Retinal Detachment Surgery in Singapore

What is Retinal Detachment?

Retinal detachment is an eye condition in which the retina of the eye pulls apart from its normal position, affecting vision. Sometimes only small bits of it will rip away – they are called retinal tears or breaks – but that can result in retinal detachment too. Once a retinal detachment happens, vision is severely affected. If retinal detachment goes untreated, it will spread to nearby regions and reaching the macula, causing loss of central vision in the eye. Once the retina is detached or tears, treatment often involves surgery to put the retina in place.

Retinal detachment symptoms:

  • Pain in the eye area
  • Blurred vision
  • A shadow over the visual field that resembles a curtain
  • Reduced peripheral vision
  • Flashes of light in the eyes
  • Small specks that float around your field of vision

The treatment involves surgery to repair torn or detached retina of which the

Retina detachment causes

The retina is located at the back of the eyeball and is basically a layer with cells. These cells send nerve impulses through the optic nerve to the brain, and this is how final visual pictures are created. When the eye has suffered an inflammation, injury or vascular abnormalities, fluid might begin to build under the retina. Age is a factor too. Older people have an increased risk of retinal detachment as compared to youngsters. Other risk factors include previous eye surgery, extreme near-sightedness, and a family history of such a deformity. 

Retinal Detachment Treatment: Types of Procedures

There are two main ways to perform retinal detachment surgery, so to say. Broadly speaking, your doctor may decide that the eye retina can be reattached by an external procedure involving a scleral buckle, which involves placing a flexible band around the eyeball to support the retina. Or it can get fixed using an internal procedure known as vitrectomy. It works by disposing of the incriminating vitreous gel and reattaching the detached retina directly with a tamponade agent and retinal laser (laser surgery). The extent of the retinal tears and retinal detachment will determine the doctor’s choice.

Scleral buckle surgery for retinal detachment

This procedure focuses on something called sclera – the white segment around the ball. It belongs to the outermost layer of the wall of the eye. This is where the surgeon attaches a small sponge, flexible band or piece of silicone. An important thing to note is that the gadget should also be placed near a retinal tear. Then, the buckle is supposed to push the sclera toward that tear. From this position, it works to repair the retina. The procedure might be done under general or local anaesthesia. If you are not going to be put to sleep, your eye will be numbed with eye drops. If the retina is not completely detached from the underneath layer, the doctors might use a method called pneumatic retinopexy. It involves injecting gas into the eye to move the retina back in place.

Vitrectomy for Retinal Detachment in Singapore

As explained above, the procedure removes the vitreous gel from the eye. The first step is to prepare the area for the intervention. The medical staff will use anaesthesia to numb the eye treatment site. They will clean the eye using an antiseptic solution and cover it with sterile material. A speculum will keep it open throughout the manipulation. The eye that is not going to be operated on will be put a protective dressing. The surgeon will make a cut of about 0.5 millimetres, approximately the width of an eyelash, in the eye membrane. They will work through the pars plana which are located in the white of the eye.

Using forceps, the specialist can open the incision and then insert a small microscope that will enable them to see the troubled area. With the help of a vitrectomy probe, they cut the gel that is causing the problem and suck the fluid up with a special tool. At this point, there are different methods that the eye surgeon can go by. They may treat clots and abnormal blood vessels, if such exists, and fix any retinal injuries. If there is bloody, cloudy or infected fluid, they will drain it using a silicone-tipped needle. A laser can be used to burn the affected site and cause scarring. It is precisely the scar tissue that will serve to keep the retina attached to the eye later on.

When this part of the surgery is over, the vitreous gel will be replaced with something similar to silicon oil, air bubble, gas, or saline solution. The last step is to apply an antibiotic solution to the treated area to prevent infection. A protective bandage is put onto the eye. There are other methods that can be used to seal the retina to the eye such as cryopexy (a freezing treatment), however, they are not the subject of discussion here.

How a Procedure Is Chosen

The doctor may decide which treatment is performed according to the patient’s needs and type of Retinal Detachment or tears along with other factors, including whether there is any pre-existing cataract.

What is the Recovery Time Required for Retinal Surgery?

After undergoing surgery for retinal detachment, recovery can take 2 to 4 weeks before being able to return to normal activities and work.

During this time, you may be prescribed eye drops to prevent the pupil from opening or closing, or as a prevention measure against infection. These eye drops should be used at regular timings and instructions will be given regarding their use.

Surgery related effects such as pain in the eye, a vision that seems blurred may be present for a few days after the surgery but is well tolerated by most of my patients. The affected eye may also be swollen and tender for weeks after the surgery, and may also appear red during this time. This is considered to be normal and part of the healing process for your eye.

Post-Operative Home Care for Retinal Detachment Patients

Caring for yourself is a vital part of your treatment after the operation! Always remember to turn up for your scheduled appointments, even if you feel that most of the symptoms or pain have subsided. It’s also good practice to keep your list of medicines prescribed and test results in a document holder that is convenient for keeping track of your recovery progress.

Managing Daily Activities

Rest. I cannot emphasize enough the importance of allowing your eye and body to heal without undue stress or fatigue after your operation. You may also find yourself feeling tired more easily due to the inconveniences that come along after your procedure. The best thing to do for your vision is to allow yourself to get adequate rest.

Strenuous activity is definitely a no. This includes heavy lifting, fast movements or even daily chores like changing the bedsheets or mopping the floor. As far as possible, reduce head movement. Depending on your occupation, you will probably need 2 to 4 weeks off to recover.

When showering, washing your hair and face is fine, but be very careful not to get any soap or liquid in your eye. My advice is to use a face towel when washing your face as it reduces the chance of water containing soap splashing into your eye.

When going outdoors, especially in Singapore where sunlight can be very intense, please remember to carry a pair of sunglasses to protect your vision. As good practice, I always encourage my patients to wear sunglasses in the daytime, even at home.

Driving should be done during the recovery period and only if your vision seems clear enough. Please ask your doctor for advice should you be unsure.

Managing Medication

If you’re currently on prescription medicine, be sure to tell your doctor or eye specialist about them. They will be able to give you advice on whether you should be taking them during your recovery period. Certain types of medication are cause for special concern and management, such as blood thinners or aspirin. These medications may cause complications if you continue eating them during your recovery period! The management of these prescription medicines should be discussed thoroughly with your doctor or specialist. Ensure that you understand exactly what your doctor needs you to do.

Stay safe of use of medication! If you are prescribed painkillers, please take it only as instructed. Should you run out of medicine for pain, but are still experiencing pain and wish to use over-the-counter medication to manage the pain, please contact your doctor before doing so.

Eye drops are commonly prescribed as well. Be sure to use them regularly as instructed for the best recovery results.

Why Asia Retina Eye Surgery Centre

At Asia Retina, each surgery is customized and individualized based on the patient’s requirements, to ensure the best visual outcome possible.

WhatsApp chat