Vitrectomy


#1

On 3/31/2017 I had a vitrectomy. Within 3 days I had a reccuring bleed. My retina was never detached but they used a gas bubble just to make sure. My vision still isn’t back (3 weeks and 3 days into recovery). Still cann’t read with the eye that is affected. My bubble has gotten to about 30-40% of size and it is multiplying.

I’ve searched through many forums but have never seen anyone with the issues I’ve had. When I wake up in the morning I can see things much cleare, which makes sense since the blood settles. They gave me a shot of Avastin and said it will hopefully clear on it’s own or I will go in for a washout.

Has anyone ever had similar issues? I’ve had a vitrectomy on my right eye, three years ago. But my vision returned within a week of being post op… I’m stressed about becoming blind, but the doctor says everything looks fine, just distorted from hemorrhage. I’m freaked!!! Anyone with vitrectomy experience where similar things have occured?


#2

I have had three vitrectomy’s (two in my left and one in my right eye). Mine were done so they could do some work on my or retinas. I have never really had much hemorrhaging. I have a ton of swelling. After the second one on my left eye they put in the gas bubble because of a weak spot at the edge of my retina. I do not recall having a lot of issues with that other than it was a pain in the butt.

I have had a few floaters since then, but they are not always visible to me. My retinologist told me that after the vitrectomy’s the saline that they replace the vitreous with has a much lower viscosity. He said that this meant the Avastin injections would only last a day or two instead of a week or so. I was moved to other drugs for the injections after that.

I’m sorry (and glad at the same time) that I can’t offer you more insight into the issues you are having. My vision was so poor at the time of my vitrectomy’s that I don’t know how much I could truly see as a result. But I do completely understand how confounding, stressful and frightening this all can be. I am more than glad to help and support you anyway that I can. It is a very very slow process. After almost 7 years of intense therapies and tight control my vision has improved to about 20:250 from something like 20:1200. It has only been in the last few months that it has started to become much clearer.


#3

I didn’t have bleeds AFTER my vitrectomies. My vitrectomies were to CLEAR the blood and let them do the laser repairs and scleral buckles. With that said, I couldn’t see through the bubble and even if I could have, they took my lens when they did the vitrectomies because I had severe diabetic cataracts too. I didn’t get the lens back until the bubble was totally dissipated.

I see it’s been a few days. How are you doing now?


#4

Hello,

My name is Katie and my partner Daniel is the diabetic we are going through hell and back with eye complications!
He is 23 years old, type 1 insulin dependant and has been this since age 9!

He started getting bleeds in his eyes back in 2016 few courses of laser but this was a painful experience. His left eye is doing well having monthly injections and slight lasering here and there. However his right eye got worse and worse we was referred to an eye surgery- he decided that a Vitrectomy was the only option to save his sight in his right eye.

Operation was booked for May 22nd 2017 a week before surgery he had a huge bleed in his eye and lost all vision. The operation went ahead as planned 3 hour of surgery and a gas bubble later he was home. There was no immediate change to his vision. Over the 1st 2 weeks he began to see a little from the edge to middle of his eye.

Week 3 he woke up and again had lost all sight!!! We went straight to the hospital and they advised the gas bubble had popped as it should but it has taken the retina away with it. So he had to have the same operation again that day June 18th 2017 this time they put in an oil base instead of gas.

Recovery continue and when going for his 3 weekly check up we were gutted to learn yet again the retina had become to redetatched. So Daniel under went his 3rd operation on 13th June 2017 this time again with a gas bubble.

Recovery with the gas bubble is long and painful he is having to lay flat head down for 40 out of 60 minutes each hour. He has no vision still and we are loosing hope and faith that he will ever get his sight back.

All 3 of these operations have been in the last 8 weeks as you can image we he is sore and fed up! Having to take so much time off work for appointments and operations is tough and general his mental wellbeing is not great. This is not ideal for anyone but when you are 23 it is hard to feel "normal"
How many times do we go through this? Do we seek a second opinion? Do we accept that this is how life is?

Really hope anyone out there has experience or knowledge of this and how many attempts they had at surgery and what everyone thinks about the situation we are in.


#5

I have no insight, but my heart goes out to you and your partner. I hope things take a turn for the better.


#6

I had vitrectomies in both eyes when I was about your partner’s age, although I only had one per eye. The post op positioning is not fun to say the least. You’re stuck in a holding pattern just waiting to see if it will work. I know how hard it is. When I had my first one, my other eye was totally filled with blood too. I was basically 100% blind for 4 months.

