Contact Steve or Victoria          905-745-0412         Email

Contact Steve or Victoria
 905-745-0412         Email

Facedown Recovery Stories

Retinal Detachment

There are themes to successfully recovering from a vitrectomy for a retinal detachment. I've not only EXPERIENCED THIS FIRSTHAND but I have watched thousands of others through this process.

Through personal stories, we are hoping you will find HOPE and ENCOURAGEMENT in addition to skills to help you MAXIMIZE YOUR EYESIGHT

905-745-0412. Email

It is so easy to let your mind go to the worse case scenario when it comes to recovering from a retinal detachment.  This renter definitely experienced this challenge.  His advice to your manage your recovery is to think positively about the outcome despite the prognosis.  This isn't the time to give up.  Remember, Recovery without Regrets.

Renter: N.M ~ North York, Ontario

1) Why did you have vitrectomy surgery? (macular hole, retinal detachment, diabetic retinopathy, other)
I have a condition called retinoschisis, which means that my retinas are actually splitting into layers. Although for some patients no treatment other than monitoring is necessary, my doctor determined that the schisis was moving towards my macula, which would result in vision loss if left untreated.

2) From the time of diagnosis until surgery, how long did you have to wait?
I've now had three surgeries. For my most recent surgery, my surgeon determined I needed another procedure in November 2022 and I had my surgery in January 2023.

3) What symptoms were you having that made you go visit an eye specialist (Optometrist or Ophthalmologist?)
I had no symptoms prior to my original diagnosis. I went for a routine eye exam at my optometrist's office where my doctor discovered that I had what she thought was a detached retina. She referred me to an ophthalmologist, who determined that I actually had retinoschisis in both eyes. The lesson? Have your eyes checked regularly!

4) What kind of hope did your Ophthalmologist give you about your situation?
My doctor was quite encouraging, explaining that a vitrectomy and laser to treat the type of retinoschisis that I have is successful in 95% of cases. Unfortunately, the first surgery was one of the 5% that arenot successful and I had to go back two weeks later for another procedure. This time, my doctor attached a scleral buckle, which is a silicone band that is stitched around the outer eye wall to keep the retina in place. 

5) How would you describe your level of anxiety (i.e. before surgery, during your facedown recovery)? Please describe how you managed this.
For my first surgery, I was not overly anxious because my surgeon was forthcoming with information and I asked plenty of questions leading up to the operation. You will be far less anxious if you talk to your doctor about any fears that you have.  Now, I have to admit, I didn't really understand what "face down for a week" meant ahead of time. By the time of my third surgery, the face-down time was really the only thing that gave me any anxiety because I knew what it was all about. But it's the best route to recovery so I simply accepted that it was what I had to do.

6) How would you describe your eyesight (i.e. one week after surgery, one month after surgery, three months after surgery )?
It takes time for your eyesight to return. One week after surgery, I still had a significant gas bubble in my eye, which made seeing anything clearly practically impossible. By a month after surgery, the bubble had shrunk so that I could see quite well. After about six weeks, the bubble was completely gone and my vision was almost back to normal. Eight weeks after surgery, I returned to the tennis court for the first time, and THAT was a great feeling.

7) Besides renting equipment, what one piece of advice would you give someone regarding the facedown recovery journey?
Look, there's no sugar-coating it, a week in the face-down position isn't fun. It's uncomfortable, inconvenient, and exhausting. You need to prepare because you're going to get fed up. I strongly recommend renting both the face-down chair and the massage table, plus making sure you have a lot of pillows close by. You want to give yourself as many options as possible when it comes to positioning. Alternate between the chair and the table, then move to the couch and stack pillows, then move to the dining room table and put your head down on more pillows. And definitely make a plan to help time pass. You'll be able to use a 2-way mirror to watch TV, but supplement that with podcasts, Audible books, music, anything to occupy your time and get you through the waking hours.
A special word about sleeping. To give yourself the best chance at a successful outcome, you must not sleep on your back. The problem for me was that it was almost impossible to sleep face down on the massage table or using a special wedge-shaped piece of foam and face pillow that are designed to keep you in the proper position. The pressure on my face from these aids was too much -- my face would get puffy, I'd get a headache, and I just could not sleep properly. After a couple of days, that kind of sleep deprivation becomes a serious thing. So, this is where pillows became my best friend. I was able to lie on my right side (my surgery was on my left eye) and then wedge multiple pillows behind my back and under me so that I could roll forward to get my face pretty much angled straight down. A significant other or caregiver can definitely help you get the pillows in the right position but if you're on your own, you can get them set up and then don't move them for the full week. At bedtime, you just lie down on them and roll into position. 
Remember to talk to your doctor about positioning for sleep. My doctor agreed that it's next to impossible to sleep face down and said that it was ok to sleep on my right side. Fortunately, the pillow trick helped me to stay more or less rolled over into a "mostly face down" position and I was able to sleep well enough that I could function. It wasn't the best sleep I've ever had, but it was ok.

8) What is one thing you wish you knew before your vitrectomy?
You need to plan ahead! By the time I had my third surgery, I knew that I had to rent equipment, get lots of pillows ready, prepare my audio distractions, have easy-to-prepare meals ready to go (canned soup, pre-cooked pasta, etc.), and know how I was going to handle sleeping. I was so lucky to have my wife here to help with everything but even if you're on your own, advance preparation will help get you through the coming week. Because it's tough.

9) Is there anything else you would be willing to share?
Honestly, I didn't realize how difficult it would be to just stay face down. It's unpleasant. It's exhausting. It's a pain in the rear end. But it's absolutely necessary. When you're in the middle of it you're going to be miserable. But here's the thing: time passes. Your body will heal. You will get through this. Minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, you're giving yourself the best chance to fully recover. And when you're back to doing the things you love, whether it's driving, or watching sunsets, or playing tennis(!), you'll know that it was completely worth it. You can do it.

Delivery, Set-up, Pickup

We offer in-home personalized delivery within our delivery area.  Each in-home set-up is about 45 minutes in length as we listen to your needs and set-up the equipment for you. This is not a drop, run, good-bye.

We want to reduce your anxiety so you can focus on maximizing your recovery!

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What to Expect from Retina Recovery Inc.

More Than Just Equipment

Retina Recovery Inc. is here to help you before your vitrectomy surgery, during your facedown recovery and in the days following the critical first days of your recovery.  We not only provide facedown recovery equipment but the support you need to Maximize Your Eyesight!

What to Expect When Recovering

Our mission is to help you "Heal Right the First Time".  We work hard to Educate you through videos, blogs, emails and articles on our website.  There are clear themes to successful facedown recovery. With Several Thousand Rentals of Experience, we are continuing to learn what works best for each person.

See Our Facedown Recovery Tips

Encouragement, we ALL need it.  Facedown recovery can be difficult for many people.  We are here and available during your facedown recovery journey, answering questions and providing hope and encouragement so you can Heal Right the First-Time!

Steve's Facedown Recovery Timeline


We Help You 
"Heal Right the First-Time!"

Since 2015, Retina Recovery Inc. has been be honoured to serve thousands of renters during their facedown recovery.

  • PREMIUM Equipment Rentals,
  • Personalized In-Home Deliveries/Set-up, and
  • On-Going Coaching

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Waterdown, Ontario L8B 0L9


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