Scleral Buckles

Scleral Buckles

Our doctors are comfortable with and trained in the use of scleral buckles to help treat retinal detachments.

What is a scleral buckle?

A scleral buckle is an external piece of hardware—typically a small sponge or clear silicone sleeve—that is surgically placed around the outside of the eye to relieve internal tension that causes retinal tears and detachments. Similar to pulling a belt buckle tight around the waist, a scleral buckle decreases the diameter of the eye and reduces the forces that the vitreous gel exerts on the retina.

Is this temporary?

Typically scleral buckles are permanently placed around the eye. Many people have buckles for over 30 years! The buckle is well-covered and usually not visible to the casual bystander.

Is this painful?

These implants are placed in the operating room under the care of an anesthesiologist. The surgery is usually very well tolerated and associated with minimal pain. Post-operatively, you may notice bruising and soreness around the eye, but this typically resolves in 1-2 weeks.

What are the risks and side effects?

There are few risks specific to scleral buckles. Uncommonly, there can be a change in your refractive error after the surgery. In very rare cases, the buckle may need to be removed if there is an infection or the buckle becomes exposed. We will discuss the procedure with you and help to decide if a scleral buckle is the right choice for you.

What are the benefits? Who should get a scleral buckle?

One of the other forms of treatments for retinal detachments is a vitrectomy. This involves entering the eye, removing the vitreous gel, flattening the retina and using a laser or freeze treatment to create a scar. The downside of this treatment is almost universal development of a cataract within a year. Scleral buckles are placed on the outside of the eye. As such, the risk of cataract development is not elevated as it is with vitrectomy. Typically patients without evidence of cataract (such as younger patients) are the best candidates for scleral buckling procedures. Additionally, as the eye is not entered, positioning is not usually necessary after a scleral buckle.

This site uses cookies to optimize your experience, analyze traffic, and remember your preferences. Learn More