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Scleral Buckling

Scleral buckling is one of the most common surgeries for repairing a retinal detachment. This method bends the wall of the eye inward so it meets the wall of the retina.

What to expect
First the surgeon will treat the tears with cryopexy, a procedure that uses intense cold to destroy some tissue. The surgeon will then attach a small piece of silicone sponge or a firmer piece of silicone rubber to the affected part of the sclera, or white of the eye. The silicone material indents the wall of the eye, creating a buckling effect and reducing traction of the vitreous on the retina. If there are several tears or holes or an extensive detachment, the surgeon may create an encircling scleral buckle around the entire circumference of the eye.

The scleral buckling material is stitched to the outer surface of the sclera. Before tying the sutures that hold the buckle in place, the surgeon may make a small cut in the sclera and drain any fluid that has collected under the detached retina. The buckle usually remains in place for the rest of the patient’s life. Some surgeons may choose a temporary buckle for simple retinal detachments, using a small rubber balloon that’s inflated and later removed. This procedure is done under local anesthetic.

How to prepare
Patients will need to make arrangements for a ride after the procedure. The doctor will advise patients of any medications they will need to stop taking prior to the procedure. Doctors will also advise about limiting solids and liquids before the procedure. Patients will need to wear protective eyewear for a certain amount of time afterwards as well.