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Scleral Buckling


Scleral buckling is surgery to fix a detached retina. The retina is a thin layer of cells on the back of your eyeball. Your retina sends the images that you see from your eyes to your brain. A detached retina means that your retina has torn away from the sclera (tissue behind your retina). Your retina may become detached if it gets a hole in it and fluid builds up behind it. A detached retina also may be caused by inflammation or injury. A detached retina makes your vision worse, and you may lose sight in your eye.

Lateral cut-away of the Right Eye


Before your surgery:

  • Informed consent is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.
  • An IV is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.
  • Anesthesia: You will be given one of the following medicines to make you comfortable during the procedure:
    • Local anesthesia: This is a shot of numbing medicine put into the skin near your eye. You may feel pressure or pushing during surgery, but you should not feel pain. Local anesthesia allows you to stay awake during the surgery.
    • General anesthesia will keep you asleep and free from pain during surgery. Anesthesia may be given through your IV. You may instead breathe it in through a mask or a tube placed down your throat. The tube may cause you to have a sore throat when you wake up.

During your surgery:

  • Your healthcare provider cuts through your conjunctiva (the outer layer of your eye). Your eye muscles are spread apart to show your retina. Your healthcare provider finds and marks all tears in your retina. Extra fluid is drained from the area behind your retina. Your retina is attached with a tool that uses cold, heat, or a laser. Your healthcare provider may put a gas bubble inside your eyeball to help keep it round during the surgery.
  • Your healthcare provider stitches a buckle on the sclera near your retina. The buckle may be a tiny sponge or a small rubber band. The buckle creates a small dent that stops fluid from building up behind your retina. Your healthcare provider may wash your eye with antibiotic medicine. He will close the muscles and layers of your eye with stitches.

After your surgery:

You will be taken to a room to rest. Do not get out of bed until healthcare providers say it is okay. You may have a patch over your eye. If a gas bubble was put in your eye during surgery, you may need to position your head a certain way. When healthcare providers see that you are okay, you may be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your room.

  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.
  • Eyedrops: You may need antibiotic eyedrops to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. You may also need pain medicine eyedrops or steroid eyedrops to decrease inflammation.


  • You may have damage to nerves or muscles in your eye. After surgery, an infection may cause your buckle to detach from your retina. Your eye may become swollen and your eyelid may droop. A hole in your sclera or a scar inside your eyeball may cause your vision to become worse. Your eye could bleed underneath your retina. You are more likely to develop eye diseases, such as glaucoma (increased pressure in your eye) and cataracts (clouding of your eye). You may get a second detached retina in the same eye, and you may need another surgery.
  • With or without surgery, your eyesight may not get better and may become worse. You may have double vision or trouble focusing your eyes. If you do not have surgery, you may no longer be able to see out of your eye.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.