Detached Retina/PVR Update: 14 Months Later With FAQ

The sketch of my retina with shading that represents the oil.

The sketch of my retina with shading that represents the oil.

Now it is 14 months after the fifth and, at this point, last surgery on my right retina. My eye, which has proliferative vitro retinopathy (PVR), is stable, though it has oil inside, which distorts my vision.

On a retina listserv that I read regularly, I’ve noticed that several people who have been through multiple surgeries on a single eye are wondering if — after all that looking down and lying in various positions — life ever gets back to normal.

The answer in my case is yes. I’ll explain and also answer a few questions below.

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Detached Retina-PVR: A Low Vision Specialist’s Huge Tape Tip

I’ve always thought of myself as a cup-half-full person. Just about any time that something hard or challenging occurs, I’m out there trying to help solve the problem or at least make things better. My continuing retinal detachments (a.k.a. proliferative vitreoretinopathy or PVR) together with oil that may never be removed from my eye, have challenged me.

My new glasses

My new glasses!

Following the fifth surgery in early December 2013 I’ve continued to feel frustrated, afraid, and helpless, not all at once, of course, but at various time and especially when double vision hampers my piano playing and writing activities.

During the winter months I began to feel a bit better. I made an appointment with a low vision specialist, an optometrist with advanced training in the treatment for people with sight limitations. Almost every eye clinic at a hospital or medical center has a low vision section. On the day in early February when I visited the specialist I entered the office feeling terribly sorry for myself, and within the hour I emerged feeling more positive and hopeful. Something wonderful happened at that appointment.

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Detached Retina: Understanding that My Eye Won’t Be the Same

Any time a person goes through a big change in life, a seminal event usually occurs to make that individual recognize that the change is becoming a normal part of life — permanent even. The  seminal event in my right eye detached retina saga occurred a few days ago at a regular appointment with my retina surgeon.

mountains to climbAfter my fifth vitrectomy I continued to be the “cockeyed optimist,” as Nellie Forbush, the dedicated South Pacific nurse, sang while World War II raged around her. You see, I kept thinking that if I just hoped enough or continued to wish for better sight to return in my right eye, it would eventually come back. After my appointment, however, I realized that this isn’t going to happen. My eye will improve, but it will not return to the condition that it was in after the first vitrectomy and cataract surgeries nearly a year ago when my sight was better than 20-20.

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Detached Retina: Another Vitrectomy Treating My PVR

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.


Click to read about epiretinal membranes @ the Mayo Clinic.

The 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).              Continue reading

Detached Retina – I’ve Got Oil in My Eye

The light shading in this image represents the oil. The macula is in the middle.

The shading in this image represents the oil.

This post is not a substitute for talking with your physician.

Since oil was put into my right eye to hold my retina in place for several months, I’ve been humming an old Sunday School song, “Give Me Oil in My Lamp,” last sung, by me anyway, some time ago. The only difference is that I’ve changed the words. (Listen to the original song here.)

I’ve got oil in my eye, keep me healing.
I’ve got oil in my eye, I pray.
I’ve got oil in my eye, keep me healing.
Keep me healing ’til the break of day.

In early August my surgeon put silicon oil in my right eye after the retina kept detaching due to a condition called proliferative vitreoretinopathy. The oil holds the retina in place for a longer period than any bubble can — right now it looks like the oil will remain for about four months — holding my retina firm and promoting the healing process.                Continue reading

Detached Retina Problems — Still Not Over

This post is not a substitute for consulting your physician.

Eye care is critical as we age, and retina health figures in prominently. I am aging some in-depth experience in retina treatments.

detached retina

From the ADAM Encyclopedia at NIH. Click to visit the page.

After a vitrectomy in each eye, I hoped that I was finished with retina problems. I was thrilled with my new vision after the cataracts — a side-effect of each vitrectomy — were removed and new lenses inserted. I even used the word coda in the title of my last post (see below). Sadly, it was not to be.

Just over three weeks ago I began to see new flashes. When this new flashing started, I was unperturbed, but after it continued for most of the morning, I called my retina specialists to schedule a visit. I’ve learned over the last couple of years to call the retina doc rather than wait around. Sure enough, they asked me to come in right away and discovered a small tear in a new location. The doctor treated the tear with the laser and told me to come back in two days so that my regular specialist could check. He checked, and my eye seemed to be OK, but within a few days I was seeing a shadow, a sign that the tear was getting bigger and the retina perhaps detaching.

So I returned to the hospital ambulatory surgery department to get another vitrectomy in my right eye. This time the bubble is longer lasting, part gas and part some type of oil, so three weeks after my surgery, it is still covers most of my vision. When I look through the bubble, I see impressionist images.

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