Detached Retina: Bubbles, Bracelets, and Sunglasses

Three weeks after the vitrectomy for a detached retina I see well out of my left eye. I mostly knew that my sight was returning after the first week of recovery, but other individuals with a detached retina may take much longer to know for sure. The concern about infection, less and less after that first week, kept me on edge for the first few weeks.

I’ll need to wear this for a bit longer.

The gas bubble gradually decreased in size after the first week. By the end of the second week it was barely visible, but I could detect it bouncing around in my eye. When the bubble started moving around a bit, at first I thought it was a tiny shadow or floater. When I called the surgeon, he reassured me that without any other symptoms I was just fine.

I gather that the bubble may still remain around and that my eye is still vulnerable because I have to wear the bracelet for a bit longer and I cannot fly for 30 days after the surgery. I’ll ask more about this.

Other restrictions include continuing to sleep on my right side as much as possible and never sleeping on my back until the doctor tells me that I can. I still use some eye drops, and I wear a huge pair of Solar Shield wrap-around sunglasses. (These sunglasses are so good, I may buy a second pair.) Moreover, I still cannot lift things — just about anything from the vacuum cleaner to my five-pound weights to those much-loved planters, now overflowing in the sunroom and more than ready to be toted outside to the deck. A big thanks to my husband for all of the help.             

It’s easy to comply with all of these requirements, given that my eye is now repaired and I have good sight. I may need to go to my ophthalmologist and get updated eyeglass and contact lens prescriptions.

I return to the surgeon for a checkup on May 21st, one month and three days after the surgery.  The standard post retinal surgical check-up schedule seems to be one day, one week, and one month.  After that, I’ll check in with the the retinal specialists every three months. If one eye has this problem, the second eye is at risk.

Note to readers: If you have new eye floaters, more than occasional flashes, decreased sight, or shadows that pop in and out of your eye, the signs are urgent. Don’t wait over night to hope the situation will clear up on its own. Call your ophthalmologist and get to a retinal specialist.

Don’t be embarrassed if you don’t have a problem and it doesn’t turn out to be urgent. The first few times I called it about these symptoms I just had pesky floaters and flashes. This time it was an emergency.

My posts are not a substitute for talking to a physician.
Read my other detached retina blog posts.

3 thoughts on “Detached Retina: Bubbles, Bracelets, and Sunglasses

  1. Pingback: And There Was Sight! A Coda for Retina and Cataract Issues « As Our Parents Age

  2. Hi
    Quick question. When you say shadows that pop up, what so you mean? I have a partial detachment in right eye that was lasered and I am always stressed looking for floaters, flashes, I see occasional darker cloud that goes through field of vision quickly and leaves. Is that a shadow?


    • Well the first recommendation is to go back to your doctor, as often as you need to, until you feel confident about what to look for in your eye. That’s what I did. I have floaters from time to time, but not flashes or shadows (which would send me straight to my physician’s office). My doc suggested I think of a snow globe when it comes to floaters. If an occasional floater shows up I don’t worry. However if suddenly there were more of them, in the same way a snow globe is slightly shaken up, then I’d want to go in right away. I’ve found that retina physicians have unlimited patience when it comes to their patients’ recoveries.


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