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I am 50 years old and have had a scleral buckle surgery a month ago and a vitrectomy with oil 2 weeks.  Retina detached due to 3 tears.  The surgery was done to my left eye and the vision in the affected eye is not very good.  I had 20/20 before the surgery and now with just my left eye I can make out general details but there is no fine detail at all.  Reading with the left is not possible.  My right eye hurts due to the strain, I have headaches although they are controllable with Tylenol and my night vision is not good at all.  My surgeon doesn't seem to be too concerned but I am really scared.  Losing my eyesight even in one eye puts me in the unemployment line.  I can't seem to get a straight answer on what is the recovery process and what is "normal".  Any feedback on the recovery process and what an average sight recovery at this stage in the process is would be deeply appreciated.  I know everyone is different and no 2 cases are the same, but this just does not seem to be right.
I recommend a second opinion with another retina specialist in your area. Sorry this has been difficult and scary for you.
Timothy D. McGarity, M.D.
Hi bassetdriver

It sounds like you are going through the normal recovery process for RD.  You should be closely monitored by your doctor during the healing stage.
if your doctor is a experienced, reputable has performed many RD surgery, he probably knows what he is doing and not be overly worried of the outcome.  I recall having the same concerns as you about losing my vision and loss of employment.

it has been over 5 years since my retinal surgery with scelra buckle and oil to repair a retina tear in my right eye.

At the early stages of the oil and scleral buckle treatment, most likely you will not see very well.  I recall seeing a blue tinted colored vision and lot of lfoaters.  I had to rely on the good left eye. I also had difficult time with eye strain and headaches.  Most of the time I closed my eyes and rested and tried not to strain my eyes unnecessarily.  after about 3 months the surgery incisions should heal and the vision should clear up. by then you see little better than now.  The oil will actually temporarily improve your vision due to refraction.  Around 6 months time, your doctor will extract the oil and replace it with a saline type of solution.  The oil needs to be removed or you will end up with immediate cataracts. Over time your eye will replace it with its own eye's natural fluid.  You will end up with residual oil floating since the doctor can't remove all of the oil.  The surgery will eventually cause cataracts.  I was told it varies depending on the person.  For me it was about 2 years later that I developed cataracts and had the lens removed and replaced with mono IOL.

I took short term disability leave with my company until I felt that I was fit to work.  If your doctor can cooperate with you and approve time off from work then you can focus on healing instead of worrying.  

unfortunately with oil, it requires you to undergo total of two surgeries so the recovery time is longer.  But it seems you had a major tear so the doctor felt the oil was more appropriate method of repair.

i hope i helped in easing some of your worries.  Good luck to you.

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John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAOBlank
Discover Vision Centers of Kansas City
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