Complications of Long Term Retinal Detachments

Complications of Long Term Retinal Detachments

There are 3 reasons to have retinal detachment surgery.   More than just to restore vision, there are emotional and physical factors that need consideration.  There are complications to long term retinal detachments.  Your doctor should prepare you for all of them.

Saving Your Vision

The most obvious reason for retinal detachment surgery is to save your vision.  A detached retina has no chance of spontaneously fixing itself.  An operation is needed.

Remember that retinal detachments cause blindness.  Reattaching the retina may not restore your vision completely, but it will prevent blindness.

Usually with proper timing of retinal detachment surgery, the better your visual prognosis and, in most cases, we try to operate within a short period.

On occasion, I’ll see a patient who has had a retinal detachment for a long time.  Last month, I operated on a patient with a retinal detachment for about 2 years.  The vision was quite poor and unlikely to improve despite successful surgery, but we needed seriously consider surgery.

There are emotional and physical reasons to operate, too.

Value in Trying

My patient is relatively young.  While I have seen miraculous improvements in similar circumstances, the chance of his regaining useful vision was quite small.  We discussed this.

In my experience, the younger patients tend to have more of the “miracles,” that is, given his age, he has a chance of getting some moderate improvement.

I am a big believer in “closing the loop” on something and moving on.  This is how I also approach patients with complicated and devasting vision loss.  We’ll try everything we possibly can now, if it doesn’t work, we know we’ve tried so that years from now…there are no questions or reservations.

There is value in trying.

It is a healthy approach.  I have met too many patients that weren’t properly prepared for the long term possibilities…and can’t move on.

Physical Changes to Retinal Detachment

A long standing retinal detachment will lead to blindness.

A long standing retinal detachment can also lead to a shrunken and disfigured eye.   The eye is “dying” and  can become visually unappealing.  This condition is called “phthisis bulbi.”  It doesn’t happen to every blind eye, but occurs more often in patient unrepaired  retinal detachments.

The long term physical changes occur gradually.  Phthisis bulbi can take years to occur.  It is not reversible.  It is less of a concern with older individuals.

Reattaching the retina can prevent this cosmetic nightmare.

What Does This Mean?

A retinal detachment can have long term complications…and more than just your vision.  The emotional trauma that may occur with permanent vision loss can be life changing.  I am not discounting the significance of losing vision, but one needs to be aware of this possibility.

A physically disfigured eye can be more traumatic than simply going blind.  Complications of long term retinal detachments should be dealt with “up front.”  Most of the time, these are only potential issues.

The decision for retinal detachment surgery is usually straightforward as we are often faced with the question of restoring vision.  In cases where visual improvement is unlikely, there are still complications that must be faced.  Your eye doctor should help you learn about these.

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  • Erin Driscoll
    Posted at 09:49h, 13 September Reply

    I absolutely agree Dr. Wong… I had a detached retina when I was 16 years old (I’m now nearly 37). My retina had detached 2/3 and when I saw a specialist, he admitted me into the hospital that night and I had my surgery the following morning. While it was a scary experience at the time I am so grateful to my doctor (Alan Norton in Bev. Hills ~ back in 1990). My vision, while not perfect, was improved significantly. I would recommend to anyone facing this to move forward with the surgery. It could absolutely save your sight! I went from having a “black curtain” over a majority of my vision in my right eye to having only a small irregularity where my doc couldn’t re-attach my retina over the optic nerve. Good luck to anyone else with this problem.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 11:39h, 15 September Reply


      Sounds like you’ve done quite well. Thanks so much for following and reading.


  • Moe
    Posted at 01:35h, 08 November Reply

    My retina has been detached since 1997. I can see only light in the 30% part that is attached. I know there are some blood vessels behind the retina at this time. I saw only one or two drs and they didn’t recommend an opperation because the “optic nerve won’t probably function”, but I still see light and sometimes colors and so I’m not convinced. I’ve met people who regained their vision more than 10 years after losing it. Any recommendations for me? Is there a way to restore my vision? Should I give up or should I seek more help…Note, my right eye is prostetic.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 08:41h, 08 November Reply


      If I understand you correctly, your left, and only, eye is detached and you have a prosthesis in the right?

      How did you lose the right eye?

      Depending on the condition of the retina in the left eye, operating could be a consideration, if, indeed, there is a detachment to fix. While I agree that there may not be a huge improvement, reattaching a retina at this very late stage has some potential benefits; some subjective improvement and a decreased chance of losing more sight from an enlarging detachment.

      In short, I think it depends upon the nature of the retina right now.

