Scleral buckling is an effective procedure for repairing tears, holes or breaks in the retina that have caused a retinal detachment.
During this procedure, a scleral buckle(a small silicone band or sponge) is placed on the outside of your eye and sutured to remain in place.By changing the shape of the eye,this silicone band works to counteract the force pulling the retina out of place. This closes the retina break and allows the retina to remain flat against the back of the eye in its proper position for reattachment.
Compared to vitrectomy surgery, patients that undergo buckling surgery are at far less risk of developing a cataract after the surgery. As well, since scleral buckling surgery does not require the entry of any instruments into the eye, there is usually no need to position face down after the surgery. However, because sutures are required to secure the conjunctiva during the surgery, there is usually more postoperative discomfort with a scleral buckle compared with vitrectomy or pneumatic retinopexy. These sutures are absorbable, but usually some pain medication is required for the first week after scleral buckling surgery.
Both general anaesthesia and local anaesthesia are options for this procedure, and can be discussed with the physicianprior to surgery.
It is recommended that a friend or family member accompany you on the day of your scleral buckling procedure. You will be provided witha patch on the operated eye and will be unable to drive afterwards. This patch will be removed the following day during your post op appointment.
Recovery after Scleral Buckling Surgery
After undergoing scleral buckling surgery, patients are typically seen 1 day, 1 week, and 1 month following their surgery for post-operative appointments with a retinal specialist at Calgary Retina Consultants.
For the first 2 weeks after your retinal surgery, please take note of the following:
- All air travel is strongly not recommended.
- Driving any type of motorized vehicle.
- Avoid activities involving lifting weight over 5-10 lbs.
- Avoid activities involving bending at the waist (household chores, fitness/exercise, sports).
- Avoid going into pools, hot tubs, lakes or bathtubs. You may shower keeping your eye covered to avoid getting any water into the eye.
- Avoid reading or computer work. This also includes use of mobile devices such as iPhones, smart phones, and tablets.
- You may watch television as this involves less eye movement and strain but remain at a distance of at least 6 feet or more.
- You can expect some blurring of vision 4-6 weeks following surgery, and may experience an overall blurring for distance and reading. This should progressively improve.
Retinal detachments are treated on a case-by-case basis for every patient. The decision to treat retinal detachment with using a scleral buckle,vitrectomy, pneumatic retinopexy, or a combination of these techniques remains at the discretion of your retinal specialist.