Several treatments have been shown to be effective in managing a variety of retinal conditions. At Retina of Illinois, S.C., patients are carefully examined to determine their diagnosis, so that a personalized treatment plan can be discussed. Many retinal treatments can be performed in the office, while vitreo-retinal surgery is performed in an operating room.
These treatments have truly revolutionized the treatment of macular degeneration, diabetic macular edema and retinal vein occlusions, and are usually very effective at minimizing vision loss. These treatments are performed in the office: the eye is numbed up using anesthetic eye drops. Usually a local anesthetic is applied to the outer white part of the eye (conjunctiva), after which a small needle is used to inject the medicine (anti-VEGF agent, such as Avastin, Eylea or Lucentis; or steroid) into the vitreous gel in the middle of the eye. Most of the time, this procedure is virtually painless.
Laser can be used to treat retinal holes or tears, and sometimes small retinal detachments. It can also be used to treat diabetic retinopathy and retinal vein occlusions. This type of retinal laser is completely different from the laser used for LASIK. Retinal laser can be localized to a small area of retinal pathology (focal laser) or be applied more extensively to the retina in cases of widespread pathology (pan-retinal photocoagulation or PRP). Sometimes a local anesthetic is used for PRP laser treatments.
In certain select cases of retinal detachments, pneumatic retinopexy can be performed in the office, and can be almost as effective as surgery in the operating room. The eye is anesthesized, and a small amount of gas is injected into the vitreous cavity in the middle of the eye. Patients are then instructed to position a certain way for a few days, so that the gas bubble can be directed to re-attach the retina. Laser is then applied around the retinal tear in the area of detachment.
Sometimes retinal conditions require surgery in the operating room. After a thorough discussion of your condition and the treatment options, you can decide on whether to have retinal surgery. Usually under local anesthesia with an IV sedative, small incisions are made in the eye. Very small instruments are used to perform microscopic surgery in the vitreous and retina. These operations are out-patient, so overnight hospitalization is not required. In some cases, a gas bubble is placed in the eye to help treat the retina.