Retina Recovery Blog

Our goal is to help you answer some questions about your vitrectomy surgery from our experience and the experiences of others.

Post Eye Surgery (Facedown) Tips for Everyday Activities

Maintaining the facedown position is ONE of the many KEYS to your vitrectomy recovery. What you can or cannot do is up to you and your opthmalogist. We highly encourage you NOT to deviate from their instructions. They know best!  We continue to see that there is a marked difference between those who follow their instructions and those who do not.

Following are a list of activities you may ask about.

  • Bathing: It may be easier to have a bath than to shower while maintaining the face down position.  Be sure you have everything you need within your reach.  In my case, I didn't bother to shower.  I wasn't expending any energy which meant I wasn't sweating.  Additionally, I wasn't going out of the house so my facedown position became a priority over what I looked like.
  • Getting dressed:  Comfort is key!  You may find it more comfortable to wear clothing that you do not need to pull over your head such as button up shirts.  You will want to wear clothing that is easy to get on and off and is loose and comfortable such as pajamas, track pants or a bathrobe.
  • Sleeping:  Use the vitrectomy (massage) table to sleep face down until your doctor tells you otherwise. In Hamilton, this time period is 10 days.  A small percentage of people may go one additional day.  As well as the vitrectomy table, we recommend using additional bed pillows that you can alternate putting under your hips or under your chest to help minimally shift your position as you lie face down.  While the bridge of your nose must remain parallel to the floor, you may find that rotating a regular bed pillow to other positions such as under your hips, or under your chest, may relieve some of the stresses on your shoulders and back.  When we come out to deliver the equipment, we can provide you with multiple ideas to finding the "sweet spot" for comfort.  Note that we also have had people find that sleeping in the vitrectomy chair works for them as well.  As for me, the table was more than adequate.
  • Eating and Drinking:  KEY - Use a straw.  You will find it easier to eat if you bend more from the waist than from your neck.  Drink all liquids through a straw.  It will help to place the food on a low TV table, coffee table or another chair while you eat.  I found that smoothies and liquid foods like soups were extremely helpful.  I wanted to do everything I possible to maintain the correct position to ensure that I wasn't living with regret later for doing something I should not have been doing.
  • Eye drops:  More than likely, you will have a full regimen of eye drops that must be strictly adhered to post-surgery.  With various medications and differing times they need to be administered, you will need some sort of system to help you keep track. Check out the Medi-Safe App for a digital tracking of your eye drops.  You will be glad you did!
  • Medisafe App = – The app works on both Smartphones and iPhones and keeps you from forgetting to take your drops.
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Ideas for Keeping 'Busy' During Facedown Recovery

I've created a list of online resources that will help you keep busy or pass the time while face down.  The list includes FREE 30 Day trials, podcasts, audio books and more.

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Questions to Ask Your Surgeon after a Vitrectomy

I found during my recovery that minutes after Tracy and I left the surgeon's office a surge of additional questions would flood our minds.  In order to aid you in your recovery and to help you avoid the "I wish I had asked _______ - moment", we have curated a list of our questions to help you in brainstorming your list.  Keep in mind, that your surgeon is extremely busy.  You obviously know this from the number of people in the visiting lines.  As a result, please go prepared...
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My Vitrectomy Recovery Timeline

​As I work with renters of our vitrectomy equipment I get many questions regarding the timeline of my vitrectomy recovery from the retinal detachment.  Keep in mind that this is my experience with my surgeon.  You have to be careful not to compare yourself to others.  Each surgeon provides a slightly different protocol that is specific to you.  This recovery protocol may be different if gas is used during the surgical procedure or oil is used in its place. Additiona...
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Checklist - What to Get Ready for Your Facedown Recovery


In some cases you have an opportunity to prepare for your vitrectomy. I'm not sure what is best. In my case, I found out on a Monday evening at 5pm that I was going into emergency surgery the next morning. If you do have time, I encourage you to prepare your recovery area prior to your return from surgery.  Keep in mind that you may been told to do NOTHING prior to your surgery.  As a result, it is of utmost importance that you enlist the help of others in moving furniture, picking up toys or cleaning up a room

  • Collect all of the equipment necessary for your recovery period.  A massage table or forward facing manual massage chair is of utmost importance.
  • Set up all equipment and gather a box of tissues, phone, TV remote, books, magazines – anything you would like to use to help you pass the time as you recover.
  • Clear the space around where the patient will be recovering clear of obstructions as they will be limited in their ability to see what is around them, especially for the first few days.
  • Put resources in place to help you after surgery.  If you live alone, find someone who is able to support you during your recovery.  This is a time to lean on loved ones as much as possible.  Your job is to stay face down and rest!
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Food and Facedown Recovery