      Look forward to hearing from you,


  • paresh lakhani
    Posted at 07:08h, 01 June Reply

    hi doctor i was born with cataract, i got operated 6 to 7 times my right eye went well but the left was unlucky every time at the age of 8yrs i again went under a cataract operation but the doctor found that i had retinal detachment too and he tried fixing it but no proper post operative care by the doctor resulted in retinal detachment once again, i just visited a ophthalmologist in the month of march and he said i have occurred some Ocular Hypotony / Phthisis Bulli in my left eye they say it is the worst an eye can get is that true and is any operation available for me if not then till when is it expected to come up. I’am 18yrs old right now please help

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 00:13h, 03 June Reply

      Dear Paresh,

      If your eye has hypotony or is described as phthisis bulbi….it is unlikely you can salvage the eye, regardless of an operation.

      I am sorry.


  • Teacher Anna
    Posted at 14:14h, 21 August Reply

    Dear Dr Wong,
    I had a vitrectomy, gas bubble, and scleral buckle 6mos ago. I incurred optic nerve damage perioperatvely. Is this a common occurrence? I have only the very top of my visual field left, the rest of my visual field is black. Thank you.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 11:29h, 22 August Reply

      Teacher Anna,

      Visual field loss as related to optic nerve damage is possible, but not usual from retinal detachment surgery. There may have been some other events that occurred? I am assuming, at present, your retina is reattached.


  • Santosh
    Posted at 13:02h, 24 August Reply

    Sir, i have lost my vision in 1992 due to the retinal detachment with the injury in my right eye.. from that day i havent consult any doctor, My eye have shrunken and disfigured. Is there any new inventions to get my vision back. In future is there any new inventions wil come..Otherwise i’l go for cosmetic ocular prosthesis,.. Plz suggest me

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 11:01h, 29 August Reply

      Dear Santosh,

      From your description, I’d suggest you follow through with the prosthesis. I am not aware of any way to reverse the vision loss.



  • Christy
    Posted at 14:24h, 27 August Reply

    Dear Dr. Wong
    My boyfriend is diabetic and only 23. In January he had multiple surgeries in attempt to reattach his retina. he had scar tissue that was removed and blood vessels had burst causing him to see red spots or have blind spots. all that was mostly taken care. After a few attempts the doc said it just couldn’t be reattached maybe because it wouldn’t lay flat against the eye, I’m not sure the reason. My question is, although it has been over six months with it unattached and he does not see light, is there any slight possibility that it could still be repaired with any kind of surgery or anything? Is there anything that anyone can do or is it to late altogether?

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 11:09h, 29 August Reply

      Dear Christy,

      Although the prognosis is not very good, it might still be possible to reattach his retina. It really depends upon the condition of his eye right now and, obviously, I can’t tell from here.

      If indeed, he is unable to see projected light (at all), then the further operations may not be helpful as complete loss of light perception is a bad indicator.


  • don
    Posted at 18:47h, 09 November Reply

    can i do physical construction work with detach reina with s oil in it

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 10:12h, 15 November Reply

      Dear Don,

      Probably. If I were your doctor, I wouldn’t see why not unless you just had it put in and have to maintain a certain head position.


    Posted at 00:39h, 14 May Reply

    dear sir,

    My mom affected by glaucoma then operation done with lens in aravind eye hospital coimbatore, taminadu ,india. the past 8 years before. she putting drops fro the operation.2years back drop changed. Now she lost her vision.The doctor told i will try to operation again. have any chance to retrieve the vision.kindly reply me sir thank you

  • Anupam Gangopadhyay
    Posted at 12:01h, 16 May Reply

    Dear Dr. Wong,
    I’m writing with great concern about our 7 years old boy. Although he was doing good in his study, playing cricket and all other activity without any difficulty or perception problem, on 16th April we suddenly found that his vision of left eye deteriorated badly. So we immediately visited a retinal surgeon Dr. Vikas Khetan of Sankara Nethralaya, Chennai, India. He informed us that there is a longstanding retinal detachment due to fluid accumulation under retina because of Coat’s disease. On 27th he got the MRI report which reported that optic nerves and all other parts of the orbit and brain is in perfect condition except the retinal detachment on left eye. On 28th April he performed an operation for cryotherapy, SRF drainage and scleral buckle. After the surgery he informed that he had drained 60% of the SRF and the rest will be absorbed by the body itself. He also informed that the retina was not made to be full flat but it will after the rest SRF is absorbed. On 4th May, after the checkup he told that there is still some fluid, so to hope for the best and that will take time as there will not be overnight dramatic results.
    During the first seven days there was no light perception. The next week he started getting gradual increase of light on his eye. Now the third week is running and he is getting blur image of bright objects.
    We had provided doses of Prednisolone, Ciplox and Homide drops. From this week we are advised to give him Prednisolone in two hours interval.
    We are in great agony for the future of my son, so will you please allow your valuable opinion or feedback about the condition of my son’s eye.
    With heartiest regards.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 13:38h, 22 May Reply

      Dear Anupam,

      Is the other eye normal?

