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Retinal Detachment

The retina is the layer of light-sensing cells lining the back of your eye. It converts light rays into signals, which are sent through the optic nerve to your brain where they are recognized as images.

A retinal detachment is when the retina lifts away from the back of the eye. The retina does not work when it is detached, making vision blurry. Due to aging, trauma or other eye conditions (such as Myopia), a hole in the macula (Macular Holes) can form or the retina can be torn or pulled away from its normal position.

A retinal detachment is a serious problem, it must be treated right away or permanent vision loss will occur.

Early signs of a Detached Retina:

  • Sudden onset of flashing lights. Some people say this is like seeing stars after being hit in the eye.
  • Sudden onset of many new floaters, which may look like specks, lines or cobwebs in your field of vision.
  • A shadow appearing in your peripheral (side) vision.
  • A gray curtain covering part of your field of vision.

Treatment for Detached Retina:

Pneumatic Retinopexy:

Your ophthalmologist puts a gas bubble inside your eye. This pushes the retina into place so it can heal properly. Afterward, you will need to keep your head “face down” for a few days. Frequently, at your next appointment laser may be performed at the next appointment to enhance the sealing of the retina to the underlying tissue.


Retinal Detachment DiagramEntails the removal of the vitreous gel pulling on the retina. The vitreous will be replaced with a gas or oil bubble, which holds the retina into place so it can heal properly. If an oil bubble is used, your ophthalmologist will remove it a few months later. With a gas bubble, you cannot fly in an airplane or travel above a certain altitude, which may cause the gas to expand, increasing eye pressure. With time the bubble disappears and is replaced with your normal eye fluid, then it is safe to travel.

Maintaining a head-down position is important in some cases. Once inside your eye, the gas bubble will rise to the top and float there holding the retina in place.

Following surgery, you may experience some pain. You will be given pain medication to help you feel better. It is important to rest and be less active for a few weeks. Your Boise, Idaho ophthalmologist will tell you when you can resume normal activities. It is not unusual to see floaters and flashing lights for a few weeks after surgery and you may also notice the bubble in your eye. Your sight should begin to improve about four weeks after surgery. It could take months for your vision to stop changing. Also, your retina may still be healing for a year or more after surgery.


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128 E. Mallard Dr.
Boise, ID 83706
Fax: 208-323-8686