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What is involved in laser surgery for a retina tear?

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Laser surgery for a retinal tear involves the use of laser photocoagulation, a surgical technique employing intense light energy to create tiny burns around the laceration, according to WebMD. The burns cause scarring that stops fluid from entering under the retina.

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Laser photocoagulation for retinal tears is an outpatient procedure that generally prevents retinal detachment and preserves vision. Cryopexy is an alternative procedure that involves applying a freezing probe to the eye’s outer surface and moving the probe over areas with retinal tearing. The probe freezes the area around the hole, creating scarred tissue that aids in securing the retina to the eye wall. Refraining from exercise and other vigorous activities for the two weeks following surgery allows the surgically-made bonds to strengthen, according to Mayo Clinic.

The gel-like material in the eye, known as vitreous, shrinks and thins with age, eventually peeling away in areas from the surface of the retina, explains Mayo Clinic. The vitreous can separate from the eye with enough force to create a retinal tear that, when left untreated, can lead to retinal detachment. The retinal tear creates a passage where fluid from the middle of the eye can enter under the retina, forcing a separation from the back of the eye. Vision loss for a detached retina is permanent if not treated promptly, warns WebMD.

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