Retinal detachment repair typically requires one hour of operating time under local anesthesia at an outpatient surgery center.

The day of retinal detachment surgery starts much earlier though, beginning with the avoidance of all food and drink starting at midnight. The outpatient surgery center will set your arrival time approximately one hour prior to the start of surgery. It is important that you bring a driver along who can take you home after surgery and assist with immediate post-operative care.

After check-in, you will be taken to a pre-op area where your nurse and anesthesiologist take a short medical history. The correct eye is marked, an IV is started, and dilation and anti-bacterial drops are administered.

When your surgical time arrives, your retina specialist will perform a ‘time-out’ to confirm the correct patient, eye, and procedure. Next, you will receive propofol anesthesia through the IV, causing you to lose consciousness for approximately 5 minutes while the retinal surgeon injects local anesthesia around your eyeball.

Once you have woken from the propofol, you are wheeled into the operating room to have your eye cleaned with antibacterial soap prior to the procedure. Another time-out is performed and the surgeon places a drape over your face and upper body. The procedure progresses with you awake, comfortable, and breathing on your own. While many patients are nervous prior to their procedure, few actually require additional medication for anxiety during the case.

Following the 30-60 minute procedure, the surgical eye is patched and you are wheeled into post-op for a short recovery. Most patients are ready to meet with their transportation within 15 minutes of the completion of the case. The rest of the day is spent relaxing at home with minimal need for pain control. A post-operative visit will be scheduled in the retina clinic the next day, where the patch is removed and additional post-op instructions are given.