Cryotherapy for Retinal Tears and Detachment
Cryotherapy is a means of freezing the retina where a retinal tear has occurred. This keeps the retina stuck in its proper place inside of the eye. The cryo probe is placed on the outside of the eye over the area of the tear. The doctor uses a light mounted on his head and a lens held in his hand to check the position of the probe and make sure it is in the right place. The probe is turned on and a small area is frozen in a few seconds. You will notice a cold feeling in that area. Between 3 and 12 areas may need to be frozen to seal the tear. Cryotherapy is done on the front half of the eye where a laser cannot be used.
This treatment is done at the clinic. The vision in the eye is checked before the treatment and the eye is dilated. Numbing drops or an injection is placed into the tissue near the area of the treatment. The doctor may also put an antibiotic ointment in the eye after the treatment. This will make your vision blurry. No drops or ointment are needed after that. The eye takes about 10 days to heal. Please check with your doctor for physical restrictions. You can use Tylenol®, 2 tablets every 4 hours, if needed.
Some people have a cold feeling or “ice cream headache” during or after the treatment. Your vision may be slightly blurry for several days, and the eye may look red for the next few weeks. Please call the clinic at (608) 263-7171 if you have any concerns or other symptoms such as increase in floaters or loss of vision. After clinic hours, this number is transferred to the paging operator. Ask for the Eye Resident on-call. Give the operator your name and phone number with the area code. The doctor will call you back.
The information provided should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.
Last Updated: 12/08/2009
Copyright © 12/08/2009 University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#5098
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