Retinal Detachment

A retinal detachment is a very serious condition that can cause blindness unless it is treated. As a person’s normal eye ages the vitreous gel contracts and then becomes more liquid. As the vitreous gel becomes more liquid it may pull on the retina and create a retinal tear (and then tear.) When fluid passes through a tear or hole in the retina tissue, it will lift the retina from the back of the eye creating a retinal detachment.

Retinal Detachment Diagram

Retinal Detachment Risk Factors:

  • Extreme nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Family history of retinal detachments
  • Age
  • Previous injury to the eye
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Warning Signs of a Retinal Detachments:

If your eye doctor has been concerned about the health of your retina, getting proper patient education on this topic is crucial. You may be able to prevent blindness or serious problems if you have regular eye examinations. Warning signs of retinal detachments will include seeing flashing lights or floaters and even seeing patches of grey move across the spectrum of your vision. If the retina completely detaches from the back of the eye, your vision will drastically decrease. You may experience a dark cloud or curtain over your vision. If you are experiencing blurriness in the center of your vision you should seek the help of one of our retina specialists in the greater Atlanta area for immediate treatment.

Repairing retinal detachments:

Because the retina is in the back of the eye and is not visible from the outside, special camera equipment is required for diagnosing a retinal detachment. The retina doctors at Thomas Eye Group will use a light magnification instrument to view the inside of the eye. When you have been diagnosed with a retinal detachment your doctor will suggest a particular treatment option. Listed below are a few treatment options that you can review. Please note that the expert retina surgeons at Thomas Eye Group have the experience and training to properly treat and diagnose retinal detachments. After your eye health examination, your doctor will discuss possible treatment options.

Laser Treatment for Retinal Detachment

Laser Photocoagulation

This laser treatment involves your retina surgeon directing the laser through a contact lens or ophthalmoscope that burns the area around the retinal tear. The burning results in a scar that welds the retina to the back tissue of the eye.


During the cryotherapy procedure, a retina surgeon uses intense cold to freeze the location of the retinal tear. Like the laser photocoagulation procedure, the frozen area leaves a tiny scar that helps to weld the retina to the eyewall. The cryotherapy procedure typically causes minimal discomfort that can be alleviated with medication. 

Scleral Buckle

A common form of retinal detachment repair is called a scleral buckle and has been used for over 30 years. In the scleral buckle procedure, surgical placement of a silicone band will be placed around the eye to help the retina become attached again. Although this band is placed around the outside of the eye it is not visible. For a more detailed explanation of the scleral buckle procedure, one of our Thomas Eye Group retinal detachment surgeons can provide a complete explanation.


Vitrectomy is a retinal detachment surgery where specialized instruments and techniques are used. This procedure involves such small instruments that in some instances it is performed without the use of stitches! It involves 3 small incisions into the white part (sclera) of the eye. One incision is for the infusion of fluid into the eye. The second incision is for a light and the third incision is for an instrument to cut the vitreous. The procedure involves removing the vitreous gel through very small incisions. After the vitreous gel is removed and the retina surgeon performs detailed work on the surface of the retina, the eye can then be filled with a choice of several solutions: saline, air, gas, or silicone oil. This procedure is typically performed without using general anesthesia in our retina surgery center. The patient is awake, but the eye is asleep and pain-free. The success of this surgical procedure depends upon various factors that should be discussed with your eye doctor. Many people that undergo this eye surgery do regain complete vision after surgery. If you would like more information regarding vitrectomy, our retina physicians will be happy to provide you with a brochure of information provided by The American Academy Of Ophthalmology.

Pneumatic Retinopexy

The pneumatic retinopexy procedure may be a good option for some patients with minor retinal detachments requiring minimally invasive techniques. Pneumatic retinopexy is performed in the office using local anesthesia. This procedure might only be appropriate in some cases of retinal detachment but is an option you may want to discuss with your retina specialists. During this process, the retina surgeon injects a gas bubble inside the vitreous cavity of the eye. This gas bubble will push the detached retina against the back wall of the eye to ultimately seal the retinal tear. Patients may be required to maintain a certain head position to aid in the sealing of the retina tear.

Atlanta Area Retinal Detachment Help:

If you have been told you have a family history of retinal detachments, or you have diabetes, we encourage regular eye examinations. Our Atlanta retina specialists are a progressive group of eye doctors dedicated to treating eye problems associated with the retina. If you are seeking an experienced retina doctor, please call us today to schedule an eye appointment. If you have warning signs of flashes and floaters it is important to immediately schedule a complete eye health examination with one of our Thomas Eye Group retina specialists. If a retinal tear is detected early enough it can be treated with a laser to seal the break before vitreous gel leaks through the retina and loss of vision occurs.

Retina & Vitreous Disorders