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Located on W. Drake Rd. in Ft. Collins West of Colorado State University Veterinary Teaching Hospital

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Home » Your Eye Health » Conditions » Retinal Detachment

Retinal Detachment

Signs and symptoms of retinal detachment

There is no pain associated with retinal detachment. If you experience any of the above symptoms, consult your eye doctor right away. Immediate treatment increases your odds of regaining lost vision.

What causes retinal detachments?

Treatment for retinal tears and detachments

Surgery is the only effective treatment for a torn or detached retina. The procedure or combination of procedures your doctor uses depends on the severity and location of the problem.

Laser surgery. Also called photocoagulation, laser surgery is generally used for retinal breaks and tears that have not yet become retinal detachments. The surgeon directs a laser beam into your eye through the pupil to “spot weld” the damaged retina to its underlying tissue. Photocoagulation requires no surgical incision and causes less irritation to the eye than other treatments.

Cryopexy. In this treatment, the surgeon applies a freezing probe to the outer surface of the eye over the area of defective retina. The scarring that occurs from the freezing reattaches the retina to its support tissue.

Pneumatic retinopexy. This surgery is generally used to treat a retinal detachment in the upper half of the retina. The surgeon injects an expandable gas bubble inside the eye, positioning the bubble over the torn and detached retina. As the gas bubble expands, it pushes the detached retina against its support tissue. The surgeon then may use laser photocoagulation or cryopexy to firmly reattach the retina to the underlying tissue. Over time, your body absorbs the gas bubble. Until that occurs, certain precautions are necessary.

In a variation of pneumatic retinopexy, the surgeon may inject silicone oil rather than expandable gas into the eye to press the detached retina against its support tissue. In this procedure, the silicone oil must be removed from the eye after the retina is reattached.

Scleral buckling. This is the most common surgery used to treat a retinal detachment. In this procedure, the surgeon places a soft silicone band around the eye, which indents the outside of the eye toward the detached retina. The band is sutured against the tough outer white coating of the eye (the sclera). The surgeon then drains any fluid between the retina and its support tissue, and reattaches the retina with laser photocoagulation or cryopexy.  

In about 90% of cases, detached retinas are successfully reattached with a single surgery. However, this does not mean your vision will return to normal. Patients who have the best visual outcomes from retinal detachment surgery are those who seek attention immediately upon noticing symptoms and have detachments that do not involve the central retina (the macula).

As of Tuesday evening, March 17th, the CDC has recommended that all routine eye care be deferred until further notice, in order to slow the transmission of COVID-19 through our community. We will follow their recommendations and close our office to regular eye exams until further notice.

Please be assured that we are still available to triage all urgent and emergent issues as well as help you with routine matters during this challenging time.

What does this mean?

1) If you are scheduled for an annual eye examination our office will contact you to reschedule
2) If you need to replace glasses or contact lenses and need an extension on your prescription, please contact us and we will assist you in obtaining some until you can come in for a visit.
3) If you are running out of medication please contact us and we can transmit a refill electronically to your pharmacy.
4) If you have an ocular emergency we are, as always, available to help you at any time. Call us at 970-221-4811.
5) If you have an issue that cannot wait for an office visit, contact us and we will schedule a FaceTime, Skype or telephone appointment with one of our doctors. Medicare has temporarily relaxed its telehealth rules to allow this type of communication during the pandemic crisis. Other insurers may follow suit and allow for reimbursement of virtual care costs. The consultation must be initiated at your request.
6) During this period of social distancing and quarantine, we must all do our part by restricting activities outside the home except for getting medical care. Do not go to work, school, or public areas. Avoid using public transportation, ride-sharing, or taxis.
7) Please remember that 80% of COVID-19 cases are mild and resolve within a week. However, if you feel your symptoms are worsening, call ahead before visiting your doctor’s office or emergency department and tell them you have or may have COVID-19. This will help the office protect themselves and other patients.

The CDC has many wonderful resources. Arming yourself and your family with clear information will help you avoid undue stress.https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/prevention.html https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/managing-stress-anxiety.html

We have asked our staff to stay home until further notice to protect them, our patients, our city, our nation, and our planet. Despite the financial and emotional hardships this will cause, we ask every one of you to do the same.

Together we will weather this storm.

With sincerest wishes for your continued good health, we remain at your service,

Eyecare Associates