Scleral buckling is a surgical procedure sometimes used to repair a retinal detachment. Retinal detachment occurs when the retina becomes separated from the back wall of the eye, usually due to the development of tears in the retina. This causes patients to experience shadows and vision loss. Prompt and thorough treatment is required to prevent permanent vision loss.
During this procedure, the patient is placed under general or local anesthesia and the scleral buckle, which is a thin strip of silicone made to look like a belt, is secured around the eyeball. This device is placed on the sclera, or white of the eye. It is positioned behind the eyelids and the muscles that move the eye and as a result is not visible from the outside. The scleral buckle is usually left around the eye permanently.
The effect of the scleral buckle is to push in the sclera towards the middle of the eye, relieving the tension on the retina and narrowing the space between the two layers that have been pulled apart. This allows the retina to settle back into proper position.
After placement of the scleral buckle, patients may experience pain, swelling, discomfort with eye movement, and redness for a few days. Your doctor may prescribe eye drops to treat these symptoms and prevent infection.
Although this procedure is considered safe for most patients, there are certain risks associated with any surgical procedure. Some of these risks include infection, bleeding, increased eye pressure, and double vision. Most patients experience a shift in vision after surgery, often requiring a change in prescription glasses or contact lenses after the eye heals.