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Removing oil after retinal detachment

I had surgery for a retinal detachment 3 weeks ago which included a buckle and silicone oil.  My retina appears to have reattached.  I'm fairly happy with my weak/distorted vision considering all the horror stories I've heard.  My question is for anyone who has experience with the surgery for removing silicone oil.  I will have mine 4 to 6 months after my initial surgery and I'm wondering...
What is the recovery like?  As swollen and bloody as after the first surgery?  Is positioning likely involved afterwards?  How long will I have to take off from work?  Any guesses on how drastically vision changes from before and after the oil is removed?

Any responses are greatly appreciated.  I found my doctors fairly dismissive with my questions about the oil removal surgery.  It was like, "oh well you survived the first surgery... the next one is like nothing, you'll be fiiiiine."  Especially because they were so impressed with how well I'm looking after my first surgery.  

Thanks.  
10 Responses
Avatar universal
I am an experienced retina patient. Take care of yourself like you seem to be doing--asking lots of questions, etc.

Make sure that your doctor answers all these questions specifically, because we can have individual differences in our conditions.

Oil removal surgery was easier on my eye. I recover slowly, and I needed 2 1/2 weeks of mostly bed rest. I had to be face down about 5 days. I don't work outside of my home, but the doctor told me a 2 week recovery.

Please ask your doctor what your vision prognosis is, when you are ready for this discussion. Ask him to give you the odds, based on his experience and the research. He could say something now, and as you progress in the months leading up to the removal. My doctor told me nothing and I kept imagining the worst.

Your anxiety is real and purposeful. It will keep you doing your part of the work on your recovery==like seeking answers to your questions.. If needed, ask your general doctor, internist, or a psychiatrist for medication.

Exercise, give youself a good diet and rest well. I take ambien CR.

There are several retina patients on this forum. I hope all of them will share some of their experience. In case you have not read much, go to vitrectomy solutions.com and read about several of the processes you have experiences, and shop for face-down equipment that will help you with positioning. They rent it and have reasonable prices.

Get all the support you can find, and help, too.

I wish the best for you. Write back if you have questions.

Avatar universal
Thank you sooo much for your response.  It’s really helpful.  Although I’m not at all excited to hear I have more positioning to look forward to.  I was naively hoping that was only needed after the initial surgery.  

I’m worried about the 2nd surgery because of the timing.  I had just finished college and was moving to DC when I found out about the retinal detachment.  I had to quickly fly to CA to have the operation where my parents live so that I’d have a place to recover for awhile.  By the time I have my 2nd surgery I’ll be living in DC and will have been working at my new job for no more than 2-3 months… so I’m not sure if it’s worth flying back to CA to my original doctor.  If recovery wasn’t too bad I was hoping to do it on my own in DC, then I could start work as soon as possible.  But maybe being in CA with my original doctors and family would be best.  Hmmm…  Oh my boss is going to loooove me.  I already had to bump back my start date because of the first surgery!!  Then I’ll have to take 2-3 weeks off work.  Or I guess longer by the time I actually get a new prescription and have adjusted to the point of being able to drive again.

My vision actually isn’t horrible.  I used to be -3 in both eyes… strangely I’m now +1.25 in my operated eye.  I’m confused since I thought patients always became MORE near sighted.  The most annoying thing is my vision is a bit distorted.  Everything seems slightly squished together if I’m only using my operated eye.  That and I can’t read anything up close without strong reading glasses.   I’m 21 years old and I feel like I have the eye of a grandma!  

I actually regained the vision I had lost to the grey shadow/curtain that originally tipped me off that something was wrong.  So that’s sweet since the doctors said that was unlikely.  But as for asking my doctors what my vision prognosis will be… I’m getting no answers.  They make it seems like it’s a toss up as to the quality of vision after the surgeries and it’ll be many months or years before the vision fully adjusts.  

