Scleral buckle surgery is a procedure performed on the eye to repair a retinal detachment. It includes the placement of a supportive device called a scleral buckle around the external wall of the eye to encourage the reattachment of the retina.
During this procedure, small incisions in the eye are made to access the underlying structures. A flexible silicone band or sponge is then placed around the outer surface of the eye, over the area of the retinal detachment. This helps to indent or "buckle" the sclera, the white outer layer of the eye, and bring it closer to the detached retina. Laser and/or cryotherapy treatment is then applied to any retinal tears to seal the break.
Additional procedures may be needed alongside the scleral buckle, such as vitrectomy or gas injection, depending on the extent of the retinal detachment and the surgeon's judgment.
Scleral buckle surgery can be performed under local or general anaesthesia, depending on the condition of your health and the surgeon's assessment. Depending on the complexity of the retinal detachment, the duration of the procedure can vary.
After the procedure, you may experience some discomfort, redness or swelling around the eye. To manage these symptoms, the surgeon may prescribe pain medication and recommend applying cold compresses. It is important to follow the post-operative care instructions, which may include using prescribed eye drops, avoiding activities that increase eye pressure or strain, and attending follow-up appointments.
Recovery time will vary from person to person. While vision may initially be blurry or distorted, it often improves gradually over time as the retina reattaches and heals. Regular follow-up appointments are crucial to monitor the progress of retinal reattachment and ensure optimal visual outcomes.
As with any surgical procedure, there are potential risks and complications associated with scleral buckle surgery, including infection, bleeding, double vision or changes to your refractive error. Your ophthalmologist will discuss these risks with you and provide personalised guidance based on your condition.
It is vital to consult with an experienced ophthalmologist or retina specialist to determine if scleral buckle surgery is a suitable treatment option for your retinal detachment. Based on your individual case, the eye care specialist will make an assessment, explain the procedure in detail, and address any questions or concerns you may have, allowing you to make an informed decision.