Torn Retina - Twice

Short version: this sucks, I just want to complain; have you had a retinal tear or detachment?

I am 54, in good health other than needing to lose weight. I wear eyeglasses which correct my vision to 20/15. Five weeks ago I had strange new floaters in one eye. After a few days there was a small spot far to one side that blocked what I could see there, and 3 days later that small spot was a little larger. My eye doc: you have a torn retina, a spontaneous tear not caused by anything you did. So a specialist fixed it with a pneumatic retinopexy with cryotherapy and SF6 gas.

A few days of lying down and holding my head in a specific orientation, it was easy. Mild pain and discomfort for a couple of days. One week after, all looked great at my follow up, and I am to take it easy and continue letting it heal.

Last week at my one month follow up, only when my pupil was dilated, did I notice a new blind spot off to a far side of my field of vision. He found it, a second tear. So last Wednesday night he did a vitrectomy with laser. More SF6 gas. Local anesthesia, outpatient surgery, I was back home in 3 hours.

My 1-day follow-up last week went well, but the eye has been sore for a week. Sometimes when I move my head it throbs badly. Tylenol helps just a little. But I don’t want anything stronger. I cannot see out of that eye at all – all I see are lighter areas and darker shady areas, all hazy. Are you holding up 2 fingers, or 3? Hell, I can’t even see your arm.

This sucks now, and I wanted to complain. Lucky you. :smiley: Yeah I’m being a bit of a wimp about it, I admit.

My 1-week follow-up is tomorrow morning. I’m pretty sure it will go well but I am here to whine like a baby and to say, this fucking sucks. I am also convinced that women are stronger than men. A lady would just deal with it. Here I am, whining. And my poor wife, bless her heart, has to put up with my shit.

Spontaneous retinal tears aren’t all that uncommon. Have you had the pleasure?

My wife has. Three operations, the final one involving them attaching a ring to the back of the eye to keep it from tearing again. I feel your pain, but it is rather amazing what they can do now.
She only spent one night in the hospital, and that was because the operation started late and went on so long that she wasn’t going to fully recover from the anesthesia until the middle of the night, and they didn’t want me driving her home 40 miles.
People, if you see anything like the OP experienced, get your ass to the doctor stat. The tear is easier to repair if it is small - not that you are guaranteed a quick fix. I had flashes in my eye and called for an appointment. They offered me one a few weeks out and I told them that they were seeing me NOW. Not a problem as it turned out, but you can never tell.

Bullitt, I’m sorry to hear about what you’re going through. I just dodged that particular … um … bullet.

I am 48 and currently going through posterior vitreous detachment in my left eye, where the membrane peels off. I got floaters and flashes, and I happened to talk to an office colleague who had had the same experience and put off treatment too long, until his retina tore. He went through two years of surgeries, including removal of cataracts whose growth had been jump-started by the retina repair procedure.

I hurried in to my optometrist, who told me that my high myopia puts me at risk for the retina tearing in the process of PVD. The optometrist immediately sent me to a retina specialist, where I was expecting some high-tech diagnostics (imagining that my head would be inserted into large machines, like some sort of futuristic bowling-ball cleaner). In reality, the retina specialist just used a handheld light and had me move my eyeball as far as possible in in all directions. My wife could have done that. Happily, in any event, my retina is unscathed and I am out of danger.

He told me that my other eye will go through PVD in the next year or two, and I will have to go back to see him again. I still have the floaters; it’s like I’m constantly seeing bugs wiggling in the corners of my vision.

Yes, definitely. I am the oldest of five siblings and that’s what I told the young’uns.

Sounds rather unpleasant, Bullitt; I think I’ll try and avoid that.

I appear to be susceptible to scratched corneas, as I’ve had 4-5 of them in the past 20 years. Not dangerous to sight, like your, but damnably irritating and uncomfortable all the same. I find that quite enough adventure for my home-grown optics.

Best hopes that this is the end of your problems.

I was about the same age when I had my first detachment. The insurance company wouldn’t let a retinal specialist see me before an ophthalmologist did, the ophthalmologist thought waiting three days for an appointment with a visual field defect was appropriate, three reattachment surgeries and an epiretinal membrane peel ensue, long story short, I haven’t seen anything out of that eye since the fall of 2012.

^^^ Oh Bill that is just terrible. Almost criminal behavior on their parts. I am sorry to hear it went that way.

Gratefully I was fortunate to have responsive docs. Here’s roughly how it went down, for tear #1:

0903: called my eye doc’s office. They open 0900, I kept dialing until I got a live person. Explain what’s happening.
0920: my doc calls back, we talk, he says come in right away.
1030: I am there. He looks and looks, doesn’t see the tear but is positive I have one. Referral to retinal specialist.
1330: I’m seen by the specialist. Not the one, but another specialist in that office. Doc #1 told me any doc in that office is good. He finds the tear, not easily, as it is small and way off to the side.
1700: I’m back at his office for the in-office procedure.
Next day: follow-up, all looks good.
1-wk later: all looks great, no restrictions other than no heavy weight lifting or physical exertion. I then leave on a 3-wk, 7,100-mile road trip.
1-mo later: follow-up, 2nd tear appears. Doc assures me that nothing I did caused that 2nd tear.
2-days after that: vitrectomy.

I am very grateful my docs were so responsive!

Again, Bill, I am very sorry to hear of your experience. If others can learn and avoid permanent damage, so much the better.