Will I have pain after vitreoretinal surgery?

Some discomfort is normal and expected following vitreoretinal surgery. The first few days after surgery you may need to use prescription pain pills. Discomfort should gradually decrease and Tylenol, Aspirin, or Advil should be sufficient to relieve pain. If the pain worsens, call the doctor.

Do I need to wear an eye patch?

You do not need to wear an eye patch at home, once the drainage has stopped – usually within 1-2 days. However, you may be more comfortable wearing a patch outside in the sun, when sleeping or napping, or in a dusty, windy environment.

How Much Drainage Should I Have?

You may expect a moderate amount of drainage for a few days. Gradually, the drainage should decrease. The lids can be cleaned with a clean washcloth and gentle soap or diluted baby shampoo. Wipe the eyelids gently from the nose outward.

Will There Be Swelling After Vitreoretinal Surgery?

Some swelling is normal for a few days, after which it will gradually decrease. Applying a cool compress using a clean washcloth for 5-10 minutes several times a day may reduce the swelling and make you more comfortable.

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Will I need to use eye drops after vitreoretinal surgery?

eye-dropYou will be given several different kinds of eye drops or ointment (salve) when you leave the hospital. The directions will be on each bottle. The drop with the red top will keep your eye dilated and may make your eye more sensitive to light. Wearing sunglasses may help. The other drop is a combination of antibiotic-steroid to prevent infection and promote healing. Occasionally a third drop is used to control the pressure in your eye. You will be using drops for a few weeks.  There may be situations where the surgeon does not want you to look up after vitreoretinal surgery even to put drops in.  In that setting, an ointment will be used and instructions will be given.  Bring all eye medications (drops, ointments, or pills) with you to each visit.

Always wash your hands before putting in the eye drops. You may wish to have someone else help you. Pull down on the lower lid and squeeze one drop from the bottle, being careful not to touch the dropper to your eye or eyelid. One drop is sufficient, but another may be used if the first did not go into the eye. It is often easier to put in the drops if you are reclining or lying down. Wait five (5) minutes after the first drop before using the second drop to allow the medications to absorb into the eye.

Are there any physical restrictions after vitreoretinal surgery?

In many patients, a small air bubble is placed in the eye to help maintain a normal pressure.   In that situation, often no positioning requirement is given.  In many other cases, a large or complete air bubble is used and postoperative positioning in that setting is very important.  In the setting of a large gas bubble, detailed positioning instructions will be given and, often but not always, patients will need to spend a few days looking face down.   As the eye heals and the bubble dissolves, there will be less of a need for you to stay in that specific position. You should avoid sleeping on your back until the bubble has totally dissolved and you have been given permission form your surgeon.

If you should require any other surgery under general anesthesia, have your surgeon or anesthetist contact us prior to your vitreoretinal surgery.

You may resume most of your activities around the house including most routine chores. Do not bend over or move suddenly, and avoid straining or lifting more than 20 pounds. Bending should be from the knees, to keep your head above your heart.

You may resume your usual sexual activities about one week after vitreoretinal surgery.

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