The vision correction and eye care center of The Retina Group of Washington will give you the best possible care to keep your eyes healthy and strong. Our retina specialists in Chevy Chase believe that clear, comfortable vision is your right and your priority. Many of our patients have come to us for retinal surgery and treatment for retinal detachment in particular. Our physicians are trained to provide the latest in-office procedures to treat a wide variety of retinal conditions, including cryotherapy.
“Cryo” refers to “freezing”. Cryotherapy involves placing a very cold metal probe against the wall of the eye so that all of the eye’s layers are frozen, including the retina that lines the inside of the eye. Cryotherapy creates an adhesive scar that seals the retina against the wall of the eye. The effect of cryotherapy (the adhesive scar) is similar to laser treatment, but the treatment effect is accomplished using cold rather than heat. Cryotherapy is used by our retina specialists in Chevy Chase most often to treat retinal tears. The retina surrounding the tear is frozen, creating an adhesive scar around the tear that is quite similar to the scar created by a laser. It is used in a similar manner as part of pneumatic retinopexy or scleral buckling for treatment of retinal detachments. First, the eye is numbed. After the eye is appropriately numbed, the doctor uses a head light and a lens to look into the eye so the freezing probe can be placed in the correct position, immediately adjacent to the retinal tear. The retina surrounding the tear is frozen, usually with several separate “freezes”. Since both cryotherapy and laser treatment accomplish the same treatment effect, which method that is used is largely a matter of personal preference for the doctor and the patient. Both methods take approximately the same amount of time (roughly 15 minutes, depending on the number and size of the tears) and are similarly comfortable. Retinal tears sometimes cause bleeding inside the eye that might block the laser beam from reaching the retina. In such a case, cryotherapy is preferred, as it freezes “from the outside in” and therefore is not impeded by blood inside the eye.
If you would like to learn more about the treatment options available from our retina specialists in Chevy Chase, we highly recommend that you visit our practice’s main website to browse through some additional, detailed information that you might find useful. If you have any specific questions or concerns about retinal and macular health that we can help you with, or if you’re interested in cryotherapy, please do not hesitate to contact the staff here directly. We look forward to working with you and assisting you in all your eye-care needs.