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John C Hagan III, MD, FACS, FAAO  
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Kansas City, MO

Specialties: Ophthalmology

Interests: Eye-Medical Blog
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Activity after Retinal Detachment Surgery

Dec 13, 2009 - 25 comments

Retinal holes/tears are very common and depending on size, location, personal and family history and the presence or abscense of vitreous traction may not need treatment. If treatment is done additional tears or a retinal detachment could occur but it is much more likely to not occur. It is important for him to follow up regularly with his ophthalmologist for a dilated retina and peripheral retina exam. He should see the Eye MD immediately with sudden increase of floaters, flashes or loss of peripheral vision.

You need to ask he surgeon specifically about activity. As a generalization return to golf and tennis would be allowed by most surgeons after 7-10 days. There is a major risk of eye injury in racquet sports and your husband MUST wear safety sports glasses for his tennis game. (I have seen eyes blinded from tennis injuries).

Quite some time back a survey was taken of retina surgeons about letting their patients return to full activities after retinal detachment surgery (much more extensive than what your husband had). Almost all retina surgeons allowed full activity after a variable period of time (with the more extensive surgery generally several months).

In my practice I tell patients with retinal tears, retinal detachment, high myopia or other risk factors for retinal detachment to avoid amusement park rides (roller coasters and other thrill rides, bumper cars, etc.), boxing, yoga movements where they stand on their heads, gravity boots, and activities that jerk the head violently back and fourth.

Thanks for posting, I hope this answered your question.

JCH MD


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Avatar universal
by karmentrout, Jan 05, 2010
Thank you for this blog.  I am recovering my from third retina surgery in three months.  With the first two detachments I had the gas bubble placed in my eye.  For the last surgery I went to the Duke University Eye Center and had the buckle and oil placed in the eye.  I have been told that within a week, I can assume my normal activity level; however, it has almost been a week, and I am still in pain and have no desire to return to my normal level of activity.

Prior to my retina detachment, I was a long-distance runner who ran at least one marathon a year.  In total, I have run 16 marathons.  The doctors here tell me that there is no association between long-distance running and detached retinas.  I am wondering if you have had any experience treating long-distance runners for retinal detachments and your thoughts on running.

Avatar universal
by calborz, Feb 23, 2011
I too have a similar question. My mother had retina detachment and she too had a gas bubble then had oil in there for 6 months and now she is having catarac surgery. She wants to do hot yoga again. How long does she have to wait till she can?

Avatar universal
by Neha1988, Feb 21, 2013


I had a retina detachment due to high myopia and I underwent vitreo retinal silicon oil surgery in my left eye on 18th Sept'12. In Nov last week my doctor realized that the oil inside my eye had emulsified, so he decided to perform the oil removal surgery on 7th Dec (not even 3 months) . During this surgery, oil was replaced by a gas bubble and the bubble gradually went away in 7 weeks. But still I havent gained the vision clarity...I have been asking my doctor regarding the same and he says taht the vision will become clearer..but still no success ! IT feels as if I am using glasses of lower power. really dont know what to do !! The doctor shall be performing cataract surgery in the operated eye some time in Mar'13. I hope this surgery brings back my vision clarity !! Does anyone of you have a similar experience ?  

Avatar universal
by browneyesz, Mar 15, 2013
Neha1988, I had sergury for retinal detachment almost 3 years ago and I never got back my full vision. Doctor said I didn't get enough blood flow. I permanently lost all my vision on half of my eye, the rest of my vision just got worse than before.

Avatar universal
by rn_running, Jul 22, 2015
What do the above surgeries accomplish if these people come away with so many complications and surgeries?


Before this type of surgery 100% ended up blind and sometimes painful. The surgery enables 90+ % to prevent going blind and retain some vision. If the macula is not pulled off by the RD them sometimes can recover full vision.

