Retinal detachment itself is usually painless. Other symptoms will usually start to appear as soon as it happens, and may get worse the longer it’s left untreated.

You may notice:

  • Flashes of light in your vision
  • Floaters – little specks or a "rain cloud of tadpoles" in your vision
  • Blurred vision
  • A shadow which appears from the side of your vision and gradually spreads across it
  • A feeling like a transparent curtain is being gradually pulled over your vision
Healthy Vision Detached Retina

Healthy vision versus detached retina affected vision.

If you notice these symptoms appearing suddenly, it’s important to see an eye care professional as soon as possible. For the best outcome, retinal detachment needs to be managed as soon as possible.

Coastal Eye Surgeons can treat retinal detachment on an emergency basis – call us on 07 5616 0008 and explain your symptoms so we can give you an emergency appointment as soon as possible. You can also get a referral to us from a GP or optometrist.

Pupil dilation

Drops are put in your eye which cause the iris to relax, opening the pupil for a better view of the eye’s structures.

Intraocular pressure measurement

This helps rule out other conditions (such as glaucoma) and gives the surgeon a baseline figure to compare against after your procedure.

Macular Scans

A technique similar to ultrasound is used to make a 3D image of your eye, which allows a baseline of your macular involvement.

After the examination and scans Coastal Surgeons will tailor the treatment that is best suited to provide the best visual outcome for the individual.

Photocoagulation and cryotherapy

Photocoagulation and cryotherapy is used to "patch weld" around the area of the retinal tears, in order to ensure the break is contained and cannot result in further retinal detachment. 

Photocoagulation uses laser to do this, whereas cryotherapy does it using extreme cold.

Scleral buckling

Scleral buckling involves sewing a thin band of silicone or rubber around the sclera (the outside white part of the eye), which gently molds the sclera to a shape which guides the retina back into position.


A Vitrectomy involves draining the vitreous fluid from your eye and directly visualising the retinal tear and detachment.  The fluid that is causing the retina to "detach" is drained and the tear is generally lasered. 

The eye is then filled with air, gas or oil, which "tamponades" the retina against the sclera. 

Depending on the makeup of the bubble, you may need to position your head in a certain position after the surgery or have another procedure later to remove it.

Pneumatic retinopexy

Pneumatic retinopexy combines laser or cryotherapy to "weld" the retinal tear and an injection of generally gas, to press the retina back into position. 

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