I’ve just returned to the hospital for another surgery on my right eye. My retina condition has a name — proliferative vitreoretinopathy (PVR) — which basically means that, so far, my retina keeps detaching. When I last reported on my detached retina issues, I explained how oil was placed into my eye to hold the retina in place.
The silicone oil went in four months ago, and since that surgery, I’ve been reporting to my retina specialist on a regular basis, and he has been monitoring my condition. He is watching the development of epiretinal membranes (read about them at the Mayo Clinic site — 4th paragraph down), studying them through the oil at each visit. These membranes needed to be removed, because extra tissue puts pressure on my retina.
So today my surgeon performed a vitrectomy, going in through the oil and removing the scar tissue but leaving the oil in place. The plan is to watch the retina for another two or three months, let it continue to heal, and then remove the oil and see how my retina fares (yes, I’m crossing my fingers and toes, just in case it helps).
This is the first time, after five surgeries on this eye, that I did not know what the recovery drill would be after the operation. I think the doctor wanted to check my eye’s condition before he decided on a post vitrectomy protocol.
After surgery he spoke with my husband. I will need to sleep on my left or right sides, but I do not have to spend the entire day in that position. I will need to spend several hours (2-3 movies worth) per day looking down. And while I still cannot sleep on my back, a least this time I don’t have to sit hunched over with my head tucked down, staring at the floor for days and days. I am thankful for this small comfort and even more grateful for a patient and skilled surgeon.
With the uncertainty of whether the retina in my right eye will really heal or not, the coming months will be challenging.
This post is not a substitute for talking with your physician.
Hey Marti, firstly I’d like to thank ou for your posts, specifically about PVR as there seems to be so little about it on the internet.
How is your affected eye now? I have just been diagnosed with it myself in my left eye and have quite poor vision already in my right eye so it’s quite scary! Any thing else you could share in reference to your PVR would be very helpful and comforting. Thanks.
I’ve been thinking that it’s time for another PVR post, and I’ll get to it fairly soon.
Right now my affected eye is stable, but I worry quite a bit about it. Yes, it is frustrating that there is so little out there about this condition. I can certainly find scholarly articles in Pub Med, but it would be really great to discover other people and find out how they are coping/adjusting. I started writing because I wanted others to have a a series of descriptive pieces that tell what is happening. The two best adjustments that have happened to me (other than having really good surgeons) were going to a low vision optometrist and discovering really good quality (and decent looking) magnification glasses at the Peepers website (peeperspecs.com).
I hope you reach the stability stage fairly soon!
I am just 3 weeks out after surgery to reattach my retina. The gas bubble now covers about 50% of my eye and is best described like having my eyeball half full of water. As my head moves, the gas bubble sloshes around like water in a glass. I am starting to see above the bubble and everything looks so bright and clear. It makes me wonder if this is vision similar to what a young child experiences before aging pulls it’s dirty tricks on us. I followed dr orders to the T. Head facing the floor at least 55 minutes out if every hour and many days spending several hours without lifting my head. Not a painful surgery or recovery, but more of a frustration because not being able to get back to normal as soon as I’d like. Make sure you are seeing a retinal specialist with impeccable reputation before your surgery to repair. Since I’ve had the surgery I’ve heard several horror stories about this surgery…black eyes, having to sit on their hands during surgery, extreme pain. Shocking to hear. if you live anywhere Lincoln NE, run to Sutton Eye Clinic….my surgery was done by Dr. David Pan. He was awesome and had great bedside manner. Very happy and would send my kids there if ever necessary.
I just had my pvr surgery this past Tueaday. Developed scar tissue after my first retinal detachment. I am so so scared. Has anyone out there ended up with a somewhat normal vision. Has anyone had scar tissue stop growing? Any answers would be appreciated.
Hi Annie, I hope you are doing better. PVR was/is scary for me, too. Keep focusing on getting better, and never hesitate to ask your surgeon any question that you have. I wish there were some place where people with PVR could share experiences — out experiences seem to come out of nowhere — but right now there is not. That’s why I decided to describe and share my experience.
Hi Marti, thanks for your posts on this terrible thing. I had my 2nd surgery 6 weeks ago which was a scleral buckle. My doctor said I did develop scar tissue on my retina but we’re hoping the buckle placed enough distance between the tissue to keep my retina in place. He said there is a 50/50 chance it could redetach again and if it happens we’re looking at mid to late June. I pray every day twice a day this won’t happen and I won’t have to go through another surgery. It seems like my eye is healing more and more every day and it’s so disappointing to think all this healing can mean nothing if it redetaches again. I wish there were more success stories out there regarding this.
I agree that it feels like we are fighting an uphill battle. After my right eye detached several times as a result of scarring and quite a few surgeries later I ended up with pretty poor sight in one eye, I felt like my world was crashing down around me. But resilience is programmed into all of us — sometimes where we don’t even know it, as my mom often said when I was growing up. Each day, in the midst of prayers for my eyes, I also remembered the things that I am grateful to have, and I kept them front and center. I knew that there would be a certain amount of accommodation that I’d need to make, so I’ve tried to keep it in perspective and get on with life. Do I wish I had two healthy eyes — yes — but I am trying hard not to let it get me down.
Our eye surgeons are heroes, even though they cannot wave magic wands and make our sight work perfectly. In the “olden days” people went completely blind with detached retinas, and that is not the case anymore. We certainly can’t control our bodies al the times as much as we’d like to. As frustrating as the news is from your physician, try to think of him/her as a supporter who wants to do everything possible to help you get through the difficult time (in my case nearly two years). When one eye has a problem the other they monitored it along with the other eye — in my case every four months. And lots of research is going on…
Hi again Marti, well it redetached. I have to go back for more surgery on Monday. I am so depressed. Is blindness inevitable with this PVR thing or are there ever successful outcomes?