1. What are floaters?
2. If I have Macular Degeneration, will I go blind?
3. Is laser treatment the same as surgery?
4. Do you remove my eye to perform surgery?
5. Where is retinal surgery carried out?
6. Does a retinal tear mean I have a detached retina?
7. Is it necessary to take time off of work after laser treatment?
8. What can I do after surgery?
9. Will Dr. Uniat do the surgery herself?
Floaters can be caused by a number of conditions, such as inflammation or bleeding, but they are most commonly caused by an aging process of the vitreous of gel within the eye. As the gel ages, it liquefies and the protein and collagen form strings and fibers which now float within the liquid portion, and create the “floaters”. They do not themselves cause any problems apart from becoming a nuisance when they first occur. Generally with time they do tend to settle.
One never goes blind as a result of macular degeneration. In both the wet and dry types of AMD, while the central vision is lost or compromised, the peripheral vision is maintained.
Laser, as used in retinal diseases, is an office procedure and is used to seal retinal holes or tears or bleeding blood vessels. It involves a very intense light, which creates some inflammation of the structure being treated and eventually creates a scar.
When surgery is performed, it usually means entering the eye with instruments and working in a sterile operating room.
The eye stays in place when surgery is performed. To remove the eye, it would be necessary to sever large and small nerves and muscles which could not be reconnected. Vision would therefore be completely lost.
Surgery is done through an operating microscope and instruments are inserted into the eye, but the eye remains in its' natural position.
All retinal surgery in Northern Alberta is performed in the Ophthalmology Operating Theatres at the Royal Alexandra Hospital. The nurses and technical staff are very experienced and dedicated to this surgical specialty. This committed staff also works on a call schedule for 24 hour availability.
A retinal tear means that a hole — or opening — has developed in the inner lining of the eye. It is only when the fluid within the eye seeps through and lifts the retina that a detachment occurs. A tear can be sealed with laser treatment, but a detachment usually requires surgery.
Other than the day of treatment, laser treatment does not require time off work. The discomfort is mild and short-lived.
Because of the delicate nature of the tissue, activity after surgery is limited. Dr. Uniat discusses this on an individual basis with each patient.
Dr. Uniat will do the surgery. However, as she is Associate Clinical Professor with the teaching program through the University of Alberta, ophthalmology residents will periodically be involved in observing the surgery.