VITREORETINAL SURGERY

Hi, I'm a total newbie here. Over a year ago I went to my gp about squiggles in my left eye. Without examining me he said it was a "detached lens"! Even I knew that was not true. Squiggles went. In February I had like a negative image of my iris with flash photography in my other eye (right). This went on longer and I made an appt with another gp. She referred to local DGH who said there was a tear in my retinal wall and a macular hole (both eyes). I was referred to an eye hosp. in Brighton who said I needed the above surgery asap (right eye only as left hole now closed by itself). 9 weeks later I am due to have the vitreous jelly removed from right eye from various incisions, a gas bubble inserted, and tiny stitches put in. At pre-op 3 days ago I was told that I would have to be bent over face down for 5 days, even at night. I have spinal stonosis and OA in spine and OA and arthopathy in feet, OA in knees, feet, hip, neck and shoulder. I don't know how I am going to cope. As I was left to think initially by my gp that this was not serious so much time has gone by before getting appt for operation that after over a year is not apparently going to work terribly well as if I had had it six months ago. I am so angry at my idiot gp and the delay in getting op. I am really afraid to have this op and with all the pain I'm in anyway, I don't know how feasible it will be for me to be bent over all the time. I realise this is vital to the success of the outcome but would like to know how others have coped with having this op and it's aftermath. I would appreciate any and all advice you may give me. Thank you in advance.

22 Replies

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  • My son's mother in law had this and managed quite well- her sight is fine now and she had a hole in he macula both eyes- she is just slightly sensitive to bright sunlight .

    I think you need to talk to the hospital about the positioning. It may be they have some equipment that can support you while lying in the correct way.

    Hope all goes well Good luck!

  • Hi rosyG. Thanks for your reply. I believe there is a frame I may be able to borrow which could help me especially during day. The problems even with it will be at night I fear. I think I am just going to stay awake the whole time if I can manage it - I suffer with insomnia so piece of cake! It requires you to sleep on your front which is not poss for me. Thank you for your advice on posture problem and I'm pleased for son's mother-in-law.

  • I'm wondering if there is a frame which allows you to sleep face down- it would need spaces in the right place but it's worth asking the hospital about as they must have come across this??

    I do hope it goes well for you

  • Thank you.

  • I used a travel kneck cushion to put my head on. it worked fine and protected the eye.

  • try a travel kneck cushion to put your head on

  • Due to the expense of hiring equipment which I cannot afford I shall have to use a memory foam horseshoe neck cushion and hope for the best. Thank you for your suggestion.

  • Sadly hospitals no longer lend this equipment and you have to hire it privately. Too expensive for me but will try other suggestions.

  • Masseurs use a table with a hole for the face which I know people have used successfully although I appreciate you have a problem lying prone.

    I was booked for a vitrectomy several years ago but in the event it was not needed. I too was worried about "posturing" which is the name given for the face down régime but was assured that the method used at St Paul's Eye Unit in Liverpool did not require posturing. Liverpool generally use water and air to replace the vitreous. You could contact the clinic to ask if they have an alternative procedure available.

  • Sadly posturing is the only option available down here. Pleased that you didn't need it. Thank you.

  • Dear lana59,

    I am sorry to read of your current concerns.

    Have the hospital discussed posturing equipment with you? It would be worth you ringing Face-Down Support Hire for a discussion. They supply posturing equipment to individuals post vitrectomy. Their contact number is:

    0845 017 0533

    Please ring us on the Macular Society helpline for further discussion. Our helpline is open 9am – 5pm Monday to Friday on 0300 3030 111.

    Just to make you aware, we are currently offering free 6 month membership. This is a good way to keep up with current developments. Please also ring us if you would like to benefit from this, or join via the following link:

    macularsociety.org/6months

    Kind regards,

  • I used a travel kneck cushion it worked well day and night.

  • Hi jings03. I am prepared to use neck pillow but it is essential that I'm totally face down and it probably won't be deep enough. Heads weigh 10lbs approx. I think I will have to hire the head support (@£70) for daytime and Head and body support for night (£130)! I will buy a neck pillow anyway though and thank you for your suggestion. Worth a try. Thank you.

  • Hi good luck. I hear that this type of surgery has very good prospects. However you need to ensure everything is sterile enough to avoid infection. Do this yourself and never have your dressing touched by anyone but an experienced nurse. One person in Brighton lost eye sight after a very successful operation like this because it got infected.

  • Thank you Millie. As I'm having op at Brighton I shall certainly make sure she/he knows what they are doing. Many thanks. Lana.

  • Hi Iana59

    I have only just read you message so please excuse this late reply.

