RETINOPEXY FOR RETINAL TEAR
What is the retina?
The retina is the light sensitive neural tissue at the back of the eye. It is very thin and made up of several delicate layers. For the retina to work properly, the retina needs to stay in contact with the underlying tissues. You have a tear or hole in the retina. If left untreated, fluid can enter the tear/hole and push the retina away from the underlying tissues causing retinal detachment and loss of vision.
What is laser retinopexy?
Laser retinopexy uses a laser beam around the hole/tear to seal or “spot weld” the retina to the underlying tissues, stopping the retina from detaching.
What happens during the laser treatment?
You will be given drops to enlarge your pupil
After your eye specialist has explained the procedure to you an anaesthetic drop will be put in your eye.
The eye specialist will then place a contact lens on the surface of your eye. This will focus the laser.
The eye specialist will surrounds the hole/weak spot with laser. You will see a series of bright flashes and sometimes feel mild discomfort. Let your eye specialist if you have too much discomfort.
What happens after the treatment?
Immediately after the laser you will be dazzled. Your vision will be misty for a few hours and should return to normal by the next day. You should not drive on the day of your laser.
Can the retina detach after laser retinopexy?
Laser retinopexy considerably reduces the risk of retinal detachment but it can still occur despite laser retinopexy. You should seek help immediately if you notice:
New floaters (Any floaters in the vision that were present before the laser will still be there afterwards but with time will become less noticeable)
Flashing lights in the eye
A change in vision like a curtain coming across
If you experience these symptoms please ring our clinic or if out of hours or during public holiday you may ring the Royal Victorian Eye and Ear Hospital in (03) 9929 8666.
Are there any risks to laser retinopexy?
Laser retinopexy is a widely used, safe treatment.
There is a small risk that it will fail to prevent a retinal detachment in the future.
There is a very small risk that the retina may bleed or develop scar tissue that distorts the vision after laser. Extremely rarely would the laser have inadvertent burn to your macular. These effects could affect your vision.
Will I need further follow up?
The laser reaction takes about six weeks to fully develop. You will have a follow up at 1 week then at about 4-6 weeks. At this stage your eye will be re-examined to check that the laser has sealed with the tear/hole.
An important reminder
Please do not drive yourself to the clinic. You will need to travel by public transport or arrange for someone else to take you home after your appointment. You should not drive or operate machinery for the rest of the day.
Ask your clinic receptionist for a medical certificate if you need one.