Avatar universal

Are retinal tears and detachments my new future?

Back in April 2018 I an emergency vitrectomy on my left eye (detached retina came on suddenly).  Successful surgery, but a cataract formed and will be removed in January.  I've been so hopeful about the possibility of seeing clearly again (with glasses)! But, pow!, yesterday I had emergency treatment for a retinal tear in my "good" right eye.  The retinal specialist used a laser to form scar tissue around the tear.  He said it was a large one even though the appointment started with the words "a small one."   It was a long procedure and I left feeling out of sorts with blurry vision, a red goopy eye, and an appointment for a check-up in one week.  This morning the soreness and swelling is down but I still see a large floater (the one that led me to have my eye checked).  I'm being treated at one of the nation's leading eye care centers too.  I guess my question is, at the age of 63, is this my new normal?  Will I now always have compromised sight and have to worry about tears and detachments?  In other words, all the fixing they're doing doesn't really mean my sight will be fixed?  I'm grateful for not going blind, but this is all so overwhelming and  I feel sick and hopeless.  Do you know that we had a popular television meteorologist commit suicide last week because of a botched lazik surgery she went through (not sure where it was done though)?  She was dealing with blurred vision and pain for three months beforehand.   I certainly understand her deep sadness and sense of hopelessness.  Being able to see is such a blessing.  I can't imagine what it would be like if both my eyes continued to be painful and blurry.  So... my question?  Is this my new normal?  And how do I know when there's a tear or a detachment if I've got floaters still?  And how do I find my hope again?  :-(     Thanks for listening...
2 Responses
Sort by: Helpful Oldest Newest
177275 tn?1511755244
First of all the woman in Minnesota that killed herself after LASIK did not do so because of the surgery or any alleged complication. She did so because of pathological mental health.  Lasik especially the type she had can take many months to heal.  Normal people don't commit suicide.  The increasing rate of suicide worldwide is a big problem but LASIK did not cause her death her mental health did. If you are having mental problems I urge you to be under the care of a psychiatrist.  

You will always be at increased risk of retinal detachment in your 'good eye'    The operation with laser does not do anything for the floater; the laser seals the tear.  The floater may drop out of sight, that would be the best result.  The symptoms that should be alarming: sudden increase of NEW floaters especially if hundreds of tiny black dots,  flashes of light like lightening in eye or loss of peripheral vision.

You also might want to wonder over to one of the mental health forums and post there.
Helpful - 0
Thank you, Dr. Hagan - Sorry my post was so long.  I regretted that as soon as I hit "post." Also, thank you for being here to answer our questions and read our posts.  You are a compassionate and caring doctor.   I am hopeful the floater will move along or I'll learn to ignore it.  And I will always be alert to changes in my vision.  Once I accept this as my "new normal" I'll learn to deal with it.  I'm alive and healthy for the most part, and that's what's important.  Wishing everyone in these forums a happy, healthy, new year.  
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you also. I've been in ophthalmology long enough to witness dramatic improvements in all facets of eye disease and injury.  Without these advances millions and millions would be blind.  The surgery done on your left eye was not even possible until  late 70's and early 80's when Dr. Robert Machamer an ophthalmologist at U of Miami Bascom Palmer Eye Institute developed vitreous surgery.   Cataract surgery used to be very high risk and took 6-12 months to heal.  Let's look at the glass as half full rather than empty.
Have a happy, healthy new year yourself too. Note that it might take 12 months or so for your final post-vitrectomy visual acuity to settle out in your LE.  Mine took at least 9-10 months, and was restored to pretty much normal following cataract surgery 18 months after it all began.
Thank you, both.  I do tend to look at that glass as being half empty, cracked, and with a smidge of lipstick on the rim.  The good news is that we can always fill empty glasses up again!  One thing I've learned with eye treatments... patience, patience, patience.  
Patience on earth, good will to mend.
Getting to grips with this mentally and learning to cope with worries about the future take time, particularly given the bias on support pages towards people who have had multiple surgeries and/or complications. I'm a little over two years from uncomplicated RD surgery and I was pretty paralysed with fear early on - Dr. Hagan will vouch for this. My retinal consultant played a large part in my psychological recovery as well as being an excellent surgeon. Her way of dealing with me was just to be so full of empathy and understanding that I ended up feeling I HAD to put all that kind, caring energy that had gone into rescuing my eye to the very best possible use from now on, rather than spending lots of time worrying about what might happen if the surgery failed at some future time.

I'm stable two years on, with vision identical to the way it was pre-detachment - a great outcome considering that I am a challenging case due to being aphakic (without lens) in both eyes. There is possibly an elevated risk to the other eye given the aphakia (although the RD eye did have more surgery in the past which might have partly accounted for the detachment), but it is still much more likely that I will go through the rest of my life with no further retinal problems in either eye.

Nobody ever knows what the future holds, but the main thing to remember (while of course remaining aware of the symptoms that are likely to occur in the event of future problems) is that most retinal operations are "one and done", and no further complications occur.
Thanks for your reassuring post.
I agree with my other friends that have posted here.   I had vitrectomy in both my eyes exactly a year to the day apart to address RD issues.  I won't go into all the details here but you are welcome to search through my posts.  I even invite you to correspond if you would like to do some sharing of experiences.  In any event, try not to be discouraged.  Live life like you always have.  Just be vigilant over any changes to your vision.  Remember that it takes time, lots of time, to heal as others have mentioned.  Patience is key.  Have a plan of what you will do in the event something abnormal comes up.  Just a note, I have a vacation home a few hours away.  I researched which eye md I would contact if I have an issue while there.  Do I feel something is impending....not at all.  I just feel better having a plan of action just in case.  

Happy Holidays to all!!   Jim
Tears in my eyes reading the additional posts from Jim and King.  Thank you all for your encouraging words of wisdom.  Without this forum and the good people who take time to respond and offer advice, I'd feel terribly alone.  If I could I'd buy you all a cup of cheer at the local pub!
Avatar universal
Update:  Cataract surgery on the eye that had a vitrectomy last year was successful (and definitely not as traumatic as a vitrectomy!). I'm currently in the early post-op phase (no lifting, wearing a patch at night, etc.), but so far so good. I found a pair of old glasses that allow me to see fairly well and I will be provided with a new eyeglass prescription in just four weeks! The floater in my other eye has calmed down as well.  Hopefully this is the end of retinal tears and detachments and that I'll move forward in life with decent eyesight again. Thank you all for being here!
Helpful - 0
Happy face.
Have an Answer?

You are reading content posted in the Eye Care Community

Top General Health Answerers
177275 tn?1511755244
Kansas City, MO
Avatar universal
Grand Prairie, TX
Avatar universal
San Diego, CA
Learn About Top Answerers
Didn't find the answer you were looking for?
Ask a question
Popular Resources
Discharge often isn't normal, and could mean an infection or an STD.
In this unique and fascinating report from Missouri Medicine, world-renowned expert Dr. Raymond Moody examines what really happens when we almost die.
Think a loved one may be experiencing hearing loss? Here are five warning signs to watch for.
When it comes to your health, timing is everything
We’ve got a crash course on metabolism basics.
Learn what you can do to avoid ski injury and other common winter sports injury.