Laser photocoagulation and cryopexy are used to fix tears in the retina and prevent a retinal detachment. These methods work well to treat certain retinal tears. But some people will need future treatment for a tear in another part of the retina.
You can usually receive these treatments in a doctor's office or an outpatient surgery centre. They do not require a hospital stay or general anesthesia. You may need to limit your activity for a couple of weeks after treatment.
In laser photocoagulation, an intense beam of light travels through the eye and makes tiny burns around the tear in the retina. Over several weeks the burns form scars that prevent fluid from getting under the retina.
Cryopexy achieves the same result by using a probe to freeze and seal the retina around the tear.
Both methods keep fluid in the middle of the eye from passing through the retinal tear. If fluid gets under the retina, the retina can detach from the wall of the eye.
If you need retinal detachment surgery and you have a torn retina, these same methods are used to seal the tear in the retina.
Current as of: December 18, 2019
Author: Healthwise Staff
Adam Husney MD - Family Medicine
Donald Sproule MDCM, CCFP - Family Medicine
Carol L. Karp MD - Ophthalmology