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Retinal conditions

The retina is a fine sheet of nerve tissue lining the inside of the eye. Rays of light which enter the eye are focused onto the retina by the cornea and the lens. The retina then produces a picture which is sent along the optic nerve for the brain to interpret. The eye and the brain together produce the images that we see.

There are many different types of retinal surgery that may be carried at the eye inpatients and eye surgery department. You may also be seen at one of the eye outpatient clinics.

Common conditions and treatments include:

Retinal detachment

This condition often happens in eyes where the retina has been weakened by a hole or a tear. Fluid can then seep under the retina, weakening the attachment so that the retina becomes detached.

This causes vision to become blurred and dim.

Early care can just involve laser or freezing treatment performed under local anaesthetic. However, an operation usually under local anaesthetic may be needed to repair the hole or reattach the retina.


This involves removing some of the vitreous jelly within the eye for a variety of reasons. Most commonly it is carried out for bleeding (haemorrhage) in diabetes, or as a result of retinal detachment. If the jelly is replaced by gas or oil you may need to posture (have your head positioned in a specific way) sometimes for up to two weeks after the operation.

Diabetic retinopathy

This is when diabetes affects the small blood vessels in your retina, and if not treated it can affect your vision. People with diabetes are offered regular photographic screening to detect the condition. You may attend our regular diabetic eye clinics which are held at local health centres around the local area, or you may be referred to the outpatients department for further investigation or treatment.