Retina Recovery Blog

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

6 Steps to Successful Eye Surgery (Vitrectomy) Recovery

As a provider of rental equipment for vitrectomy recovery throughout Ontario, we are excited to be part of your eye surgery recovery.  With a growing number of rentals, we see time and time again a pattern in the steps renter's take in achieving successful surgery results despite a potential gloomy outlook.  I want to suggest that successful vitrectomy recovery requires the following:  Attitude – You can do this! Although this will feel long at times, it is well worth it. I know f...
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Post Eye Surgery (Vitrectomy) 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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Checklist - What to Get Ready for Your Vitrectomy 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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