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Frequently Asked Questions for Post Operative Vitreoretinal Surgery Patients


Same Day of Operation
 

  • Numbness on the same side of face

    The numbness is the result of the local anaesthetic and will wear off later that evening. No action is required.

  • Discomfort, pain or gritty sensation in eye

    The discomfort results from the surgery itself.  While most patients will have sutureless surgery, some patients will still have sutures in the eye, which can cause discomfort. Use the chloromycetin ointment 2-3 times a day to help soothe the eye.

  • Ooze from dressings (clear or blood-stained)

    This is can be normal, and results from the natural response of the eye to the surgery.  Please clean around the dressings, and leave the dressings intact. The staff will remove them at the Day 1 post-operative visit.

  • Swelling on the same side of face

    This can be a response to the anaesthetic, or to the surgery itself. If you have been asked to posture face down, that can also lead to facial swelling due to fluid accumulation from gravity. No action is required.

  • If you have been asked to posture face down

    Care needs to be exercised when sitting up after posturing for a length of time. Sitting up should be done gradually and in stages to avoid feeling dizzy or light-headed. Avoid standing up suddenly.



 
Day 1 to Day 7 Following Surgery

Note: if you have a gas bubble, you will have a green wrist-band
 

  • Vision blurry

    If air or gas was inserted in the eye at the surgery, then the vision will be very blurred until the gas leaves the eye. Atropine drops (red-topped bottle) are given for the first week after the operation. This is to “splint” the eye and reduce spasm from the eye muscles. A side effect is dilation of the pupil, and the vision will be blurred from that. No action is required.

  • Swelling on same side of face

    If you have been asked to posture face down, that can also lead to facial swelling due to fluid accumulation from gravity. No action is required.

  • If you have been asked to posture face down

    Care needs to be exercised when sitting up after posturing for a length of time. Sitting up should be done gradually and in stages to avoid feeling dizzy or light-headed. Avoid standing up suddenly.

  • Pain or gritty sensation in eye

    The discomfort results from the surgery itself. While most patients will have sutureless surgery, some patients will still have sutures in the eye, which can cause discomfort. Use the Chloromycetin ointment 2-3 times a day to help soothe the eye. Also simple over-the-counter pain medications, such as Panadol, Panadeine or Nurofen (as long as you have no allergies to them) can be used.

  • Redness and bruising over white of eye

    This bruising is normal following surgery and results from the incisions required to perform the operation. The bruising will fade over 1-2 weeks. No action is required.

  • Headache and brow ache

    This can be normal due to inflammation following the surgery, or eye strain from trying to focus. Simple over-the-counter pain medications, such as Panadol, Panadeine or Nurofen (as long as you have no allergies to them) can be used.

  •  Tearing from the eye

    The tearing is due to discomfort from the surgery itself.  While most patients will have sutureless surgery, some patients will still have sutures in the eye, which can cause the discomfort. Use the Chloromycetin ointment 2-3 times a day to help soothe the eye if required.

  • Pupil is still dilated

    This is due to the Atropine drop and will blur the vision. The Atropine will be stopped at the end of the first week. No action is required.

  • Floaters appearing in the vision

    This can be normal following vitrectomy surgery. As long as the floaters are only few and occasional, no action is required. If you are concerned, or if there is a sudden marked increase in the floaters, contact the Surgery.

  • Can I shower?

    Yes, but do not get water in the operated eye.

  • Can I wash my face?

    Yes, but do not get water in the operated eye.

  • Can I read / watch TV / use the computer?

    Yes, you can use the good eye, and this will not hurt the operation.

  • Can I bend over?

    No. The recommendation is not to bend over or do any heavy lifting for 3 weeks following the surgery.

  • Can I return to work?

    If you do light work / office work, you can return to work within a few days, provided you are comfortable. If you do heavy physical work, then the recommendation is you take 2-3 weeks leave.

  • Can I fly?

    If there is an air bubble/gas bubble present in the eye, you should not fly. Otherwise, flying is fine.

  •  Can I drive?

    Driving is not recommended in the first week.

  • Can I exercise?

    Avoid exercise for the first 2 weeks.

  • Can I have sex?

    Avoid sex for the first 2 weeks.

  • Can I go swimming in the pool or ocean?

    Avoid swimming in the first week.

  • Can I drink alcohol?

    Avoid alcohol on the same day as the operation. After that, moderate alcohol intake is fine.

  • Can I take my usual eye drops?

    Yes, continue with your usual eye drops.

  • Can I take my usual tablets and medications?

    Yes, continue with your usual medications.

  • Can I wear make-up?

    Avoid make-up.

  • Can I patch the eye?

    You must not use a patch or cover the operative eye.

  • Can I attend my other medical appointments?

    If there is gas in the eye, you need to let your Dentist or doctor know before they use anaesthetic agents (show them the green wrist band). You can attend your other medical appointments.

  • When will my vision improve?

    Your vision will slowly improve as the retina heals. Due to the nature of the nerve fibres, the healing process can take weeks to months, and sometimes longer.

  • How long will the gas bubble remain in my eye?

    The short-acting gas should last for around 2 weeks, and the long-acting gas for around 4 weeks. These are estimates only, and your experience may vary.

  • I have a gas bubble and I’m driving back to the country – do I have to posture?

    For the duration of the trip back home, you do not have to posture if you start to feel motion-sickness.

    If you are travelling over the mountains, you should plan frequent breaks to allow the gas pressure to normalise. If the eye begins to ache, take some simple pain relief and return to a lower altitude until it feels better.

     


 
Day 8 to Week 4 Following Surgery
  

  • Vision blurry

    Your vision will slowly improve as the retina heals.  Due to the nature of the nerve fibres, the healing process can take weeks to months, and sometimes longer.

  • Swelling on same side of face

    Sometimes swelling can persist after the first week. If the skin around the eyes is itchy, and very red and scaly, this may be an allergic reaction to the eye drops. You should contact the Surgery for further instructions.

  • Pain or gritty sensation in eye

    While most patients will have sutureless surgery, some patients will still have sutures in the eye, which can cause discomfort. Use the Chloromycetin ointment 2-3 times a day to help soothe the eye.

  • Redness / Bruising over white of eye

    This bruising is normal following surgery and results from the incisions required to perform the operation. The bruising will fade over 1-2 weeks. No action is required.

  • There is a line across my vision. Small circles have appeared near this line.

    The line is from the gas bubble as it shrinks. The eye replaces the gas with fluid. This line will continue to fall, and will become more curved and circular. You should be able to see above the line. No action is required.

    The small circles that can appear near the line are smaller bubbles that have detached from the main bubble. This is normal, and they can often disappear, rejoining the main bubble. No action is required.

  • When can I get new glasses?

    Usually, we recommend you wait for the eye to heal before updating your glasses. Discuss this with Dr Chang when you see him at the follow up visit for his recommendation.

  •  Can I shower?

    Yes, but avoid getting water in the operated eye until the end of the 2nd week.

  • Can I wash my face?

    Yes, but avoid getting water in the operated eye until the end of the 2nd week.

  • Can I wear make-up?

    Avoid make-up until the end of the 2nd week.

  • Can I bend over?

    Avoid bending over until the end of the 3rd week.

  • Can I return to work?

    It depends on your work. If your work is not overly physical, it may be OK. However any heavy physical jobs should be avoided until the end of the 2nd week.  If in doubt, contact the Surgery.

  • Can I fly?

    You can fly once the gas bubble has disappeared.

  • Can I drive?

    It depends on your vision. You will have to contact the surgery or ask your surgeon at a follow up visit.