Overcoming and Recovery from Retinal Detachment

June 27, 2024

This article explains the warning signs of a detached retina and what to expect in recovery. A retinal tear needs emergency medical treatment to save the vision!

What Causes Retinal Detachment

The retina is a thin layer of tissue in the back of your eyes, responsible for receiving the images we see and sending them to the brain. A retinal detachment is a tear in the retina. It happens for one of these reasons:

  • Rhegmatogenous Retinal Detachment: In this situation, the retina tears, and fluids seep through the tear, leading it to detach. It can be caused by age, severe myopia, eye injuries, previous eye surgery, and family history.
  • Tractional Retinal Detachment: Occurs when scar tissue on the retina’s surface contracts, pulling the retina away from the back of the eye. It can be caused by diabetic retinopathy and inflammatory disorders.
  • Exudative Retinal Detachment: This occurs without a tear or break. Instead, fluid accumulates under the retina due to inflammatory diseases, tumors, such as ocular melanoma, and age-related macular degeneration.

The Warning Signs of a Detached Retina

If you have a small tear, you might not notice it at the beginning. The early symptoms may include sudden flashes of light, floaters (small bits of debris in the field of vision), a shadow or curtain over part of the visual field, or sudden vision loss.

It’s crucial to seek medical attention immediately to prevent blindness. Each case is different, but if not treated, it can happen as quickly as a few days.

What to Expect After Surgery for Retinal Tear

After surgery, you can expect mild discomfort and blurry vision. The recovery time for a detached retina can vary depending on the type of surgery, going from a few weeks to a few months.

How long do you have to stay face down after retina surgery? 

Many patients have heard or read on the internet that you must keep your head face down after surgery for retinal detachment surgery. While this may be true for some patients, it is not universal. Your specialist will talk with you about the best options for your specific condition. .

How long after detached retina surgery can you fly?

Avoid flying until the gas bubble used in the surgery is fully absorbed, which can take 6-8 weeks. Flying with a gas bubble in the eye can cause dangerous increases in intraocular pressure.

Can you watch TV or work on a computer after the surgery?

Watching TV and using the computer is generally safe, but avoid prolonged periods and take breaks every 20 minutes to prevent eye strain.

Is it OK to read after detached retina surgery?

It is safe to read in moderation. Use good lighting and take breaks to avoid eye strain.

The Do’s and Don’ts After Retinal Detachment Surgery

After the surgery, you should take some precautions. Here are some do’s and don’ts for the recovery time.

Don’t:

  • Engage in heavy lifting and strenuous activities
  • Bend over, which increases eye pressure
  • Participate in high-impact sports
  • Rub or press on the eye
  • Use tobacco products

Do:

  • Rest
  • Follow medical advice
  • Use prescribed medications
  • Maintain proper positioning If instructed
  • Use any protective eye coverings as instructed
  • Engage in light activities like gentle walking
  • Keep your hands clean to avoid introducing bacteria to your eye

Long-term Recommendations After Retinal Detachment Surgery

After the initial recovery period, certain practices should be continued to ensure your retina’s long-term health and stability. These recommendations include scheduled routine check-ups to monitor your retina’s health and overall eye condition.

Refrain from activities that could cause trauma to the eye, such as contact sports, and heavy lifting, or other activities that can increase intraocular pressure. To support overall eye health, maintain a balanced diet, avoid smoking, and stay hydrated.

Be careful about your eye vision! For this, choose professionals you can trust. If you are in the greater Baton Rouge area, make your appointment with Louisiana Retina

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