Retinal detachment is a condition that occurs when the retina is pulled away from the surrounding tissue to which it is usually connected. In most cases, the condition will cause permanent blindness if it is not treated. The ophthalmologist is able to diagnose retinal detachment during an eye examination. The main treatment option is retinal detachment surgery by means of a vitrectomy. During the procedure, the ophthalmologist will place very small surgical instruments through the side of the eye so that the retina can be repaired from the inside. As part of the surgery, the tear or hole in the retina is treated with laser and a gas or silicone oil bubble is placed into the eye to help close the tear by pushing the retina and surrounding tissue together.
Sometimes, the retina can be repaired from the outside in a procedure called an external retinal detachment repair or scleral buckling. In some instances, when the retina is only torn but has not detached yet, the retinal tear may be treated by means of thermal lasering or cryopexy, which is a freezing procedure.