Note: I received a good question asking why my head is up. I had just dressed to go home and the picture was snapped before I looked back down.
My first week of recovery, following vitrectomy surgery to repair a detached retina in my left eye, is over. I’ve been thinking a lot about how someone much older than I am, one of my parents, for instance, would deal with the recovery instructions, but more on this in a later post.
After the first 24 hours when I had stared down at the floor for most of the time, I spent four days lying on my right side for 45 – 50 minutes of every hour, dividing time between the bed and the couch. Actually I spent an extra half day on my right side, just to be sure. At bedtime I was able to sleep in my bed, also staying on my right. In this extended process, pillows of all shapes and sizes are good friends.
In each location my husband rigged up the laptop so that I could watch movies — I reviewed the last 30 years of Masterpiece Theatre’s “Upstairs Downstairs.” Overall the week went smoothly although I experienced some very sore muscles.
Despite the sore muscles, I know that I am fortunate as retinal surgery recovery goes. Many people need to lie on massage tables or chairs for long periods of time, even at night. and for more days than I required.
During the surgery my physician inserted a gas bubble in my eye. This bubble serves as a cast, holding the retina in place after the repair. The positions that a person maintains during recovery have to do with keeping the bubble’s pressure against the retina. During the month after my surgery the bubble will gradually decrease in size, but it will be around in some form for most of the month.
Early in the week, my left eye saw only shadows, but sometime late Thursday afternoon I became aware that when I moved my head in a certain direction, a strip of fairly clear eyesight appeared just above the bubble. By Saturday the bubble was approaching half of its former size, and I was seeing fairly well over the top of it. The bubble bounces around a lot.
At a followup appointment with the doctor on Monday morning — eight days post surgery — he told me that I am doing well and I can go back to work if I am careful. I can do no heavy lifting or exercise yet — those will be gradually added back in the next week or two.
This post is not a substitute for talking with a physician.
Read my other detached retina posts.
Do you want to share with other people who have experienced detached retinas? The retina posts here on AsOurParentsAge are descriptive in nature — and this is not a high-traffic blog where people can share experiences. If you seek a group with good conversation and support, check out and consider subscribing to the Detached Retina Group over at Yahoo.