    I had this op VMT 2yrs ago this coming march, so I

    Understand how you are feeling, I was so shocked when I was told that I would have to have this eye op to try and close the hole at back of eye, but they did try a injection treatment first, but this didn't work (was told that's no longer avalible now) so had op done at Newcastle hospital where I was so well looked after, I too was very concerned about having this done, and having to do the posturing which I had to do for 2wks after op

    As like you I have problems with my bones and a bad back,

    I was told to keep my head down with my bad eye pressed on a pillow on a table, either sitting, or laying in bed on tummy which I really couldn't do with my bad back, So I found it better for ME to lay across my bed with my head down to one side, my hubby got me lots of audio books to listern to, which did help alot, you have a break every hour for 10mins to go to the loo ect, but you really must do this posturing for 2wks to allow this gas thats put in to help push the retina back and to try and close this hole. I did find this posturing very differcult but kept telling myself if I didn't It wouldn't help me or the hole to close. So I did, just kept telling myself .. "I really dont want to lose my sight in this eye".🙈

    So I truly understand what you are saying and how you are feeling, and will end by telling you it was Sooo worth it, my eye is Much better but have been told will always be weaker than my right but I can live with this. and glad I was able to get this done.😉

    Wishing you all the very best, hope it all goes well for you... please let us know how you get on.

    Sending you a big hug.🙅 Jeanie

  • Hi jeaniep. Had op 2 weeks ago now. I was told to posture for 3 days only! Well I doubled that for starters. Went back to hospital last Wednesday where they took a scan but they were unable to see if successful due to eye being 70% still gas! Told to go back in a month. Told the doctor I had pain in eye which was getting worse/and headaches but he did not say a word. If it gets worse I'll probably have to get onto 111 as gp not much cop. So pleased yours was successful. I can now see a little above the gas bubble which is something.

  • Hi Iana59

    Glad you have now had your eye op, surprised to hear you say they told you to posture for only 3 days! but glad you made that longer, did the Doctor at your hospital explain about the gas, I was told by my Doctor that the gas takes 8 weeks to disperse naturally from your body.

    I so feel for you Ian, I remember so well when you say you can now see a little above gas bubble, I felt at times it was like trying to look through a fish bowl, but before you know it you are seeing well above gas bubble. you say you are having pain in your eye and headaches you are still putting eye drops in I take it?, and taking tablets for your headaches? I found putting a cold flannel across my forehead helped. It will get better Ian I know it doesn't seem like it to you at the moment. Hope it helps you to know you can always talk about it.

    Take care and please keep in touch.

    kind regards Jeanie

  • Thanks Jeanie. No, I was not told that gas took 8 weeks to disperse. I will try the cold compresses and still taking the drops - dribbling down my face as still not got hang of portion control! Lana.

  • Hi, Iana59,

    I was due to have the same treatment but after long talks with my consultant and emailing him with my fears about my ability to stay 'in posture' for 24 hours (that's all I was being asked to do), he decided it wasn't worth it in my case as if I couldn't hold the posture for the period concerned, it would be better to go for the injections despite them not offering such a good result. I just knew I couldn't physically do this, so maybe write it all out for your consultant and let him read it at a slower pace.

  • Hi maritravel. I was asked to posture for 3 days although I know many are asked to posture for 2 weeks! I managed a few days more but it was hellish. If you are riddled with arthritis or any msk pain, posturing is very difficult to do. I was not offered the option of injections, it had been left too long before I was diagnosed. I do know that my gp didn't refer me to a consultant when I first saw him so it was a long time before a macular hole was diagnosed. The op did close the hole but I still cannot see through the centre of my eye and there are still distortions, although I must say that it is better than it was. I cannot emphasise too strongly how important it is to see your gp immediately you suspect an eye problem, and if you are not immediately referred, get a second opinion. Time is of the essence. I hope the injections work for you. All best wishes, Lana.

  • Hi Iana, I had a vitrectomy for a macular hole about 4 months ago, and had to do the "face-down for a week. I was lucky enough to borrow a massage/ tattoo bench - which was a great help, but it was still quite a trial to get through it - I don't think you realise how heavy your head is, until you have to support it like that, for long periods!

    The op was a success, and I was told about how long the black "bubble" would last, so I ended up making myself an eye patch, since it was so disconcerting having it bobbing around in my vision for weeks.

    Have you been told to expect a cataract to form, as a result of the surgery? It seems as if this is quite inevitable, and am about to have my cataract surgery done this week, which is a relief, since my vision is now pretty blurry.

    If you have vision issues, I suggest you ask them to check you for cataracts.

    Best wishes.

    Penny

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