      There is likely to be improvement with the Coats’ eye, but probably not 100% due to both the disease and to amblyopia.


  • Smita
    Posted at 08:01h, 22 May Reply

    My son is 3 yrs old and suffering from retinal detachment in both eyes due to premature birth in 6 and half months. He had been given avastin in his both eyes and undergone surgery vitrectomy only in his left eye .But in vain. But Dr had given hope in his right eye . But till now he cannot see through his right eye and only has light sense. Dr is saying that he is not receiving signal from brain but his right eye condition is stable. I m at a mess. Pls help and suggest what can we do with his right eye.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 14:16h, 22 May Reply

      Dear Smita,

      I am sorry, but my experience with ROP is that once surgery is necessary, the prognosis is very poor.


  • Anupam Gangopadhyay
    Posted at 14:50h, 23 May Reply

    Dear Dr. Wong,

    Thanks a lot for your kind response.
    Yes the other eye is normal and he is doing his every day work smoothly by using this eye.
    Is there any vitamins or medications available to improve vision, retina cells to rejoin and to stop chronic inflammation of blood vessels.
    How do we detect that he has amblyopia? Should we use patching technique to recover from amblyopia. If yes, then how many hours each day?
    With regards.

  • Smita Chakraborty
    Posted at 07:02h, 25 May Reply

    Dear Dr. Wong,
    Thanks a lot for your response. Dr is there any research going on by which we could be benefited in future.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 14:25h, 04 June Reply

      Nothing comes to mind. Prevention and identifying those at high risk for ROP has helped many, many kids, but I am not aware of any ongoing research on children already detached from ROP.


  • Kathryn
    Posted at 16:33h, 31 May Reply

    Dear doctor,

    You mentioned in this post that you had a patient with a detached retina for two years. How is the patient now after surgery? Was he able to regain any vision?

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 14:40h, 04 June Reply

      Dear Kathryn,

      Admittedly, some improvement, but not able to read with that eye. We were successful in repairing the retinal detachment so there is no longer any chance of blindness or losing the eye.


  • Kenni André Pedersen
    Posted at 09:48h, 08 July Reply

    Hi Dr Wong. I have talked to you before here on this site, and I see that its still a thriving community to get answers to ones questions. If i could just come up with a proposition for the site, it would be that you should try to gather all the posts in here in some kind of forum, where you can set priority and gather questions from users in a post so you dont have to answer the same questions again and again. It would also be easier for the user to read through posts and see what other people have asked before. I think that would be great, cause now you got comments under every new post you make, and the post doesnt always match up with the questions by users, so it can be hard to find what one is looking for.

    I just wanted to ask you something. Im not sure if you can remember me as you get so many user questions and stories everyday, also through your practice. But i have had 4 operations on my left eye for a chronic low-lying retinal detachment without macula involvement (fortunately). I’ve had Scleral buckle and Cryo (1st) then more cryo and laser (2nd), then vitrectomy and laser (3rd) and then vitrectomy with vitreous shave and laser, and cataract removal, last. Its been a hard couple of months. My first surgery was in november 2011, and my last was this april.

    Ever since the scleral buckle came on i’ve had this strange visual phenomena, flickering, in the left portion of my vision where the buckle element supports the, once, detached area. My doctors don’t know what it is, and im afraid it might be the scleral buckle that is too tight and maybe obstructing blood flow to the area. I have a feeling that it is spreading to. At first it was just a minor area. Maybe a quarter of the eye, now its at least over a quarter, maybe 30-35%. Do you know what might be causing this?

    Also ive had so much peripheral laser that my night vision is all shot. Do you think that someday in the future there might be stem cells that can “revitalize” areas destroyed during laser surgery?

    I am thankful for any answer you or another in here can give me! 🙂

    Kenni / Norway

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 12:08h, 19 July Reply

      Dear Kenni,

      I doubt the buckle is doing anything to the blood flow of the retina. The blood arrives to the retina via the optic nerve, while the scleral buckle is placed on the outside of the eye. I would guess that the flickering is somehow related to the retinal detachment.

