Ask an Eye M.D. Answer Archive

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Question:
What is recovery like after surgery to repair a hole in my retina? Pain, aftercare, time off work, and driving?

Answer:
"Holes" in the retina can mean several different things.

A macular hole is a condition which often develops spontaneously in older patients and results in a "blind-spot" in the central vision (referred to as a scotoma). Patients with a macular hole will often require surgery which involves a vitrectomy and a gas or air bubble placement. In order to help the gas/air close the hole, patients may be instructed to keep their face down for a certain period of time after surgery (from 24 hours to 1 or 2 weeks depending on the size of the hole and the doctor's preference). Pain associated with the surgery is often minimal and can often be managed with over-the-counter medications such as Tylenol.  Time off work and driving depends on the type of gas used, patient age and abilities, and doctor preference. It is best to consult with your doctor in regards to the specifics of your condition.

A retinal hole or tear can occur in the periphery of the retina and may be treated with laser or freezing treatment. In addition, some peripheral holes can be observed with no treatment.  

Once again, your doctor should help instruct you as to whether your "hole" is that of the macular or peripheral variety and the specifics of the treatment and post-operative care.

Answered by: John Kitchens, MD Dr. John W. Kitchens

Categories: Eye Diseases, Eye Surgery

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Answered: Nov 04, 2012

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