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 = http://www.medisafe.com/app/ – The app works on both Smartphones and iPhones and keeps you from forgetting to take your drops.