When it comes to repairing retinal detachments, surgery is usually required. Most often, this involves a procedure known as the scleral buckle, or scleral buckling, in which a special band is placed around your eye. The scleral buckle is an effective treatment option regularly performed by the surgical team at Retina Consultants of Charleston.
Most of your eye’s volume is composed of a clear, jelly-like substance known as the vitreous gel (or vitreous humor). Responsible for supporting the eye’s structure, the vitreous also provides a clear pathway for light entering the lens to hit the photoreceptor cells of the retina. These cells react and transform light into electrical signals that travel along the optic nerve to your brain, where they’re converted into images, allowing you to see.
Over time, the vitreous can shrink, causing it to pull on the retina, and eventually, moving it completely out of place. You may suddenly experience such symptoms as floaters, darkened vision, light flashes, blurriness, and if untreated, permanent blindness.
If you are experiencing a sudden increase in floaters, flashes, shadows, blurriness in your peripheral vision, or a curtain appearing over part of your vision, seek medical care right away. Retinal tears and detachments are medical emergencies that need to be addressed as quickly as possible.
Our office provides on-call service for emergencies, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Call (843) 763-4466 and Dr. Alfaro will be contacted immediately.
An Overview of the Scleral Buckle Procedure
Scleral buckling is an outpatient procedure usually performed in an operating room. During the procedure, the retina surgeon places a small piece of silicone sponge or semi-hard plastic on the outside of the eye, specifically, on the sclera (i.e. the eye’s white part). The scleral buckle is designed to hold the eye against the retina, thereby pulling it back into contact with the eye wall.
Once the scleral buckle is implanted, your surgeon will use another treatment to keep the retina in place until a seal forms, holding the eyes’ layers together and preventing fluid from entering. Among these are cryotherapy (freezing), heat (diathermy), or light (laser photocoagulation). A tiny scleral hole may also be needed to drain any fluid under the detached retina, although the retina can remove smaller amounts on its own.
Could Other Procedures Assist With Scleral Buckling?
While the scleral buckle is generally effective on its own, another operation, a vitrectomy, may also be performed. With a vitrectomy, retinal specialists remove the vitreous gel from the back of the eye.
The Recovery Process for Scleral Buckling
Typically, scleral buckling is very effective for retinal detachments, with more than 98% of cases showing positive results. Even more impressive, 90% of patients enjoy complete retina repair after one operation. Following the procedure, you may experience some mild eye pain, blurriness, swelling, and redness. You should also know that full vision improvement may take months or years.
Schedule a Consultation for Scleral Buckling in South Carolina
If you suspect a retinal detachment, the team of vitreoretinal surgeons at Retina Consultants of Charleston is skilled and experienced in performing the scleral buckling procedure. To schedule an appointment, including emergency appointments, contact us.