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HF 5098

Cryotherapy for Retinal Tears and Detachment

Cryotherapy is a way to freeze the retina where there is a retinal tear. This keeps the retina attached in its proper place inside the eye. The cryoprobe 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. 

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The probe is turned on and a small area is frozen in a few seconds. You will notice a cold feeling in that area. Your doctor may need to freeze multiple areas to seal the tear. Cryotherapy is done on the front half of the retina where a laser cannot be used.

We do this treatment at the clinic. The vision in the eye is checked before the treatment and the eye is dilated. We place numbing drops or an injection 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 for a short time. You do not need any drops or ointment after that. The eye takes about 10 days to heal. Please check with your doctor for physical restrictions. You can use Tylenol®, if needed.

Some people have a cold feeling or “ice cream headache” during or after the treatment. Your vision may be slightly blurry for a few days, and the eye may look red for the next few weeks. Please call the clinic if you have any concerns or other symptoms such as an increase in floaters or loss of vision. 

Phone Numbers

University Station Eye Clinic, 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday through Friday (608) 263-7171.

Please call if you have any questions or concerns.

When the clinic is closed, your call will be sent to the hospital paging operator. Ask for the “Eye Doctor on Call”. Give the operator your name and phone number with area code. The doctor will call you back.

If you live out of the area, call 1-800-323-8942 and ask to be transferred to the Eye Clinic phone number.

If you are a patient receiving care at UnityPoint – Meriter, Swedish American or a health system outside of UW Health, please use the phone numbers provided in your discharge instructions for any questions or concerns.