Retinal Detachment Treatments

Untreated, most retinal detachments will result in complete and permanent loss of vision in the affected eye. As a general rule, the sooner you receive treatment for your retinal detachment, the better the outcome.

I will decide the best course of treatment for your retinal detachment, and this will usually involve surgery. Retinal reattachment surgery is complicated, intricate and will be individualised to your eye. The timing of surgery will also be decided at your consultation, and may be as early as within a few hours, to within several days.

There are several types of surgery for retinal detachment. I will discuss the risks and benefits of surgery and the option that I feel will be most suited for your particular retinal detachment in order to give you the best possible outcome.

retinal detachment kam balaggan

Vitrectomy Surgery

A vitrectomy is a procedure to remove the vitreous gel inside the eye.  I use the latest generation micro-keyhole surgical equipment to delicately remove the vitreous gel which allows me to perform a very detailed and thorough search for all the retinal tears in your eye. This is a very important step, as missing a tear will likely result in early failure of surgery.  


After the vitreous is removed, I will seal each and every tear in your eye using either a freezing cryotherapy probe or specialised laser. Following this, for most retinal detachments, a gas bubble will be inserted into your eye which is important in reattaching the retina. The bubble slowly absorbs over 2-8 weeks. Because the incisions required using this specialised keyhole equipment are so small (approximately 0.5mm) most operations will not require any stitches. Routine surgery is usually performed under local anaesthetic and can take between 20-40 minutes to perform. (See anaesthesia options in FAQ).

Scleral Buckling Surgery

Scleral buckling is typically used to treat retinal detachments in younger patients with certain types of retinal breaks and is commonly performed under general anaesthetic where you are put completely to sleep.  Important parts of this complex operation consist of identifying all the breaks in your retina and then accurately applying a freezing probe on the white of your eye (sclera) to seal the breaks.


A tiny piece of silicone tubing or sponge (buckle) is then carefully stitched over each retinal break in order to create an indentation to push the wall of the eye closer to the detached retina thereby allowing it to reattach. Once healing has occurred, the buckle is usually not visible and is ordinarily left in place permanently.

There’s a Very Good Chance of Restoring Vision

kam balaggan eye surgery

The success rates of retinal detachment surgery have improved significantly over the last 3-4 decades. With the latest techniques I use, the success rate in reattaching the retina during uncomplicated retinal detachment surgery is approximately 90% with a single operation. Approximately 1 in 10  patients will redetach, most commonly because to the development of unwanted scar tissue which can pull the retina off again.  If you already have established scarring by the time of the first operation, then you are more likely to require further surgery.

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Advantages of Private Retinal Detachment Surgery

“Your surgeon is the biggest factor in the outcome of your treatment”

  • I am an experienced full-time NHS Consultant who specialises in complex vitreoretinal and cataract surgery.

  • I have performed approximately 3000 vitreoretinal procedures, and personally perform and supervise approximately 300 retinal operations a year, including routine and complex retinal detachments.

  • My success rate for primary retinal detachments is above national averages.

  • I am one of the most highlytrained Vitreoretinal Surgeons in the Midlands, having completed 2 years of subspecialist high-volume vitreoretinal training fellowships at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, one of the World’s Top Eye Hospitals. I am the Director of Vitreoretinal Surgery in my current NHS Hospital.

  • I will personally perform your initial and post-operative assessments, and will provide you with all the time you require in order to answer your questions and alleviate any fears and anxieties.

  • I will personally perform your surgery, rather than a trainee surgeon which is not uncommon in non-private settings (in particular in Teaching Hospitals).

  • You will have direct access to me from the outset, thereby circumventing some of the more traditional route requiring you to be seen by an optician and general ophthalmologist prior to being reviewed by vitreoretinal surgeon.

  • As a private patient you may bypass any local NHS waiting lists for urgent surgery, resulting in accelerated curative treatment. This is particularly important if you have very recently developed a macular-off retinal detachment where surgery could still restore good central vision, but only if performed promptly. Such cases usually receive lower priority compared with macular-on retinal detachments in busy vitreoretinal departments.

  • At all stages of your treatment pathway, you will receive my direct access telephone number. This will negate the need to go via any third party, such as a secretary or the hospital, in order to obtain any routine or urgent advice. I will be available 7 days a week for you in this regardThis is a very important aspect to the service I pride myself in providing, giving you the reassurance and confidence to make your journey through this difficult time as smooth and anxiety-free as possible. 

  • This and all other aspects of the service I provide have resulted in very high satisfaction levels from my former patients, rating my service an average of 4.9/ 5 on Trustpilot.

Retinal Detachment FAQs

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