The light-sensitive tissue at the back of our eyes is called ‘retina’. In some people, the tissues of the retina start to weaken or thin and retinal breaks begin to develop in areas of thinning. Thus, a retinal break is a tiny hole(without any traction or pressure points on the retina) or tear(which develops due to any traction or pressure on the retina) in the retina. It can occur in the periphery of the retina. Sometimes, the vitreous gel may also tear the retina by pulling it away.
Generally, retinal breaks do not cause vision problems instantly. However few of them can observe floaters or flashes of light. Sometimes the eye fluid seeps behind the retina through this hole/tear. The retinal tissues experience tension and may pull away from the wall of the eye if too much fluid gets behind it. This separation or detachment of the retina may lead to a decrease in vision and if left untreated can lead to total blindness.
Some retinal holes do not demand treatment, while some need to be treated. Depending on the need, your eye surgeon may suggest retina hole laser or freezing treatment.
Retinal Hole/ Tear Treatment
To prevent retinal detachment, your eye surgeon will seal the retinal holes. The retina hole treatment includes:
Laser photocoagulation(Barrage laser)
Your ophthalmologist will put drops to dilate your pupil. During the procedure, your surgeon will put anaesthetic drops in the eye. Then a highly focused beam of laser light is used to seal the tissue around the retinal hole. This is known as ‘Laser photocoagulation’. It is a quick and painless procedure. You can go home immediately after the procedure. However, it must be noted that your vision will be blurred for the next few hours.
Another way to treat a retinal hole is with the help of an instrument called a ‘cryoprobe’. This instrument is used to freeze the tissue around the retinal hole. In this method, the hole is secured to the inside of the eyeball. Cryopexy is done under the influence of local anaesthesia. After this procedure, your eye may remain red for a few days and you may need to use prescribed eye drops.
Retinal Hole treatment- Recovery
The laser treatment itself is painless. However, some patients may experience a little bit of pain afterwards. In rare cases, patients may experience ‘electric shock-like’ feeling during the laser treatment. Immediately after the treatment, the patients are dazzled due to the bright lights. For the next few hours, vision will be misty but it will return to normal by the next day. Recovery after retina hole laser/cryopexy is very quick as no incisions or cuts are made to the eye.
The treatment for retinal holes is usually successful and recovery is fast. Also, there is no risk of eye infection after the procedure. Some patients may experience eye irritation after the procedure. However, it recedes quickly. There is a small risk that this condition may progress to retinal detachment before the retinal hole is completely healed. Hence, do not forget to book for the follow-up which you will need approximately two weeks after the treatment.