Retinal detachment repair is eye surgery to place a retina back into its normal position. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye. Detachment means that it has pulled away from the layers of tissue around it.

This article describes the repair of rhegmatogenous retinal detachments. These occur due to a hole or tear in the retina.

Most retinal detachment repair operations are urgent. If holes or tears in the retina are found before the retina detaches, the eye doctor can close the holes using a laser. This procedure is most often done in the health care provider’s office

If the retina has just started to detach, a procedure called pneumatic retinopexy may be done to repair it.

• Pneumatic retinopexy (gas bubble placement) is most often an office procedure.

• The eye doctor injects a bubble of gas into the eye.

• You are then positioned so the gas bubble floats up against the hole in the retina and pushes it back into place.

• The doctor will use a laser to permanently seal the hole.

Severe detachments need more advanced surgery.

The following procedures are done in a hospital or outpatient surgery center:

• The scleral buckle method indents the wall of the eye inward so that it meets the hole in the retina. Scleral buckling can be done using numbing medicine while you are awake (local anesthesia) or when you are asleep and pain free (general anesthesia).

• The vitrectomy procedure uses very small devices inside the eye to release tension on the retina.

This allows the retina to move back into its proper position. Most vitrectomies are done with numbing medicine while you are awake.

In complex cases, both procedures may be done at the same time.