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Retinal Detachment and Vitreoretinal Surgery

Retinal Breaks and Tears

A sudden increase in floaters (black or grey blobs in your vision) and flashing lights can be a sign of a retinal detachment.  These symptoms need to be reviewed by an ophthalmic surgeon urgently.  If a retinal break or tear is confirmed an ophthalmic surgeon at Moreton Eye Group will discuss the treatment options with you.  If caught early treatment can be done on the same day with a special laser (a laser retinopexy).  This procedure effectively “spot welds” the retina to prevent the break getting bigger.  In many cases this will avoid the need for vitreo-retinal surgery (surgery on the back of the eye) and a formal repair of the break. 

At Moreton Eye Group we have doctors skilled in both laser retinopexy and in surgery.  If the breaks are too large or does not respond well to “spot weld” treatment then specialised skilled vitreo-retinal surgery may be needed.  Sometimes this treatment will need to be done in a centre that is set up for overnight patients - at the Moreton Eye Group all our surgical patients are well enough to go home on the day of surgery.

Retinal Detachment

Posterior Vitreous Detachment

In most people, as part of the normal aging process, the vitreous jelly inside the eye becomes more liquid with the passing of years.  As a result the jelly, often in a person’s 50’s or 60’s, detaches from the retina.  This can give rise to an increase in floaters and sometimes an occasional flash of light - but these normally settle with time.  It is important to have your eyes carefully examined in order to demonstrate that there are not significant problems that will require treatment.

Diabetic Eye Disease

If diabetic retinopathy is poorly controlled you can suffer bleeding into the normally clear vitreous jelly that makes up the eye.  This in leads to the formation of fibrous tissue which can cause traction on the retina, which in its turn can cause retinal breaks.  If this happens you may benefit from a vitrectomy (removal of the jelly of the eye) and a release of the scar tissue causing traction.

Extensive bleeding into the eye can sometimes fail to settle and the jelly (and your vision) remains cloudy.  In these cases removing the jelly within the eye can also be beneficial. 

Macular Hole

Macular holes can result from the vitreous jelly “pulling” on the back of the eye and disturbing the very light sensitive layer at the macula (the area of the eye important for fine vision).  In early stages this can be treated with an injection into the eye (which is painless) and significantly reduces the need for a much more major operation.

Epiretinal membranes

The macula, at the back of the eye, can develop a membrane over it which can disturb normal vision.  These can be identified with a special examination at the Morton Eye Group.  If it is a problem it can be treated with an operation called a laminectomy and peel.