Having Scleral Buckling Surgery

Three-quarter view of cross sectioned eye showing scleral buckle around outside of eyeball.Scleral buckling surgery is a type of eye surgery. It’s done to correct a detached retina. It can restore vision.

What to tell your healthcare provider

Tell your healthcare provider about all the medicines you take. This includes over-the-counter medicines such as ibuprofen. It also includes vitamins, herbs, and other supplements. And tell your healthcare provider if you:

  • Have had any recent changes in your health, such as an infection or fever

  • Are sensitive or allergic to any medicines, latex, tape, or anesthesia (local and general)

  • Are pregnant or think you may be pregnant

Tests before your surgery

You may need some exams before your procedure. Your doctor may use special tools to shine a light in your eye and look at your retina. You may need to have your eyes dilated for the eye exam. You also may have an ultrasound of your eye. This helps your doctor look at the detached retina.

Getting ready for your surgery

Talk with your healthcare provider about how to get ready for your procedure. You may need to stop taking some medicines before the procedure, such as blood thinners and aspirin. 

Also, make sure to:

  • Ask a family member or friend to take you home from the hospital. You can't drive yourself.

  • Follow any directions you are given for not eating or drinking before surgery.

  • You will be asked to sign a consent form that gives your permission to do the procedure. Read the form carefully. Ask questions if something is not clear.

On the day of your surgery

Talk with your eye surgeon about what to expect during your surgery. The details may vary. Your eye doctor will tell you what to expect during your procedure. A typical procedure goes like this:

  • You may get medicine (anesthesia) to put you to sleep. If this is the case, you will sleep deeply through the surgery. Or you may be awake during the surgery. You will get medicine to help you relax. In this case your eye care provider may use eye drops and injections to make sure you don’t feel anything.

  • Your eye care provider may give you eye drops to dilate your eye.

  • The surgeon will make a cut (incision) in the outer layer of your eye.

  • He or she will use an ophthalmoscope to view your retina.

  • The surgeon will use a device to seal  your retina back onto the inner wall of your eye. In most cases, the device uses extreme cold to do this.

  • The surgeon will put a very small band or buckle around the outside of your eyeball. This helps make sure that your retina stays in place.

  • The surgeon may drain fluid from.

  • He or she may put an antibiotic ointment on your eye. This is to help prevent infection.

  • A patch will be put over your eye.

After your surgery

Ask your eye care provider about what you should expect after your surgery. In most cases you will be able to go home the same day. Plan to have someone drive you home from the procedure.

Recovering at home

Be sure to follow your doctor’s instructions about eye care. You may need to use eye drops with antibiotics to help prevent infection. Your eye may be a little sore after the procedure. You should be able to take over-the-counter pain medicine. You may need to wear an eye patch for a day or so.

Follow-up care

You will need close follow-up care with your surgeon to see whether the surgery solved the problem. You may have a scheduled appointment the day after the procedure.

When to call your healthcare provider

Call your healthcare provider right away if you have any of these:

  • Your eyesight seems worse

  • Eye pain that doesn’t get better, or gets worse

  • Eye swelling that gets worse