Scleral Buckling Procedure
A scleral buckle, or buckling, is a surgical procedure in which a special band is placed around an eye. It is generally performed for retinal detachments, as the implant moves the affected retina back into contact with the back wall of the eye. Often this procedure is performed in conjunction with another treatment method to treat any other retinal breaks or weakened areas. Scleral buckle therapy is very effective in repairing retinal detachments.
How Does The Vitreous Contribute To Retinal Detachment?
Within your eye, most of the volume is taken up by the vitreous (also known as vitreous gel or humor), a clear, jelly-like substance supporting the eye’s structure. The vitreous also offers clear access for light entering the lens to hit the retina’s photoreceptor cells, allowing you to see.
But with aging, the vitreous can shrink and pull on the retina, gradually moving it completely out of its proper placement, causing retinal detachment, a very serious health threat. You may experience various sudden symptoms, including floaters, darkened vision, light flashes, blurriness, and if untreated, permanent blindness. Retinal detachments are almost always treated surgically, often with a scleral buckle.
An Overview Of Scleral Buckle Surgery
In most cases, scleral buckling is an outpatient procedure performed in an operating room. During the procedure, a retina surgeon places a small piece of silicone sponge or semi-hard plastic on the outside of the eye, specifically, on the sclera, the white part. The scleral buckle’s implantation holds the eye against the retina, with the goal of pulling it back into contact with the back eye wall.
Upon its implantation, your surgeon will typically employ another treatment to hold the eyes’ layers together. This ensures that the retina is kept in place until a seal forms, and also prevents fluid from entering. These techniques may include heat (diathermy), light (laser photocoagulation), or cryotherapy (freezing). During the procedure, the surgeon may also make a tiny scleral hole to drain any fluid under the detached retina. However, the retina is able to remove smaller amounts of fluid on its own.
A scleral buckle is an effective procedure for retinal detachment repair on its own. However, a vitrectomy is often performed in conjunction with scleral buckling. With a vitrectomy, part or all of the vitreous is removed from the back of the eye.
You will need to have a complete, comprehensive eye examination. During this, your ophthalmologist may use special instruments to shine a light and carefully examine your retina. And for an unobstructed view of a potential retinal detachment, they may dilate (widen) your eyes, apply special eye drops, and provide an ultrasound
In more than 98% of retinal detachments, scleral buckling has been shown to be very effective. And 90% of patients experienced complete retina repair after a single scleral buckle procedure. Following the procedure, you may experience some mild eye pain, blurriness, swelling, and redness. However, you should know that full vision improvement may take months or years.
Schedule a Consultation for Flashes and Floaters
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 (706) 481-9191 and you will be contacted immediately