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Does this make sense (eye operation)

  1. Oct 4, 2013 #1
    I had a torn retina a few years ago. The procedure to fix it is removing the gel sac and reattaching the retina with a laser. I've heard that the procedures have been changed but even then what they did made wonder if they knew what they were doing.

    They sewed a ring around my eyeball to squeeze it which made the eye nearsighted. They then put water and a bubble of air in and I had to stay face down for weeks until the bubble disappeared.

    The theory was that the ring squeezing the eyeball puts pressure on the retina. The other theory is that, face down, the bubble presses up against the retina and holds it the back of the eyeball.

    Both those theories sound like BS to me.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 4, 2013 #2


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    That is all part of the standard treatment for a detached retina. The ring is called a scleral buckle: http://www.webmd.com/eye-health/scleral-buckling-surgery-for-retinal-detachment

  4. Oct 5, 2013 #3
    Thanks, I knew that since I had it done. Maybe I should have posted this in the physics section.

    It's physics, I guess I am questioning whether or not a bubble in the eye would actually support or press the retina to the back of the inside of the eyeball. I don't see that happening. I don't see how a bubble would put any more pressure on it than if it was just filled with water.

    I also question the ring. Sure squeezing the eye will put pressure on it but the pressure is self regulated by the eye isn't it? It will equalize to nullify the effect of the ring in no time.
  5. Nov 2, 2013 #4
    well water isn't compressible so therefore can't store any elastic potential energy whereas air, compressible, can. so I think that is why they use a bubble.
  6. Nov 8, 2013 #5


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    I'm a bit confused on this, having recently suffered an open globe injury and retina detachment. What you're describing sounds like a hodgepodge of several different procedures. By removal of the gel sac I'm assuming you mean the vitreous fluid in the eye. That procedure is called vitrectomy and is normally combined with the Scalia buckle. They don't use water from what I was told, instead either a silicon oil that has to be removed later or a gas. The laser procedure, photocoagulation, is not normally done with it, but before or after to burn any other tears and seal them before your vitreous can detach the retina. That procedure is the one I had first, and leaves you blind for about 15 mins and sick to the stomach. I also had the bubble for my detachment, I can't remember what they called that one, but it was because I had a minor tear and detachment in a hard to get to spot. There's no physics invoked really, the bubble floating against the tear in the retina prevents more fluid from seeping in behind it and worsening the detachment, while it floating helps push the retina back up onto the blood vessels so it can attach. I had to remain in a very awkward position for four days, while the body drained the fluid that had leaked behind the retina and it reattached.

    I ended up with 20/60 when all was said and done, not bad for taking shrapnel to the eye. Considering that I would have lost it just decades earlier.
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