JCH MD

Avatar universal
by JOHNMATHEWS, Sep 10, 2015
sir i have one doubt...i have three retinal hole in both eyes and im not myopic... i had barrage laser done...and my doctor told  to do any activity except for heavy weight lifting ...but i hav seen from previous comments u have told dont jerk ur head violently back and forth bcoz it may lead to retinal detachment...im afraid even to move my head while doing any activity

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by JohnHaganMD, Sep 10, 2015
That is overly-protective and normal "activities of daily living" are not likely to hurt your retina. Your retina surgeon agreed with this.  The things I tell my patients to avoid are violent head jerking such as you might have riding amusement rides, contact sports like football or rugby,  yoga exercises where you stand on your head.  If you have specific sports or activities in mind ask your retina surgeon but the things you normally do in a day even jogging are not likely to create a problem
JCH MD

Avatar universal
by JOHNMATHEWS, Sep 11, 2015
thanks  sir....why violent jerking leads to retinal detachment?..it has anything to do with eye..i dance so i move my head..does moving the head have any effect on retina..my retina surgeon told it has nothing to do with..but i want to clarify with u sir

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by JohnHaganMD, Sep 11, 2015
Dancing is generally okay. I'm talking about roller coasters, and other thrill rides.    Confirm with your surgeon.

JCH MD

Avatar universal
by JOHNMATHEWS, Sep 11, 2015
wat jerking the head violently means sir.. I couldn't understand

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by JohnHaganMD, Sep 11, 2015
NOUN OR VERB    JERK



1.a quick, sharp, sudden movement:
"he gave a sudden jerk of his head"

synonyms: yank · tug · pull · wrench · tweak · twitch · jolt · lurch · bump ·
[more]


Avatar universal
by JOHNMATHEWS, Sep 11, 2015
even while dancing I move by head.. so I am vulnerable sir?

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by JohnHaganMD, Sep 11, 2015
Last comment: I have never heard of a retina detaching during "dancing" Ask your retina MD

JCH MD

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by JohnHaganMD, Sep 12, 2015
=

177275 tn?1438375244
by JohnHaganMD, Sep 12, 2015



by JohnHaganMD, 22 hours .

Last comment: I have never heard of a retina detaching during "dancing" Ask your retina MD

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by JohnHaganMD, Sep 14, 2015
I am not going to continue this dialog after this post.

1. A PubMed search showed not papers on retinal detachment after dancing. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/?term=retinal+detachment+after+dancing
2. The treating retina surgeon will have to make the final recommendations.

That's all I can say.
JCH MD

Avatar universal
by thecat63, Dec 11, 2015
I had a severe eye injury in June '15. A bungee cord snapped and struck my left eye. Although my iris was damaged, I recovered some vision after the blood cleared from my eye. My doctor said that the eye could not focus because my iris would not open and close as a normal iris does. He was very concerned that my retina might detach because the trauma left a slight bulge in the back of the eye. After two months, the swelling went down in the back of my eye.My doctor was encouraged by the healing and he thought the danger of retina detachment was greatly reduced. He did not recommend surgery and I still think the recommendation was right. However, I was still taking glaucoma medicine because my eye pressure increased after the injury. The eye pressure was well under control and my doctor was reducing the amount of glaucoma medicine. And tests indicated that my vision might be restored to 20/40 with the aid of a special contact lens. The contact lens would have an outer, opaque ring matching the color of my right eye with an inner, transparent circle with a lens. After three and a half months, my eye had healed sufficiently to travel again and resume my normal activities. I was a very active retiree before my injury: surfing 100 +/- days per year, 100+ rounds of golf per year, and intermediate yoga, bicycle riding and light weight lifting. I was slowly resuming my activities after three months and I traveled about 5 months after my injury.

While I was traveling in Central America, my retina started to detach. I rushed home and I had immediate eye surgery on 24 Nov '15. The surgeon told me that there was scar tissue under the retina, apparently from my previous injury. My eye is still healing and the gas bubble is nearly gone. The reattachment was successful and I have vision throughout my entire eye. The vision is a cloudy or blurred, but I can make out objects and colors fine. I am hoping that my vision returns to where it was prior to the detachment. I realize that the healing process will take some time. I hope that after a month I will be able to take daily 20-30 minute walks. And I hope that after 2 months I will be able to resume light yoga along with the walks. At some point in the future, I hope to begin golfing and surfing small waves. However, do you think that I will ever be able to resume my high activity level? In a year? I understand that I can not participate in activities that will jerk my head violently or increase my blood pressure(large wave surfing or heavy weight lifting).  

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by JohnHaganMD, Dec 11, 2015
To answer this question it would be necessary to look into both your eyes and evaluate your risk factors and have you ask about every activity. Your best and only source of this information is your retina surgeon. Golfing, walking, swimming will likely not be a problem. Bicycle risks of fall are high (I've had two serious bike accidents) even with helmet is risky. Consider spinning or stationary bike.