Is it your impression that vision usually drastically changes after the oil is removed?  I went from near-sighted to far-sighted and who knows what I’ll be next?  
4 Comments
I just had the oil removed last Tuesday after 4 months from surgery last Oct. You DO NOT have to sleep face down, because re atached Retina was done with a laser. The recovery will be rather slow from swelling, I was told to go about my normal routine & I;ll know when I'm ready for the final up grade for my prescription glasses. I've had 3 detached in the same eye since last August. It is IMPOSSIBLE to remove all the oil, it is so thick it will sink to the bottom of your vision, but when I look down when I take a leak, looks like a BLACK O RING in center of my vision, but disappears as I look straight ahead O ring about the diameter of a dime, clear in the middle of the O ring!! I go back next Monday, 13th of March 2017 for 1 week check up!!  
I just had the oil removed last Tuesday after 4 months from surgery last Oct. You DO NOT have to sleep face down, because re atached Retina was done with a laser. The recovery will be rather slow from swelling, I was told to go about my normal routine & I;ll know when I'm ready for the final up grade for my prescription glasses. I've had 3 detached in the same eye since last August. It is IMPOSSIBLE to remove all the oil, it is so thick it will sink to the bottom of your vision, but when I look down when I take a leak, looks like a BLACK O RING in center of my vision, but disappears as I look straight ahead O ring about the diameter of a dime, clear in the middle of the O ring!! I go back next Monday, 13th of March 2017 for 1 week check up!!  
I just had the oil removed last Tuesday after 4 months from surgery last Oct. You DO NOT have to sleep face down, because re atached Retina was done with a laser. The recovery will be rather slow from swelling, I was told to go about my normal routine & I;ll know when I'm ready for the final up grade for my prescription glasses. I've had 3 detached in the same eye since last August. It is IMPOSSIBLE to remove all the oil, it is so thick it will sink to the bottom of your vision, but when I look down when I take a leak, looks like a BLACK O RING in center of my vision, but disappears as I look straight ahead O ring about the diameter of a dime, clear in the middle of the O ring!! I go back next Monday, 13th of March 2017 for 1 week check up!!  
Thank you for the report the information will be useful for others having the same surgery
203589 tn?1267478770
I too am a fellow patient of RDs.
The recovery from the silicone oil removal depends on numerous factors, such as age, overall health, the condition of the eye prior to surgery and during surgery. Since, I'm fairly young, 23, the recovery was a snap. Also, keep in mind that not all of the silicone oil can be removed so you may see a few tiny round specks when looking down, afterwords. As far as vision recovery it does take time and final visual acuity may not be known for up to a year after removal of the oil.
As for feeling like you "have the vision of a grandma" I can empathize, but remember it is better than having no vision at all.
Take care.
Avatar universal
I am glad we can help.

Yes, all vision is so precious. I have never heard of anyone's vision improving with the silicone oil in them, nor after retina surgery.

Berrywoo, if I remember correctly, if there is also a gas bubble, it distorts and improves vision? Do we ever have gas with silicone oil?

Yes, it takes a while for vision to settle in, yet I feel there are some thngs that can be offered about outcome, based on factors such as how old the detachment was at first surgery. Maybe I am wrong. I am always open to new info.

I really would pose some of these same questions to your surgeon. I usually write 40 questions and reduce the number to 1 or 2. We cannot handle everything at one, and the doctor does not know everything.

You have some decisions about your move, etc. That is difficult. I hope all goes wonderfully for you.
203589 tn?1267478770
Both the gas and silicone oil distort the vision a bit. Neither actually improves final visual outcome. Also, due to the chemical properties of the types of gas tamponading agents used in vitreoretinal surgeries and silicone oil they are not used together.

Avatar universal
Yes, I meant only a temporary "clarity," of visual perception, but also distortion, from the gas bubble. The tech presented it this way to me. Perhaps it is not correct, yet I thought I also perceived it that way.

Anyway, ryann 13 has silicone oil.

Thanks
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