If your retina tears or begins to pull away (detaches) from the back of your eye your vision may blur or a shadow may develop in your vision.

Most retinal detachments are caused by the jelly that fills the centre of the eye shrinking and pulling on the retina. A retinal detachment can also be caused by an injury or surgery.

Most people experience symptoms that warn of a chance of detached retina. You should see your GP immediately if you experience:

  • Sudden appearance of dark spots in your vision (floaters)
  • Sudden blurred or distorted vision
  • Flashes of light in your eye
  • Dark shadows in your vision

Left untreated a detached retina can cause blindness.

What happens during detached retina repair?

Surgery to repair your detached retina varies depending on the extent of the detachment.The procedure can be performed under local anaesthetic or general anaesthetic and can take between 1-3 hours. Before you are given any anaesthetic you will be given eye drops to dilate (widen) your pupil.

Your surgeon can repair tears or holes using a laser or by freezing treatment.

Retinal detachment surgery can involve removing the jelly in your eye and replacing it with air, gas or oil (vitrectomy), or stitching a small piece of silicone rubber onto the surface of your eye.

Going home after detached retina repair

Your length of stay in hospital will depend on your own circumstances. You will not be able to drive so please arrange for someone to drive you home.

Your eye may feel itchy and sticky for a few days. There may be bruising around your eye. Take over the counter pain relief such as paracetamol if needed.

It may take some time for your vision to clear. Use any eye drops as prescribed and avoid rubbing your eye. You will need a follow-up appointment for an eye test 2-3 months after your procedure. You may need new glasses or contact lenses.

As with any procedure there can be complications including:

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Specific complications from detached retina repair may include:

  • Bleeding inside the eye
  • Raised pressure in the eye
  • Retina detached again
  • Reduced vision
  • Double vision
  • Inflammation in the other eye