      I do like your idea of a centralized forum listing all comments. The immediate downside is that readers might get distracted.

      I do like the thought!


  • maria manolakos
    Posted at 17:34h, 04 October Reply

    DR wong I had laser in my rigtht eye but now have a lot pain and ters is this normal

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 15:10h, 15 October Reply

      Dear Maria,

      Pain and tears are not normal. Make sure everyone, especially your doctor is aware.


  • Devin McBride
    Posted at 02:12h, 31 January Reply

    Dr. Wong,

    I am 27 and just got diagnosed with retinal detachement in my right eye. It is in the perepherial vision somewhere, although I honestly don’t notice a change. My central vision may seem a tad bit more myopic and I’ve been having flashes. Otherwise I’m seeing normal. The macula is not effected and they believe this is a very slow progession. My surgery is the 19th. Do I have an okay chance for okay post surgery vision in this eye?

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 05:16h, 02 February Reply

      Dear Devin,

      Really can’t assess your situation as I don’t have the luxury of an examination. I am sorry. If you start to notice a change in your vision….tell your doc.


  • amy bollinger
    Posted at 02:25h, 19 February Reply

    Dr. Wong 25 yrs ago my father had his retina reattached and after the surgery he had a crooked eye and double vision. He has learn to deal with it. They tried to fix it but they said scar tissue was pulling his eye muscles causing his double vision. He said driving through a construction zone with barrels down the side of the highway was hard because it looked as if they were floating across the road in front of him and headlight at night twice as many. He would joke though he also had two wives, two paychecks and twice the bills. lol
    Last Friday he had to do alot of driving he is the head bridge construction supervisor for his company and he had go from town to town checking on stuff and by the time he drove hour and half home he was having alot of pain in his eyes which he thought it was from squinting. Also, when he closes good eye crooked eye goes straight and he see only one wife. So this past weekend he said the pain was pretty bad and went to the doctor today where they told him he had cataract and they saw something on his retina and he has to see the surgeon who did his surgery 25 years ago to find out what it is before they do the cataract surgery. So were praying the spot they seen on retina is nothing serious Friday when he goes. Is there anything he can have done to fix the crooked eye and double vision now 25 years later? He is very active and I am worried if he can no longer drive, build his old cars and do his job he will fall into depression. I just want him to see and be the best he can see and be…………… Thank You for your time. Amy Bollinger

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 11:53h, 02 March Reply

      Dear Amy,

      There are so many causes for your dads symptoms that I really can’t comment intelligently due to the fact that I can’t examine him.

      I”m sorry.


  • Ben
    Posted at 12:06h, 19 March Reply

    I have had a detatched retina for almost 6 years and been blind as a result. It was a trauma that caused the issue. Ni surgery has ever been a given option for me (nhs). Would this be worth me insisting on surgery? Or is there no point after 6 years? Im 24 this year and would love some sight back if possible but have managed this long so wont be too disappointed if its not likely. Thanks for your time, I lookfoward to your reply

  • Sonny J
    Posted at 01:51h, 24 April Reply

    Dear Dr. Randall

    I had a detached retina in Dec. 15, 2011 in my right eye and had the emergency surgery at the Hospital the next day. The surgeon used gas bubble to reattach the retina. It took 3 months to recover but the surgery caused a cataract and I had the cataract surgery performed in May 14, 2012. About 2 months after that I had another detached retina in different area of the same eye and was initially advised that it may be caused by the cataract surgery. Therefore I had the second detached retina surgery in July 12, 2012. This time the surgeon used silicone oil instead of gas bubble to reattach the retina. He told me that it would take 4 – 6 months for the eye to heal and then he would drain the silicone oil out in the follow-up surgery.

