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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:

  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Your healthcare provider may check your eyes with tests, such as biomicroscopy, ultrasound, or optical coherence tomography. Ask your healthcare provider about these and other tests that you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • You may need to wear a patch over your eye. Ask your healthcare provider about eye patches and other ways to care for your eye before surgery. Ask your healthcare provider if you should limit certain activities that may increase the pressure inside your eye, such as bending over.

The night before your surgery:

Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.

The day of your surgery:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • Your healthcare provider will cut through your conjunctiva (the outer layer of your eye). Extra fluid will be drained from the area behind your retina. Your retina will be reattached 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 surgery. Your healthcare provider will stitch 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 where you can 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 go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken to your room.


  • You cannot make it to your surgery.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have a headache and nausea.
  • You have new vision problems, such as blurry vision.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You have severe eye pain.
  • You see new lines floating in front of your eyes.
  • You see what looks like a dark curtain or shadow in front of your eyes.
  • You see new flashes of light in front of your eyes.
  • Your eye is bleeding.
  • Your field of vision suddenly narrows (tunnel vision).


  • 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.

Care Agreement

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.