Retinal Detachment Repair Care

Learn what care is required for the Retinal Detachment Repair procedure. Find out what you need to do prior to the procedure, how long it will take, if you will be required to stay in the hospital and what the postoperative care is.

Retinal Detachment Repair Details

Alternate Names for Retinal Detachment Repair:
Eye surgery, repair of detached retina

What to Expect Prior to Procedure

You will have a comprehensive eye exam, likely including some or all of the following:

  • Visual acuity-Your vision will be checked using a chart with letters or numbers.
  • Slit lamp examination-A special instrument will be used to look at the front of your eye.
  • Tonometry -The pressure inside your eye will be measured.
  • Dilated retinal exam-Special drops will dilate (enlarge) your pupils. Your retina will then be examined with special lights and lenses.
  • B-scan-A special ultrasound instrument will be used to view the inside of the eye.

You may also have a general medical exam prior to your surgery. This may include some or all of the following:

  • Blood and urine tests
  • Chest x-ray -a test that uses radiation to take a picture of structures inside the body
  • Electrocardiogram (EKG) -a measure of the electrical activity of the heart
Leading up to your procedure:
  • Arrange for a ride to and from the procedure.
  • Do not eat or drink anything for at least 8 hours before the procedure.
Talk to your doctor about your medicines. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
  • Aspirin or other anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Blood thinners, such as clopidogrel (Plavix) or warfarin (Coumadin)


You may have either a local or general anesthetic. Local anesthesia will be injected and numb the area. General anesthesia will make you sleep. The type of anesthesia used will depend on the type of procedure, your age, and other factors.

Description of Procedure

There are several surgical options to repair retinal detachment. The most common are:

Scleral Buckle

A flexible silicone band will be permanently stitched to the outside surface of the back of the eye. This is done underneath the skin of the eye. You would never see the band. This band acts like a belt. It buckles the area of the detachment or retinal tear to the wall of the eye. This procedure has a high success rate in re-attaching the retina. Local or general anesthesia is used.

Pneumatic Retinopexy

A gas bubble will be injected into the cavity of the eye. The pressure will force the retina back into position. You will often need to lie in a special position to keep the gas bubble in place. The retina will usually re-attach within several days. A laser (heat) or cryotherapy (cold) will help seal the retina back into place.

This method generally has a high success rate. It is not suitable for all types of detachment. Local anesthesia is sometimes used. The main benefit of this procedure is that it can be done in the office with anesthetic eye drops.

Vitrectomy (Removal of the Vitreous Humor)

This method may be needed for more complicated retinal detachments. It may also be used if the procedures described above are not successful. The fluid in the eye as well as any scar tissue will be removed. The fluid will then be replaced with a gas bubble or specialized oil known as silicone oil. The bubble or oil will help push the retina back against the eye wall. Retinal breaks will then be sealed with a laser or cryotherapy. A scleral buckle procedure is often done at the same time. Local or general anesthesia is used.

How Long Will It Take?

Between 1-4 hours

How Much Will It Hurt?

Anesthesia prevents pain during the procedure. During recovery, you may experience some pain or nausea. Your doctor can give you medicine to manage any pain.

Average Hospital Stay

You can usually go home the same day as the surgery.

Post-procedure Care

Your eye will be covered with a bandage and metal shield. When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:

  • Do not remove the patch until instructed to do so. The patch is often removed the next day.
  • If your doctor instructs you to keep your head in a certain position, do so as much as possible. Keep the position even when eating, sleeping, and bathing.
  • Do not allow your eye to come into contact with running water until allowed by your doctor.
  • Avoid strenuous physical activity until allowed by your doctor.
  • Your doctor will schedule follow-up appointments to monitor your recovery.
  • You can often return to work within 1-2 weeks of surgery if cleared by your doctor.
  • Be sure to follow your doctor's instructions .

The final visual result may not be known for 1-2 years after surgery.


Learn what Retinal Detachment Repair is
What Is
Learn what the procedure is. Find out how it is performed.
Reasons For Retinal Detachment Repair
Reasons For
Find out why and when this procedure should be done.
Retinal Detachment Repair Complications
Learn about possible complications and what might increase the risk of them.
Retinal Detachment Repair Details
What to Expect
Find out how long it will take, what they will be doing and what to expect afterwards.
Retinal Detachment Repair Results
What are the next steps and other possible tests needed after you have received the results.
When to Contact Doctor about Retinal Detachment Repair
Call Your Doctor
What to look out for and when to call your doctor after a procedure has been done.

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Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Copyright ©2014 EBSCO Publishing All rights reserved. Source: EBSCO