    The day following the surgery in July 2012 (July 13, 2012) the surgeon told me that I won’t be able to see because of the silicone oil that is in my eye. I have been complaining to the surgeon that I can’t see anything in front of me, or the left peripheral side of my eye but I can only see blurry shadows on my small island, right peripheral area. I have been seeing the surgeon at least once or more a month for the follow up appointments since the surgery in July 2012 as required by him. He has been advising me that from July 2012 up until January 2013 that my eye and the retina is looking good. Eye pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). Normal eye pressure ranges from 12-22 mm Hg, and eye pressure of greater than 22 mm Hg is considered higher than normal. When he noticed that my eye pressure is persistently high in the 20’s he advised that I continue to take medical eye drops to reduce eye pressure. The surgeon took vacation from middle of January to February 2013. I had an appointment to see him on February 26, 2013 to get a date to have the final surgery to remove the silicone oil out of my eye. Just when he was finishing up checking my eye he told me that my optic nerve is pale. I didn’t know what that meant as he didn’t say anything as I was leaving his office. I thought it was something that it can heal on its own. I went home and researched the internet and found out that pale optic nerve meant glaucoma, loss of vision. On March 15, 2013 I saw the surgeon and I asked him if I have glaucoma and he confirmed it and told me that I can go blind due to silicone oil which caused high eye pressure. I asked him to check my optic nerve again and he said that my optic nerve is pale. My vision is very blurry on the small right peripheral vision field of my right eye, and the rest of the vision field is blank. I also told him that I want to minimize the loss of vision by having the surgery right away to remove the silicone oil. He told me that I can wait and it wouldn’t matter as the medical eye drops are keeping the eye pressure under control. The surgeon had given me false sense of security by advising me that all along my eye is doing great from July 2012 to February 2013. I never expected to go blind.

    I went to see another ophthalmologist and a retina surgeon for second opinion in March 2013 and was advised that I have glaucoma and I could go blind. It was also confirmed that there was so much silicone oil in my eye that it has entered the anterior chamber of the eye from the posterior cavity, which in turn caused high eye pressure. I was also prescribed two additional medical eye drops to reduce eye pressure on top of the one medical eye drop that the surgeon originally told me to take.

    I truly believe that he overfilled my eye with silicone oil, which in turn caused high eye pressure and glaucoma which damaged the optic nerve right away. I just had the surgery on April 22, 2013 to drain the silicone oil out from my eye.

    Is it possible to damage the optic nerve during surgery by injecting too much silicone oil? Would the vision improve after the silicone oil is out (ie. the vision what is left of it, the right peripheral)?

    I look forward to your reply.

    Sonny J.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 15:13h, 11 May Reply

      Dear Sonny J.,

      Increased pressure can be caused by too much oil, but that is just one of many possibilities. I hesitate to comment on your journey as I don’t have the opportunity to examine you.

      Vision often improves, or at least changes, after silicone oil removal.


  • hil
    Posted at 11:40h, 04 January Reply


    My mother has had a retinal detachment in her bad eye so did not notice any symptoms. Her history is she was a high myope approx. -19.00DS R+L and had cataract surgery 20 years ago, which worked quite well in her LE, but left her RE with a -5.00 of astigmatism and then RGPs were not an option for her as she developed a corneal dystophy in this eye. So subsequently she wears a balance lens in the RE.

    At Christmas 2013 I noticed her RE pupil was dilated so took her to A+E and they found a chronic retinal detachment with the onset of phthisis, her pressure in this eye is 4 (8 in the other eye). I’m just wondering what her options are now – she is on a variety of drops. Would a corneal graft help increase the pressure?

    Also she was checked in June 2013 and her VA with a pinhole was 6/12 in the RE. Can phthisis occur in just 6 months from a retinal detachment?

    Many thanks

  • hil
    Posted at 11:00h, 07 January Reply

    Hi Randy

    Thanks for your prompt reply – we are now quite concerned about the LE having a retinal detachment as this is her only eye now. The consultant said there were no signs of any problems in this eye, however they also said the same about the RE 2 years ago and then she had a detachment. Is there anything that can be done prophylactically for the LE – she is NHS pateint in the UK but I think she would be willing to pay to go privately if there’s anything that can be done to protect it.

    Many thanks


  • Kate Dennis
    Posted at 19:11h, 23 January Reply

    Hi Dr. Wong,
    When my brother was about 3 years old, he severely injured his left eye with a sharp instrument. We were in Africa at the time and medical technology was extremely poor. Therefore saving the vision in that eye was not possible and as a result, he has lived with a retinal detachment as well as several wounds in that eye. He is now 29 and was told recently by a doctor that his left eye can be saved for only cosmetic purposes such as aligning it with the right eye. Since he has been on drops for about 6 months now and still feels pain whenever he stops using it for 2 days, the doctors believes that he is suffering from phthisis bulbi and in order to achieve such cosmetic outcome, he will have to either be enucleated and wear prosthesis or maintain his eye and wear a scleral shell cover. But the latter would mean him using drops for the rest of his life. About 6 months back, he was told by a different doctor that he has iritis in that eye. During the same period, another doctor advised that he get a scleral shell cover for cosmetic purpose and then placed him on eye drops without mentioning his condition. What condition does it look like he has from this explaination? Also how long does it take to see the full effects of phthisis bulbi? Since the injury years back, his left eye has been slighly smaller than the other one but it was only recently (6 months) that he started feeling this pain that never seems to go away anytime soon. Can surgery help him in this case to stop the pain so that he can go in the route of using a scleral shell cover? Should we demand surgery at all costs.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 06:59h, 04 February Reply


      Based upon the history you provided, phthisis bulbi is a gradual process where the eye shrinks and really becomes useless. Pain is common during this process, but may not be forever. Regardless, I usually recommend patients with phthisis bulbi seek consultation with an oculoplastic surgeon to consider/learn about enucleation.

