll provide further guidelines based on your personal situation.
Recovery After Scleral Buckle
Some patients experience temporary headaches, mild discomfort, or bleeding in the eye for a few days after the surgery. We’ll provide you with recommendations for over-the-counter medications to address these issues, as well as specific instructions on diet and lifestyle adjustments for the coming months as your vision improves.
After the procedure, we’ll also provide detailed instructions on how to position your head to ensure the surgery heals properly. The buckle is undetectable in your eye, hidden just under your eyelids. In most cases, the buckle remains permanently in place.
Complications and Risks of Scleral Buckling
Rest assured that scleral buckle surgery is generally considered to be a safe procedure for restoring your retina to its rightful position. However, any surgery comes with risks. Complications may include:
- Failures to reattach the retina
- Inflammation of eye
- Increased eye pressure
- Cataract formation
- Corneal abrasion or edema
It’s also possible that you may experience distorted or poor central vision, double vision, or ptosis (droopy lid). Additional procedures may be required to make sure your retina is fully restored.
Schedule a Scleral Buckle Surgery Consultation in Any of Our Colorado Locations
We want your eyes to be as healthy as they possibly can be. Our retinal specialists are here to help and answer any questions you might have. Schedule an appointment today.