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Scleral buckling is a surgical procedure performed in the operating room that can be used to repair a retinal detachment, which 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 decreased vision. Timely treatment is often required to prevent permanent vision loss.
During the procedure, a scleral buckle, which is a thin strip of silicone shaped like a belt, is secured around the eyeball onto the sclera, or the white of the eye. It is positioned behind the eyelids and the muscles that move the eye and as a result is not externally visible. A scleral buckle is usually left around the eye permanently.
The therapeutic effect of the scleral buckle is achieved by gently indentation of 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 reduce the risk of 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.