Retinal Detachments

Retinal Detachments  - Post Operative Correction with Contact Lenses

Retinal detachment of the eye occurs when the retinal layer of the back of the eye breaks free from the back wall of the eye. 

The surgical procedure to correct the detachment may involve a scleral buckle. The scleral buckle acts like a belt around the eye allowing the detached retina to reattach. The pressure of the buckle causes the eye to elongate and the prescription changes quite dramatically. The increase in minus prescription can often be more than -4.00 diopters. Wearing of eyeglasses is prohibitive due to Aniseikonia - A visual defect in which the shape and size of an ocular image differ in the two eyes due to uneven prescriptions between the right and left eyes. The resulting magnification error is minimized with a proper contact lens fitting for eyes.

In some instances of retinal detachment the center vision can be affected and be not as clear as the good eye. It is still very important to correct with proper contact lenses to restore Stereopsis - The ability to see objects in three dimension. Many times post operatively, patients may only have partial vision across the retina. It has been clinical noted that even partial sited eyes can add quite a lot to the capacity of seeing in three dimension. Lack of three dimensional viewing is very debilitating to many patients following a retinal detachment.

Visual Distortions
Some rare cases of retinal detachments followed by numerous laser treatments can cause severe visual disturbances called Metamorphopsia. Metamorphopsia - a defect of vision in which objects appear to be wavy and or distorted typically resulting from a defect in the retina. There are no lenses that will correct the visual distortions of Metamorphopsia. In some circumstances, the patient can be more comfortable blocking the vision of the impaired eye as to not affect the good eye. A special contact lens blocking vision from entering the pupil can be manufactured.


Following retinal detachment surgery with scleral buckle, everyday events like driving a car and playing sports can be greatly affected. If the patient had three dimensional viewing prior the surgery, correction of the eyes with special contact lenses can be done at any time. Some patients have experienced return of three dimensional capacity even years after retinal surgery. Contact lenses can alleviate the difficulty in producing stereo vision where eyeglasses are insufficient. 

Metamorphopsia can be very debilitating. A contact lens blocking light from entering through the affected eyes pupil can give great comfort to the patient.