      Enucleation can often be followed by a prosthesis which has complete eye movement, depending upon the health of the eye muscles. It is my understanding that the results are best when the eye muscles have not yet atrophied.

      There are also psychological advantages to enucleation as well.

      All the best to you and your brother.


      Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Retina Specialist
      Northern Virginia
      Fairfax, VA. 22030

  • josh
    Posted at 22:40h, 03 March Reply

    I recently had a tumor in my eye treated with radiation. It was discovered when my retina detached. My eye doctor tells me that my retina should reattach itself. This contradicts what I read here. Are there not any circumstances where a retina would reattach on its own? Thanks for your reply.

  • Ingrid Johnson
    Posted at 13:50h, 29 March Reply

    I had cataract surgery in both eyes a year ago. Left eye has had very thin “black string” images since this was done. Two weeks ago I had some flashes and then changes in vision in central field.
    Surgeon who performed cataract surgery diagnosed detached retina a few days ago. Macula is off.
    Retina specialist has me scheduled for surgery Monday morning.
    Any advice for me?

  • Brenda
    Posted at 01:10h, 25 July Reply

    Hi Dr.
    I have a 1.6 yrs old daughter, she has ROP 5 in both eyes, she has lensectomy and used to have light perception in both eyes. Last december she had a inflammation period in left eye, since that moment the eye started to get smaller than right eye, now the light perception in that eye is minimum and the difference in size between eyes is almost 3 mm., also the pupil is totally irregular, she is in a treatment with prednisolone drops, but, you thing is there any other way to treat to stop the decrease of the left eye?



    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 05:43h, 27 July Reply


      Based upon your description, it doesn’t seem promising. I am, however, unable to be accurate because I don’t have the ability to examine her.

      I wish I could say more.


  • Gillian Mckenzie
    Posted at 11:30h, 04 September Reply

    Hi just seeing if you can help, my daughter Amy was born premature 24weeks , I was later told Amy had retinophathy of prematurity, she had surgery one eye was so badly damaged she had to have eye frozen the other laser surgery, to no avail Amy was diagnosed completely blind, this was completely devastating, but throughout time we adapted Amy is now Amy, recently I noticed that she could distinguish day from night. Got eye dr to check her over AMy has light perception and has her optic nerve which till today I was told she has optic nerve in right eye which we were told she hadn’t she has is there any surgery even if hundreds of thousands of pounds that could help my wee girl.

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 08:20h, 02 October Reply


      I am sorry for the delay. I thought I had responded to you earlier.

      While I am happy to hear about Amy having some light perception vision, I don’t think that ROP is really a surgical disease. Obviously, I can’t examine her but would encourage you to have a retina specialist re-examine her because of your new discovery.



  • Gillian Mckenzie
    Posted at 14:44h, 04 September Reply

    Dr Randall Amy is 9
    Sorry ant comment would be so much appreciated

    • Randall V. Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 08:21h, 02 October Reply


      I just responded to you initial comment – 9 years old is a bit “old” with regards to visual development, but an exam will now be more conclusive.


  • Allana Stables
    Posted at 22:48h, 10 January Reply

    Hi Dr Wong
    I am 28 years of age and have recently been diagnosed with bilateral retinal detachment. I have been told it’s chronic and they think I have had it for years. They found some scar tissue in my eyes where my body had tried to repair it. I havnt had a lot of symptoms, I was seeing floaters and I have some slight tunnel vision in my right eye but i havnt had any vision loss as of yet. I was going the opticians for 3 years because I had a severe twitch in my left eye and eventually they discovered my detached retina. I have seen a specialist who has told me because I have had it for so long I could continue the rest of my life and be absolutely fine or I could deteriorate? I am going back next month for a follow up and to determine whether I want surgery or not? What are the long term effects of leaving the retina unattached if on my next appointment there has been no change? I would really appreciate a response as I am really struggling to get any answers on the internet about chronic retinal detachment. Thank you

    • Randall Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 03:08h, 28 February Reply

      I personally feel that retinal detachments should be fixed as unattended retinal detachments can suddenly get worse and, with that, permanent vision loss. r

  • Cyrus Ramadhar
    Posted at 18:20h, 18 October Reply

    Hi dr Wong I’m 24 years old and recently had blunt trauma to my right .. 5 months ago and I went to doctors and they said they couldn’t do anything to it cause it had alot of blood.. I have no nlp and my eye shrunk and my eye disfigure… can I regain vision

    • Randall Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 21:48h, 09 May Reply

      Sorry for the delay, but if you have a chronic retinal detachment, the prognosis is not good.