JCH MD

Avatar universal
by thecat63, Dec 14, 2015
Thanks for your advice.

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by JohnHaganMD, Dec 14, 2015
You are welcome

Avatar universal
by Jane888, Feb 23, 2016
Dr. Hagan, you are so wonderful in helping everyone with their questions, it has also helped those of us that are experiencing the same thing - there is limited information out there about Retina Detachment.

My husband had 4 surgeries - Gas bubble, Air Bubble, Scleral Buckle, and Silicon Oil which finally, from what we can tell, is keeping his retina attached.  

I want to stress the importance of positioning to everyone.  My husband was very good about positioning after the last surgery and it's been 11 days and he is still attached.  The Silicon Oil was put into the middle of his eye and the vitreous was taken out and replaced with the oil.  It has to stay there for 6-9 months.  His vision is still very limited but I can tell that each day that passes, he sees just slightly more.  Mostly shapes but no real detail yet.  They said that it could take up to 90 days before his sight is at its' max.  He has to live with seeing through a cloud however until it is extracted - it doesn't go away, so we are told, so he would need another surgery to take it out.... yuck.  God has taken us through this very difficult journey.

My question is two-fold, my husband is an avid Tennis player and he is so afraid of detachment again or that his other eye will detach, he is considering giving it up completely.  He is a young retiree and played 4-5 times a week.  Should I convince him to go back to tennis?  

Second, when can we go back to having sex?  He won't let me ask the surgeon and I certainly don't want to hurt him.
Thank you so much for your guidance - and I realize that we also need to consult with our doctor.


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by JohnHaganMD, Feb 23, 2016
1. Tennis involves a significant risk risk of eye injury and if did return he would need to wear sports specific eye goggles to protect from being hit with the ball or racket
2. As to the jerking about the head/eye undergoes playing tennis you would need to ask the retina surgeon.
3. Activities like walking and running do not increase the risk of RD and generally not objected to by retina surgeons.
4. Even realizing you've asked me I can't answer. if the RD was spontaneous and not due to previous trauma the risk of RD in the fellow eye can be as high as 5-15%.  So i would not venture an opinion about tennis.
5. Most post cataract surgery instruction sheets give information on resuming sexual activities. In our cataract/IOL its after 1 week. Because RD surgery especially with oil or gas is so unique once again you would need to ask the retina surgeon.

JCH MD

Avatar universal
by jenb532, Mar 22, 2016
Hi there you seem to be very helpful. I had a retinal detachment in 2013 when I was 14 as a result of getting struck into the eye with an indoor hockey stick. I had sclerel buckle, cryopexy and a gas bubble put in. Then 10 days later had a laser procedure. I previously had no eye problems and still see floaters and a light every so often that sometimes can be in the shape of a ball and move is this normal after this kind of thing? I also have slight blurry vision and often see flickering. I cannot go back to a surgeon as they are no longer referring me back since the first year and you can only make an appointment if you think its happening again. I have been up multiple times since, fearing the worst when I saw lights etc. It was all secure then. And I hope it still is. Also my pupil is still bigger than my other one is this normal and can anything be done for this and my iris is a darker shade of blue.

Sorry for the long start. My question is I have stayed away from contact sports like football and basketball and sports like that. I do athletics and horse riding every second week. Do you think horse riding could cause another retinal detachment? I know you can't give a definite answer but I need an opinion please. Should all amusement rides be avoided? As I wouldn't like to risk anything. Do you think that it is wise to stay away from basketball and football and other contact sports. What sports have a low risk??
Thank you. I would really appreciate your advice, as my 17 year old self is always worried. Thanks.

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by JohnHaganMD, Mar 22, 2016
Nothing that is helpful about your pupil being larger unless it created a problem with night vision then a drop called alphagan-p can sometimes be used to make the pupil smaller at night.

Horse riding not likely to cause a problem unless you're thrown so I would suggest a helmet and athletic sports goggles. Football bad idea; basketball might be acceptable again if you wear sports specific eye protective goggles. I would avoid amusement rides that jerk, spin, and make you pull g's. Merry go round  ok.  Have your eyes checked annualy by an ophthalmologist.

What is the vision in your injured and uninjured eye?

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