Fixing a loose retina
As people age, the vitreous humor, the gel inside the eye, can liquefy and peel the retina from the back of the eye. Rapid repair is necessary to preserve eyesight.
In a healthy eye, the vitreous humor helps hold in place the retina, a thin membrane of light-sensitive membrane attached to the inside surface of the eye.
A detached retina can occur when the vitreous humor slumps, tearing or dislocating the retina. A sudden burst of “floaters” clouding the vision can be a warning sign that a tear is starting to develop in the retina. Spontaneous tears in the retina occur in 30 percent of people older than 50.
An early-stage retinal tear can be treated in an eye doctor's office with laser surgery that creates a weld around the edges of the tear and usually keeps the retina from detaching
Major detachment may require cryopexy. In that procedure, a probe creates a freezing point on the peeled retina, forming an instant scar that holds it in position.
A gas is injected into the eye to temporarily hold the retina in place while it heals. The patient must remain upright so that the gas bubble stays in place. Eventually, the gas is absorbed by the body, leaving a repaired retina in place.
The Washington Post.
Published on May 20, 2013, 7:13 p.m.