What is a Scleral Buckle?

Due to age or a genetic predisposition, the retina, or sensitive area at the back of the eyeball, can sometimes develop holes or tears. When this happens, fluid from inside the eye can get behind the retina, pushing it away from the wall of the eye. This can affect vision and potentially cause blindness. A scleral buckle is a surgical procedure performed to treat retinal detachment.

During a scleral buckle procedure, the retina is first fused back into place, often using a kind of very cold needle. Then a tiny, flat piece or band of silicone is stitched to the white area on the outside of the eyeball. This creates a small indentation (or buckle) which pushes the wall of the eye securely against the retina. It helps the retina adhere to its proper location and heal correctly.

Scleral buckle surgery may be performed along with other procedures to treat a retinal detachment, for instance removing a small amount of the liquid inside the eye. After surgery, you may experience redness or swelling. You may be given eye drops or a patch to wear to protect your eye while it heals. At first, there is often an uncomfortable gritty feeling like something is in your eye. Although the buckle is permanent, this sensation soon disappears. In most cases the retina reattaches, and within a few weeks your vision and eye will be back to normal.

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