The recovery period lasts at least 1 week for laser surgery to correct a retinal tear, while patients who undergo cryotherapy, another treatment for retinal tears, have a recovery time of up to 2 weeks, explains Williamson Eye Institute. Most tears of the retina require some form of treatment.
Laser surgery for a retinal tear involves using laser technology to weld the retina to two structures called the retinal pigmented epithelium and the choroid, notes Williamson Eye Institute. The retinal pigmented epithelium, or RPE, is a layer of cells that provide support underneath the retina, while the choroid is a vascular layer. During the procedure, the surgeon first numbs the area with topical anesthetic drops. The surgeon burns together the appropriate eye structures using the laser until there are three to four rows of laser spots surrounding each retinal tear. The patient must limit activity for a period of at least 1 week to give the laser scars time to strengthen.
Cryotherapy is used to correct retinal tears in cases involving hemorrhaging of the vitreous, a jelly-like substance in the eye, states Williamson Eye Institute. After numbing the area, the physician applies liquid nitrogen to the eye to freeze the site of the retinal tear. Patients who receive cryotherapy must limit activity for up to 2 weeks, as scar tissue from cryotherapy takes longer to strengthen than laser scars.