Retinal detachment repair is performed when the retina is separated from the normal tissue that nourishes it. The retina is the light-sensitive tissue in the back of the eye that sends information through the optic nerve to the brain. Retinal detachment is an emergency that can cause permanent vision loss unless timely treated. Tiny holes and tears in the retina may be “welded” closed in an office procedure using laser energy or a freezing probe. Mild detachments may be repaired in an office procedure in which a bubble of gas is injected into the eye so it floats up against the hole. The bubble presses the retina back into place. Patients may have to remain face down for several days until the bubble dissolves. More advanced surgery in a hospital or outpatient center is required for severe detachments. Doctors may use a tiny synthetic band to push the eye wall against the detached area, or they may choose to perform a vitrectomy, in which the gel that fills the center of the eye is replaced by a gas that pushes the retina back into place. Natural fluid produced by the eye gradually replaces the gas. Treatments are successful 90% of the time, although the visual outcome is not always predictable.
UAB Ophthalmology has more than 25 physicians, many of them named among the top doctors in their fields nationally. They are renowned for their advances in eye care, breaking through old ways of treating blinding eye diseases and revolutionizing many areas of ophthalmology.
Ophthalmology care at UAB is located in UAB Callahan Eye Hospital, one of the busiest eye hospitals in the country, where specialists work together to treat complex cases. The UAB Callahan Eye Hospital surgical suite houses nine operating rooms dedicated to eye surgery as well as a 24/7 Eye emergency room, which is the region’s only Level I Ocular Trauma Center. More than 11,000 surgeries are performed at UAB Callahan Eye Hospital each year, and we conduct more reconstructive eye surgeries than any other facility in the world. Patients come from around the nation to be treated for eye conditions at UAB.
The UAB Center for Low Vision Rehabilitation works with patients to maximize vision and provides services such as orientation and mobility, occupational therapy, and support groups for patients dealing with vision loss or impairment.
Through ongoing research and clinical trials, UAB continues to make great strides in the field of ophthalmology. In addition to our physicians, we have a team of vision scientists who are fully dedicated to researching causes, preventions, and cures for eye diseases such as diabetic retinopathy, glaucoma, and macular degeneration. Many UAB ophthalmologists have received funding from prestigious research organizations and institutions and collaborate in clinical care to deliver the latest in scientific discovery to our patients.
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