I did promise to give an update after my vitrectomy last month, but didn’t want to jinx my recovery! Anyway, all seems to have gone well, so here goes:
After the operation, I was patched up (see the fetching picture below), given three loads of eye drops with instructions to apply them four times a day for a month, and was told to come back to the hospital the next morning.
(one hour after being discharged)
So the next day, the patch was removed, and the sight in my right eye was blurry – I can only compare it to swimming underwater with your eyes open. Everything was out of focus and I could only see indistinct shapes. Luckily, the nurse assured me this was perfectly normal! I had a bit of a shock next time I looked in the mirror – my eye was swollen, and completely bloodshot: but, once I’d put my rational head on, that made perfect sense, given that I’d had needles and injections stuck into it less than 24 hours beforehand.
After a vitrectomy, patients are instructed to undergo ‘posturing’. This may sound like walking round with a bit of an attitude, but it involves making sure your head is still and in one particular position. This is to ensure the bubble of gas which is keeping the retina in place while it reattaches stays in position. Lots of people are told to keep their head down for the majority of the day, and to sleep on their front. I was dreading this.
Luckily, my surgeon recommended that I just sit with my head upright, and to sleep on my right hand side. To stop myself turning over in my sleep, I put a wall of pillows against my back, so if I was to turn over, this should wake me up and remind me to stay on my right hand side. During the day, I listened to a lot of radio, podcasts and music – reading books wasn’t an option and watching TV was possible although as I usually had to watch with one eye closed, then that became a pain.
After a few days, I noticed a little line appear at the top of my eye – it was a bit like the line you see on a spirit level, and there was clear vision above this line. Over the next few days, this line dropped gradually. About a week after the operation, the line was down to about halfway, and then after approximately two weeks, it suddenly turned into a little circle. On Saturday 10th March, sixteen days after the operation, the circle had disappeared which means the gas had eventually dispersed.
Now, my eye still aches a little bit but my vision is completely back to normal and the ‘blind spot’ which persuaded me to go to the opticians in the first place has disappeared. I have one more appointment due at the hospital at the end of April – I’ve been told that it’s more than likely I will develop cataracts within the next 12 months (it’s a common side effect of this operation), and will have to have surgery for that, but that is a relatively minor procedure.
Plus, it will make good content for a future blog!