Retinal detachment occurs when the retina is pulled away from the surrounding tissue. Warning signs that may precede a retinal detachment are caused when the vitreous gel pulls away from the retina causing a retinal tear. This is called a posterior vitreous detachment (PVD), and warning signs may include any of the following: a sudden rush of eye floaters (black rain), light flashes or a back shadow in the periphery of your vision that does not go away. There is no pain associated with a retinal tear or retinal detachment; however, a detached retina is very serious and can cause permanent loss of vision if left untreated; therefore retina surgery is required.
The condition is generally diagnosed during an eye examination and can be treated either with thermal lasering or a freezing procedure, called cryopexy if it is diagnosed early enough. In some cases, Dr Enslin Uys will opt to repair the condition with retinal detachment surgery known as a vitrectomy. Tiny instruments are placed through the side of the eye, and the retina is repaired from the inside. This has to be performed in theatre, and in most cases, a gas bubble or silicone oil bubble is inserted into the eye. The gas bubble or silicone oil helps close the tear by pushing the retina and surrounding tissue together.
In some cases the retina can be repaired from the outside – this is called an external retinal detachment repair. This is done by placing a buckle, also called a tyre or silicone band, around the outside of the eye. Dr Enslin Uys will be able to discuss the best surgery for your eye or your family member’s eye.
Argon laser and Selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) are used to treat a wide range of eye conditions, including diabetic eye disease, glaucoma, retinopathy of prematurity and tears in the retina. Both laser treatments work with heat energy and can be focused to perform a number of functions very precisely. However in Glaucoma, selective laser trabeculoplasty (SLT) in comparison to Argon laser trabeculoplasty (ALT), has a better safety profile where complications following the laser treatment are less frequent, and if so are more mild and temporary. Argon laser is usually preferred to repair tears, reduce swelling and help regress blood vessels, depending on the condition. This can either be performed in the rooms or in theatre.