|Detached Retina: Treatment|
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What are the treatments for retinal tears and detachments?
For certain retinal tears or holes found before a detachment has developed, or, rarely, if the detachment is new and very small, treatment may consist only oflaser or cryotherapy, and this will not require hospitalization. Once a retinal detachment has occurred, however, all holes and tears that have allowed fluid to collect under the retina must be sealed. If a detachment is extensive, its repair requires major eye surgery. Whether you are hospitalized or not, and what type of anesthesia will be used, will depend on how complicated the detachment is. One or a combination of procedures and appliances may be required. These are some common ones:
What happens after surgery for a retinal tear or detachment?
Medications: You will need to use various types of eyedrops and/or ointments, possibly for several weeks.
Activities: Will be somewhat restricted, since it takes a few weeks for the retinal tears to become firmly "welded." Once recovery is complete, most patients can lead a completely normal life. If you plan to take part in a sport that exposes your eyes to injury, however, always wear polycarbonate protective goggles or a face mask. Direct blows to any eye can be harmful, but they are especially risky to one that was previously detached.
Regular examinations: There is some risk that the retina can detach again, and you are also at greater risk for a detachment to occur in the other eye, so it is important to have regular, annual examinations. (Regular examinations are also important if you have any condition that predisposes you to a retinal detachment, such as extreme myopia.) Preventive laser treatment or cryotherapy may be advised for tears found in either eye, though usually they are merely identified and watched.
What is the prognosis after surgery for a retinal tear or detachment?
With modern therapy, over 90% of detachments can be successfully treated and the retina reattached. However, the visual outcome is not always predictable. The best visual result (which can approach normal) will occur if treatment takes place before the critical, center part of the retina (the macula) has detached. If the macula has already detached when the repair is undertaken, the best vision you can expect is usually poor, about 20/200. Still, the side vision in that eye can be normal, so that eye will almost always be a useful one despite its lesser acuity. Even under the best of circumstances, and even after multiple attempts at repair, treatment sometimes fails and all vision may eventually be lost.
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