  • Sydney Paris
    Posted at 13:36h, 31 October Reply

    Hi Dr. Wong, can a retinal detachment heal itself and not require an operation? I(21 years old) was diagnosed with a retinal detachment macula still on and was sent to emergency. However I got two different opinions. One specialist suggested to me I should get an operation and the other said I wouldn’t need one.

    • Randall Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 20:38h, 20 April Reply

      Hopefully, but now, you’ve become stable. I apologize for the delay in responding. r

  • Kathy Mcquain
    Posted at 06:17h, 19 November Reply

    My retina detached Sept15,2019 I had a fall and pierced my eye. I have had open globe surgery and my retina detached several days later I have seen doctors in Al and Ga and no one will attempt because of blood in my eye. Also because of no insurance I can not get help My doctor I am currently seeing. Wants to remove eye. I am filling out for assistance and have not been approved yet. I want this nite mare to end I am in horrible pain and feel like I don’t count Everyday that passes my eye becomes more deformed.

    • Randall Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 21:18h, 16 December Reply


      I wish you all the very best. I hope you have found some resolution and solution by now. Randy

  • Abu
    Posted at 05:11h, 15 January Reply

    Doctor is there any hope that phthisis bulbi can be cured in 5 years??

    • Randall Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 22:42h, 01 April Reply

      Not if the diagnosis is correct.


  • Yara
    Posted at 15:09h, 16 March Reply

    Dear Dr. Wong,

    My 3 year old son has a red right eye since a week now with series of headache only on the 3rd night of the red eye.. after that there were only occassional ones on and off..

    Anyway, we have been running door to door with our baby to fix it for over a week now and till now we have only an ultrasound and MRI scan report which is being used to convlude the matter.. the brain and orbit and optic nerve all normal.. however the right eye is showing a longstanding detached retina..

    The real reason and since when exactly is no one able to pin point.. as the baby has been a vert active and well developing baby with walking in 9 monnths and bicycling.. and climbing etc.. we have had series of tests on a very unco-operative and fedup 3 year old.. resulting on different assumptions .. and now since he had a slight squint at birth and it is longstanding detachment.. all the doctors have concluded that the eye is permanently blind and cannot be reversed..

    The sad part is that no one has really not examined the child properly till now as he has been very very unco-operative .. so the conclusion was based on the ultrasound image, and the not corrected squint ..

    They do not want to do the surgery to put the retina back in place inspite of us requesting it ..

    I am happy to see your article now which gives me hope that yes it needs to be put back in place .. and they would not agree to do so..

    Any guidance on this matter will be much appreciated..

    Thanks and best regards

    • Randall Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 22:13h, 01 April Reply

      Sorry for the delay. Please understand that I can not offer medical advice through this website. Please (and for others) listen to the advice of your own doctors/pediatricians.


  • Telvin Jamar Ardoin
    Posted at 12:55h, 06 April Reply

    I had a injury in my eye that caused a retinal detachment in my left eye it has been 2 years unattached and my eye is hurting and a slight lazy eye can i still get it attached to make it stop hurting or get it pulled out

    • Randall Wong, M.D.
      Posted at 20:28h, 20 April Reply

      You have to ask your own eye doctor, but a retinal detachment lasting for 2 years in the setting of an injury may be unlikely to be turned around.


  • Octavia
    Posted at 18:08h, 22 December Reply

    I have had a detached retina in my right eye for about 7 yrs and recently been seen by a retina specialist who’s given me a diagnosis of a total detachment and presence of scar tissues. They don’t want to do surgery for fear of my good eye going blind which I don’t completely understand. They feel I should just leave it and wear glasses to protect my good eye. I’m very insecure about it because my eye turns outward. I can see light and sometimes objects that pass through my field of light but I am constantly being discouraged from the surgery because it won’t benefit my vision. Should I push for the surgery or just give it up?

