What is a retinal detachment?

A retinal detachment is a serious problem that almost always causes vision loss unless it is treated. As a person’s normal eye ages, the vitreous gel contracts and then becomes more liquid. As the vitreous gel becomes more liquid it may pull and then tear. When fluid passes through a tear, it will lift the retina from the back of the eye making a detachment.

Retinal Detachment Portland

Retinal Detachment Risk Factors

  • Extreme Nearsightedness (myopia)
  • Family history of retinal detachments
  • Multiple cataract surgeries
  • Having the glaucoma eye condition
  • Previous injury to the eye

Warning Signs of a Retinal Detachments

If your eye doctor has been concerned about the health of your retina, then getting proper patient education on this topic is crucial. You may be able to prevent visual loss or serious problems if you have regular eye examinations. Warning signs of retinal detachments will include seeing flashing lights or floaters and even seeing patches of gray move across the spectrum of your vision. If the retina completely detaches from the back of the eye vision will become drastically worse. If you are experiencing blurriness in the center of your vision you should seek the help of one our retina specialists for immediate treatment.

Repairing retinal detachments

Because the retina is in the back part of the eye and is not visible from the outside, special camera equipment is required for diagnosing a retina detachment. The retina doctors at Maine Eye will use a light magnification instrument to view the inside of the eye. When you have been diagnosed with a retinal detachment your doctor will suggest a particular treatment option. Listed below are a few treatment options that you can review. Please note that the expert retina surgeons at Maine Eye have the experience and training to properly treat and diagnose retina detachments. After your eye health examination your doctor will discuss possible treatment options.

Laser Treatment For Retinal Detachment

If the retinal detachment is relatively minor, a laser treatment might used or a procedure called. This laser procedure is known as laser photocoagulation. The laser treatment involves your retina surgeon directing the laser through a contact lens or ophthalmoscope that burns the area around the retinal tear. The burning results in a scar that welds the retina to the back tissue of the eye


During the cryotherapy procedure a retina surgeon uses intense cold to freeze the location of the retinal tear. Like the laser photocoagulation procedure the frozen area leaves a tiny scar the helps to weld the retina to the eye wall. The cryotherapy procedure typically causes little to no discomfort. If the retinal detachment or tear has developed to a critical stage this procedure might not be applicable. Make sure to consult your retina specialist regarding the best retina repair options for you.

Scleral Buckle

A common form of retinal detachment repair is called a scleral buckle and has been used for over 30 years. In the scleral buckle procedure a surgical placement of a silicone band will be placed around the eye to help the retina become attached again. For a more detailed explanation of the scleral buckle procedure one of our Maine retinal detachment surgeons can provide a complete explanation.


Viterctomy is a retinal detachment surgery where specialized instruments and techniques are used. The initial start of the procedure involves removing the vitreous gel through very small incisions. After the vitreous gel is removed and the retina surgeon clears the area a saline solution is injected that fills up the inner chambers of the eye. This procedure is typically performed using general anesthesia in our retina surgery center.
The success of this surgical procedure depends upon various factors that should be discussed with your eye doctor. Many people that undergo this eye surgery do regain complete vision after surgery.

Pneumatic Retinopexy

The pneumatic retinopexy procedure may be a good option for some patients because hospitalization and large amounts of surgical cutting are not required. Pneumatic retinopexy is performed in the office using local anesthesia. This procedure might only be appropriate in some cases of retinal detachment but is an option you may want to discuss with your retina specialist eye doctor. During this process the retina surgeon injects a gas bubble inside the vitreous cavity of the eye. This gas bubble will push the detached retina against the back wall of the eye to ultimately seal the retinal tear.

Maine Retinal Detachment Help

If you have been told you have a family history of retinal detachments or you are a diabetic patient we encourage regular eye examinations. Our Maine retina specialists are a professional group of eye doctors dedicated to treating eye problems associated with the retina. If you have warning signs of flashes and floaters it is important to immediately schedule a complete eye health examination with one of our Maine Eye retina specialists. If a retinal break is detected early enough it can be treated with a laser to seal the break before too much vitreous gel leaks through the retina.

Did you know?

According to New York Presbyterian Hospital retinal detachments affect about 10,000 Americans each year.