One of the things you have to address during your facedown recovery is food prep. Are you alone or do you have someone to assist you? Can you prepare some food beforehand and put it in the freezer or is your surgery an emergency? Remember that your full-time job is to do nothing during your recovery. The more that you move, the more the gas bubble moves. The more you can be still and steady, the more you maximize your results. Aim for a 'no-regret recovery'. You don't want to be 3 months out loo...
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Facing New Realities

Facing New RealitiesThis past couple of weeks have flown by in a flurry of activity for us as I am sure it has for many of you. The beginning of school is always crazy without adding in our new realities of a mom back in school and a dad still not back to full functioning! We are so thankful for Jean, who picked Steve up last Wednesday morning and took him to his latest doctor appointment, and for Laura, who graciously transported Rebekkah off to her new school when there was no one here to get ...
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Retina reattachment, Day 6....

It is about time this blog has been resurrected - although I wish it were under different circumstances!  Today is Day 6 after emergency surgery to have Steve's retina reattached.  Here is a quick run-down of our very own FAQ's: -What did he do?! Nothing. According to our surgeon, 'very few' detached retinas are caused by trauma. They are either hereditary, or in his words, "luck". -Why does he have to lie face down? During surgery, the surgeon removes part of the white of the eye and ...
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Muddling Along

Lately when asked how we are doing, "Muddling along" has been my most honest answer. While I don't feel like we are doing 'fine', we have definitely climbed out of crisis mode. However, as the only adult member of the household able to function normally, I most often reach the end of my day feeling like I did not accomplish what I needed to - and that I didn't do any of it well. As I said, "Muddling along.... "The word from the Doctor yesterday was exactly the same as 2 weeks ago. The good news:...
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So long, Klingon!

I have joked with Steve the last few days that he is my alien. Being face down overnight (and for most of the day) causes large amounts of swelling in both eyes as well as quite a signature bump between his eyes and the disappearance of the top of his nose. While he still has black eyes, the swelling has reduced considerably the last two days, for which we are thankful. My alien has left the building! The last 2 days have had their fair share of blessings and frustrations. We returned to the doc...
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A Bathroom Built with Love

When this whole detached retina journey began we were smack dab in the middle of a bathroom renovation. I don't mean a repaint - I mean a demo kind of reno. Thankfully the bathtub was in and the tiling was complete - no more showering at neighbours and friends! But there was still a LONG way to go.....T here are times when the body of Christ is a glowing example of the way the church is to work. In my mind, this was one of them. We had so many use their God-given gifts to come complete our bathr...
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Finding out there is still a long way to go....

 (*What's with the photo? Read to the end to find out!) Steve and I returned to the Doctor this morning for the first time in a week. We never seem to find out much information - only what we absolutely need to know. If we press for anything further into the future, we don't receive any details. We are getting the impression that everyone's journey is a little different in this process so we are given instructions to get us through until the next appointment (in two weeks) and that is all. ...
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Making progress

The last couple of days have been encouraging with some positive progress in Steve's healing. Being up for two hours with head tilted forward and then sleeping for the next hour face down (at least) is still the pattern of the day, but little by little he is gaining strength. Yesterday evening we went for a walk around the block together! It was so nice to be out in the fresh air and for Steve to move some muscles that have sat silent for far too long. Last night he tried to sleep on his left si...
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FAQ - Post Vitrectomy - Why Do I Have to Lie Facedown?

Why do you have to lie facedown after a vitrectomy? In this video I show you why it is important that you do everything you possible maintain the position required by your surgeon and why it is important to be still ... "... because your eyesight is worth it." Retina Recovery Inc.Resources:Eye Diagram Used in the Video - Each of our renters receives "Cooking with Eyefoods" authored by Dr. Laurie Capogna.
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FAQ: What are Symptoms of a Retinal Detachment

What are some symptoms of a retinal detachment? If you are having any of these symptoms discussed in the video, contact your optometrist immediately so you can be properly assessed. In this video, I discuss 5 symptoms of a retinal detachment. Number 5 is a real surprise and the reason I highly recommend a regular eye check up that includes a retinal scan.Your eye sight is worth it!All the best,Steve
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10 Movies to Watch During Your Facedown Recovery

Since you are facedown for up to 10 days, how are you going to use your time? With the mirror provided with our rentals, you have the opportunity to watch TV, enjoy some YouTube videos and lose yourself in some good movies. Our encouragement is to focus on entertainment that is going to lift your spirits, something that is a feel good story, something that can help point you toward mental health? Considering the success of John Krasinski's 'Some Good News' on YouTube with millions of views durin...
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