    • Mike Rosco
      Posted at 21:59h, 12 February Reply

      Hello there Octavia,

      Generally speaking, with retinal detachments, as more time passes, the less likely a retinal repair would be of benefit. I don’t know of many (if any) retina surgeons who would pursue this procedure after such an extended period of time. The goal at this point is to protect your seeing eye at all costs — I always advise patients such as yourself to grab a set of polycarbonate glasses to wear at all times. Maximum protection needed! Also, since there is minimal chance of vision returning AND you’ve noted that the eye turns outward, you must be aware that a chronic retinal detachment can also lead to the eye shrinking due to atrophy. This is called phthisis bulbi. There is no guarantee that will happen, but keep observant of the size and appearance of that eye. If you notice any changes, I would recommend a visit to your eye doctor for an examination.

      Thanks for taking the time to write in,

      Dr. Mike Rosco

  • Mia
    Posted at 15:47h, 29 January Reply

    Hi Dr. Wong
    I am 35yrs old and have just been diagnosed with retinal detachment at 50% and I am choosing not to undergo surgery due to so many failed stories. I didn’t experience the symptoms until a year ago while in my 3rd trimester pregnant. And it has gradually gotten worse over time(my macula is now detached). Could my condition be due to my preeclampsia diagnosed right after giving birth to my baby? I did gain more weight than normal during pregnancy which contributed to the preeclampsia. This came out of no where because I have no injuries and my nearsightedness is not that severe(it’s -5.25 in my eye).
    Also I wanted to add that my peripheral vision has always come and gone since I was 19yrs old. Just after pregnancy did it one become more permanent. I feel that when I regain my health back from my postpartum symptoms(including new irregular heart beat, new night sweats, new hot flashes, new irregular period) maybe some of my sight will come back as well.
    My doctor doesn’t seem to feel my retinal detachment is an emergency either. And has explained to me before I decide, that most likely my vision will not come back anyway and that he may have to do more surgeries. Therefore I feel since I’m going to lose my sight anyway, what is the purpose of doing the surgery?

    Also are there any natural herbs or vitamins that I can take to help with my general overall vision?
    Thanks so much!

    • Mike Rosco
      Posted at 21:38h, 12 February Reply

      Hello there Mia,

      Your myopia (nearsightedness), although not severe, does put you at a higher risk of retinal detachment. Based on my knowledge, preeclampsia would not likely cause a detachment.

      The decision of whether or not to pursue retinal repair surgery is strictly up to you and your doctor. It’s important to weigh all of the potential benefits as well as the risks and come to a decision with which you feel most comfortable.

      In terms of supplements to help with overall vision, as long as you eat a balanced diet, your eyes will be getting all of the nutrients they need.

      Hope this helps,

      Dr. Mike Rosco

  • Neil
    Posted at 13:05h, 22 February Reply

    My wife has lost her sight in the right eye totally and permanently following an infection with herpes zoster (probably following viral reactivation from covid vaccination) and now although the infection in her eye several weeks later still has as active infection (it is clear in the blood by IgM) as a weak positive, following weeks of intravenous drips and other therapies, she now has the prospect of retinal detachment which is seemingly imminent. The problem is that the infection has not yet cleared and so removing the intra-vitreal fluid but leaving an infected retina carries a risk too. Is it better to clearly get the infection to show two consecutive readings of negative results before considering proceeding with the retinal reattachment, or is the danger of retinal detachment even more problematic? At what point might it be worthy of consideration to remove the eye altogether if the prospects of permanent infection and reinfection and other issues – corneal cataravts etc – are significant?

    • Mike Rosco
      Posted at 01:11h, 05 March Reply

      Hello Neil,

      I am very sorry to hear about your wife’s condition.

      This is a very complicated situation and it is impossible for me to give advice without her being my patient and examining her. I think an important question to raise to the specialist is how likely a retinal repair will lead to the restoration of useful vision. From there, you can make decisions about the plan of action that is most appropriate for her.

      Also, do not be afraid of asking her eye doctor all of these questions – that is why they’re there!

      Mike Rosco, MD

  • Julie Mann
    Posted at 12:07h, 10 March Reply

    My husband’s detached in August, 2022. It was immediately reattached with the gas bubble/laser. It was successful and he has full sight back. Three months later his other retina detached. Again a successful operation and he has full sight back. Our doctor said that is caused through nothing more than genetics. My husband is 63. The doctor also says that both retinas are paper thin and there is a good chance the they will detach again and they can keep doing the surgerys. He has been feeling a tightness lately on the first eye from August. Is that normal? Also, with the thinness of the retinas, how many times could they be repaired? With only being 63, will blindness be in the future?

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