Can a retinal reading be corrected by surgery?

Operations on the retina

Important NOTE:
The description of the interventions was compiled with the greatest care. However, it can only be an overview and does not claim to be complete. The websites of the service providers and the personal consultation with the doctor or the surgical explanation in the respective operating facility provide further information.
The persons responsible for the content of this website do not guarantee the completeness and correctness of the information, as constant changes, further developments and concretizations are made as a result of scientific research or adaptation of the guidelines by the medical specialist societies.

Here you will find:

Retinal detachment is relatively rare with a frequency of 1 in 10,000, but if left untreated it almost always leads to blindness. The risk is increased with previous damage to the retina through accidents or operations, in old age and with myopia between minus 6 and 8 dioptres. The vision of the affected eye can only be preserved through laser treatment or surgery by an experienced ophthalmologist.

What happens during this procedure?

All surgical interventions aim to bring the retina back to its nourishing base. Attempts are also made to prevent renewed detachment by means of targeted scar formation and a reduction in the tension on the vitreous body on the retina.
If the retina is still firmly on its surface, laser treatment (Laser coagulation) can be made. The edge of the retinal hole or tear is spot welded (coagulated) with the laser. Due to the resulting scars, the retina grows firmly back together with the layer below. The laser light can be adjusted so precisely that the necessary heat is only generated in the pigmented layers of the pigment skin and in the choroid, but not in the transparent retina.
If the retina has already lifted slightly from the surface, an attempt is made to pass through denting operations to press the retina back against the surface.
This can be done with so-called silicone seals (round or strip-shaped pieces of rubber), which are sewn onto the outer wall of the eyeball with a gathering seam directly above the retinal tear or hole. If fluid has formed between the retina and the surface, it is drained through a puncture. The indented pieces of rubber are left on the eye, the conjunctiva sewn over it.

Retinal detachments at the rear pole of the eye - that is, in the area of ​​sharpest vision - represent a particular problem. Here, as with very pronounced retinal detachments, a Operation of the vitreous humor to be necessary (Virectomy). A special gas (sulfur hexafluoride) or transparent silicone oil is introduced, which then presses the retina against the surface. After one to two weeks, the gas or oil has been absorbed and replaced with aqueous humor.

When does the doctor advise you to have this procedure?

Since there are no drug treatment options and the eyesight is always endangered with a retinal detachment, laser treatment or surgery is always indicated. In order that the beginning of a retinal solution is recognized in good time, it is advisable to attend the preventive examinations offered by the ophthalmologist for people at risk. If you have warning symptoms such as seeing flashes of light or swarms of black dots, you should definitely consult an ophthalmologist.
Which procedure is the right one for you depends on the respective findings, the extent of the retinal detachment and the location.

Which stunning method is usually used?

In the case of laser surgery, the use of a local anesthetic in the form of eye drops is often sufficient. Another method is central anesthesia (reference: central anesthesia). This anesthetic also suppresses the protective reflex of the eye and the eye is completely painless and motionless.
If you are one of those people for whom the idea of ​​manipulating the eye is unbearable, general anesthesia may also be considered. This also applies to nervous people who find it difficult to keep their head still for long periods of time.

How long does the procedure take on average?

The duration of the procedure depends on the method used and the respective anatomical conditions. Laser interventions usually have a significantly shorter duration than indenting or vitreous surgery.

Who may not be suitable for this procedure?

Retinal detachment can in principle be treated in any patient. An infection in the area of ​​the external eye may need to be treated beforehand.

How is the risk to be assessed?

The type and frequency of complications depends on many factors, such as the underlying diseases and the condition of the eye before the operation.
As with any surgical procedure, complications cannot be completely ruled out. The doctor will explain to you in detail about possible complications such as bleeding and infection before the procedure.

The chances of recovery depend on how large the detachment is and how quickly the detached retina was brought back to the surface. It can take weeks or months for the sensory cells to fully recover. Only then can you finally judge to what extent the eyesight has improved as a result of the operation.

What do you have to consider before the procedure?

If the procedure is performed under general anesthesia, you should not eat or drink any more cloudy liquids 6 hours before the anesthesia! No clear liquids should be drunk 2 hours before the anesthesia (exception: preparation tablet (s) with a little water). Smoking should not be made on the day of anesthesia. If you take medication in the morning, please discuss with your anesthetist which medication you can still take before anesthesia.

What happens after the procedure and what should you watch out for?

Even with an outpatient eye operation, you will remain under observation for some time after the operation - until you feel fit for the way home. You are not allowed to drive a car yourself after the procedure and you should also not use public transport on your own. Have family or friends pick you up or take a taxi home.

For a few days after the procedure, you should not read to avoid the jerky movements of the eyeball. After two to three weeks, the retina is usually healed and scarred, and you can go about your daily activities as usual.

If gas was introduced into the eye during the operation, you will have to refrain from flying for some time. Due to the reduced external pressure in the aircraft, the remaining gas could spread, which can then lead to a vascular occlusion. Therefore, ask your doctor when you can plan a flight again.

When does the next doctor's appointment usually take place?

On the day of the procedure, your doctor will tell you when you should come back for the next check-up. In your own interest, you should absolutely keep this appointment.

If you get bleeding, fever or very severe pain at home, you should contact your doctor immediately. Even if you are unsure and still have questions about the normal course of healing, in practice no one will be angry with you if you call for advice.