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Retinal Tears and Retinal Detachment

With age, the vitreous (the clear, gel substance that fills the inside of the eye) tends to change in consistency and come more watery. It also tends to shrink and as it does so it can pull away from its retinal attachments and cause a retinal tear. Retinal tears can than cause the development of a retinal detachment. The watery vitreous fluid passing through the tear lifts the retina off the posterior wall of the eye. The treatment for retinal tears is either with a laser or cryotherapy (freezing) to reseal the tear to the posterior wall the eye and prevent a detachment.

If the retina is detached it must first be reattached before the tear that caused it can be permanently sealed. There are three ways to surgically reattach a retina:

  • Preumatic Retinopexy- a gas bubble is injected into the eye and the gas then pushes the retina posteriorly to seal the tear.
  • Sclerol Buckle Surgery- the fluid that has peeled the retina off the posterior wall much be drained and then a flexible piece of silicone is sewn on the outer eye wall through the sclera to support the tear while it heals.
  • Vitrectomy Surgery- the vitreous gel is removed from the eye and replaced with a gas bubble, which is eventually replaced by the clear fluids produced by the eye.

 

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