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Retinal detachment surgery

If you have a problem with your retina, retinal detachment surgery could help treat it

The retina is the inner layer at the back of your eye.

The retina captures the light coming into your eye and sends this information to your brain.

Sometimes the retina can peel off (detach), causing your vision to be blurred or a shadow to develop in your vision.

Various anaesthetic techniques are possible, including a general anaesthetic or a local anaesthetic that is injected around your eye to numb it.

The operation usually takes 90 minutes to 2 hours.

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

Retinal detachment surgery can involve the following techniques:

  • Removing the jelly part of your eye and replacing it with air, gas or silicone oil to help keep the retina in place.
  • Stitching a small piece of silicone rubber (a buckle) onto the surface of your eye to press the wall of your eye inwards and keep the retina in place.

The aim is to prevent your vision from getting worse.

You should be able to go home the next day.

Regular exercise should improve your long-term health.

It is important to keep still for the first few days. Before you start exercising, ask the healthcare team or your GP for advice.

Do not swim or lift anything heavy until you have checked with your surgeon. Most people make a good recovery.

Your surgeon will tell you if new glasses will improve your vision.

Sometimes the tear or hole can be treated without any surgery, using a laser or by freezing treatment.

Like all surgical procedures, there are some complications that can be serious and can even cause death. Please bear in mind the general and specific complications regarding this type of operation

General complications of any operation

  • Pain
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

Specific complications of this operation

  • Heavy bleeding inside your eye
  • Reduced vision
  • Raised pressure in your eye
  • The retina may become detached again
  • Double vision
  • Inflammation in your other eye


  • Author: Prof Anthony King MD FRCOphth
  • Illustrator: Medical Illustration Copyright © Nucleus Medical Art. All

Specialists Offering Retinal detachment surgery

Mr Niall Patton

Consultant Ophthalmologist, Cataract and Vitreoretinal Surgeon

MB ChB, MD, FRCOphth

BMI The Alexandra Hospital

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Mr Ash Sharma

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon

Bachelor of Science, Bachelor of Medicine and Bachelor of Surgery

BMI The Priory Hospital

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Mr Yashin Ramkissoon

Consultant Ophthalmologist


BMI Thornbury Hospital

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Mr Jason Ho

Consultant Ophthalmologist & Vitreoretinal Surgeon

MBBS (Hons), BSc (Hons), FRCOphth

BMI The Clementine Churchill Hospital 1 more BMI The Princess Margaret Hospital

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Mr Wagih Aclimandos

Consultant Ophthalmic Surgeon


BMI The Blackheath Hospital 2 more BMI Chelsfield Park Hospital BMI The Sloane Hospital

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