Sometimes, even though we take precautions and do a great job in caring for our eyes, the inevitable happens. The eye encounters an injury or a complication due to an illness or an eye procedure causes the retina to be damaged and detached from its normal placement.
Retinal detachment is an eye condition that happens when the retina breaks away from the layers located on the outer portion of the eye. This occurrence can be done in an instant. A detached retina needs immediate medical attention. When not treated with urgency, the condition can result in partial or permanent blindness.
It is important that you know what to do during this emergency because the consequences of retinal detachment can be fatal. This article shares two types of retinal detachment surgery in Singapore that patients can undergo in order to treat their condition and save their eyesight. The folks at Asia Retina give out important information about what to expect when in surgery to repair retinal detachment, as well as some advice on what foods to eat to boost and strengthen its health.
Types of Retinal Detachment Surgery in Singapore
It is important that patients have their eyes checked when they notice peculiar changes to their vision. Some conditions may not need urgent care, unlike retinal detachment. The treatment of a detached retina is time sensitive as it can lead to blindness if not attended with a sense of urgency. There are three types of surgery to repair a detached retina:
- Pneumatic Retinopexy
- Scleral Buckle
Pneumatic Retinopexy is a procedure that uses a gas bubble that is injected into the eye’s vitreous space. The injected gas bubble works to push the detached retina back to its original placement, against the eye’s back wall. The gas bubble remains and gradually disappears. Patients who undergo this treatment are asked to keep their head at a certain position as they recover. Pneumatic Retinopexy is done in combination with either cryotherapy or laser surgery and can be performed in the ophthalmologist’s clinic, given that the place is conducive for the treatment.
Scleral Buckle used to be the standard procedure to fix detached retinas. Unlike pneumatic retinopexy, this procedure needs to be done in a hospital. The procedure involves attaching a sponge or a piece of silicone onto the sclera, which is the white part of the eye, right over the spot of a retinal tear. This ‘buckle’ then pushes the sclera to the detached retina.
Prior to a scleral buckle procedure, patients will be asked to prepare for it. You may be asked to stop the intake of certain medications, foods, and beverages that can affect the results of the surgery days or weeks before your scheduled operation. Fasting from food will be likely required on the night before your surgery.
Here is what you can expect during a scleral buckle surgery:
- Administration of local or general anaesthesia and eye drops to dilate your eyes
- The incision to the sclera
- Placing and stitching of the buckle (sponge or silicone) around the sclera
- Administration of cryopexy or laser photocoagulation to prevent retinal detachment or tear.
- Draining of any fluid from the back of the retina
- Application of antibiotic eye drops for infection prevention
Scleral buckling is a quick procedure and can be done in under an hour. Patients are asked to take time off from work or any activities to allow the eyes to heal, which is about two to four weeks.
Vitrectomy is another procedure used to fix a retinal detachment. Akin to sclera buckling, this is a surgery that needs to be done in hospital setting. Vitrectomy is done by removing the vitreous gel that is tugging on the retina and replacing it with a gas or an oil bubble to secure the retina back in its original position. The gas bubble is eventually replaced by the body’s own fluids, while an oil bubble needs another procedure to be removed.
As a protocol, patients will be asked to fast for at least eight hours before the scheduled operation. Any food, beverage, or medication that contains ingredients that can complicate the results will need to be stopped temporarily.
Below are the steps of how a vitrectomy surgery takes place:
- Anaesthetic eye drops or general anaesthesia is administered to the patient.
- The eye is dilated, cleansed, and dressed with a sterile cloth.
- An eyelid speculum is attached to the eye to keep it open.
- A tiny incision is made in the outer membrane of the eye.
- The eye is accessed through the pars plana (part of the sclera) and creates a small opening.
- A microscope is inserted along with a fibre-optic light.
- The vitreous gel is broken down using a vitrector and removed.
- The surgeon, depending on certain conditions, will either:
- Drain harmful fluid with the use of a silicone-tipped needle
- Repair any injury to the retina as well as destroy any abnormal blood vessels with the use of laser
- Peel back scar tissue from the retina with the use of cutters, scissors, and forceps
- The vitreous gel is substituted with a gas bubble, saline solution, or silicone oil.
- Antibiotics are applied to the eye before covering in order to prevent any infection.
Foods for recovery and strengthening the retina
Patients may be required by doctors lie facing down during their recovery. During this time, it is advisable that you have already prepared foods that are easy to consume and are filled with vitamins and nutrients that can aid in your eye’s recovery.
Coffee, sugar, and wheat may need to be temporarily evicted from your list of foods to eat during your healing period. Coffee takes away minerals from the eyes, which is not a good idea as the eye needs all the minerals it can as it heals. Sugar disables the body’s immune system. Having a weak immune system endangers the body during recovery, so it is best to bid chocolates, ice creams, and sweet desserts for a short while. Lastly, it has been found out that wheat causes inflammation to the body. Eliminating wheat products from your diet will aid in the faster recovery of your eye.
Tweak your diet to include foods that are filled with vitamin C and E, as well as Omega-3 fatty acids and zinc. Different fruits and vegetables carry these nutrients. Some foods that contain high amounts of these are citrus fruits, berries, leafy vegetables, almonds, peanuts, hazelnuts, eggs, and salmon.
Asia Retina – Eye Specialist in Singapore
#15-10 The Paragon, 290 Orchard Rd,
+65 6732 0007