When you are in that holding pattern, the only thing within your control is your attitude. You can’t control how long the gas bubble hangs around (mine didn’t pop per se, it gradually seeped away as my eye created new vitreous fluid, took a couple of months); because of that you can’t control how long you are face down (with me it was until the bubble had dissipated enough that I could see the edge of it when I lifted my head upright, took 4 weeks the first time and 7 the second because the damage was so much more extensive); you can’t control whether the laser repair works and fixes anything; the list goes on.

Until the waiting game is over, the only weapon you have in your arsenal is a positive attitude. I know it’s hard. I know. I’m not sure how I arrived at this, but at some point I decided, “I’ve been better, but I will be again. I’ve also been worse, and I may be again some day. Whatever happens, it’s going to be okay. Even if it’s not.”

I’m still blind in the second eye to this day, 13 years later–as I mentioned, the damage to that retina was too far gone by the time they were able to get in there. But my good eye is 20/30 with my glasses–I’m legal to drive in my state.

When ready, I encourage you and your partner to explore a web forum that is a lot like this, for people with vision issues. It’s called losteye.com They also have a Facebook group called LostEye. I don’t want that to sound like I’m giving up on your partner’s eye or that you should either–several people there have suffered detached retinas and multiple vitrectomies to the same eye, and would be a good resource for you.

Hang in there. It’s going to be okay. It always will.


#7

My heart goes out to both of you. I can tell you that it really doesn’t matter whether you are 23 or 60 years old losing your eyesight is scary and life-changing.

You certainly have been through hell with this. I have had three vitrectomy’s myself. Although, they were not all in the same month. I also have had a gas bubble as a result of one of these surgeries. I did not have a severe care so it was not as drawnout as your experience.

I wish there were something I could tell you that would ease your mind and make this a better situation. All that I know to do is to follow through on the doctor’s recommendations and maintain as good a blood sugar level as is possible. This is such an individual issue that I don’t know if there would be anyone with exactly the same experience. But, a lot of us have had some similar trials.

As for a second opinion, this is always a good idea if you are unsure or unfamiliar with the doctor you are seeing. But the situation we deal with in this is fairly cut and dry. The issues are visible to the doctor and the solutions available are pretty much the same everywhere. If you are already seeing a retina specialist (retinologist) who is well regarded then there is probably not a lot you would find different anywhere else. If you are not seeing a specialist you absolutely need to be and I would not wait to find one.

I know from personal experience that this can all be very unsettling and disorienting. It is one of the hardest health issues I have ever dealt with. Heck, is one of the toughest things I have ever dealt with in my life. I have been lucky and have some fairly decent eyesight even though I am still legally blind. But this is a very long and slow process. You will need to find a lot of patience, both of you. I am more than glad to help you in any way I that I can. Sometimes it helps just to check with someone who has been there.


#8

Thank you for your reply. It is nice to talk to people who have experince of how things are for us.
I am so worried that his retina is so damaged the sight can not be saved. The doctors have not said this yet but this is the 3rd operation in 2 months and he has not had any vision in it at all since the first bleed before the first operation.

The treatment for the left eye is going really well which is the positive we are seeking.
The day to day stresses are very much there it is all about mindset but I think with the disappointing news we keep hearing every 3 weeks it is hard to remain confident and happy!

How was your vision in recovering did it come back quickly or not at all?


#9

Hello,

Thank you for your reply. It is so scary potentially loosing your sight & it is hard for me to find the words to comfort him!
The daily stresses are hard to cope with but we must both remain positive ( easier said then done)

I think for us speaking to those who have experienced it is a help because we do feel so isolated!

Sometimes I feel so rushed in the hospital I never get the questions I want answered or any kind of idea what we should or should not expect!


#10

It took a while. When they did my vitrectomies, I also had pretty big diabetic cataracts, so they removed the lenses of my eyes too, and I didn’t get the lens back in my good eye until the bubble had 100% dissipated. So, for reference, August 11th they do the vitrectomy, sometime early November they fit me for a temporary contact lens, then December 10th they implant the new lens of my eye. In between there, I could detect light and blotches of color, and while the bubble was still trying to dissipate I could see its edge like a big black horizontal line through the middle of the world, but that’s about it until I got the contact. The vision never did come back at all in the worse eye.

I will tell you that if the first gas bubble popped so quickly, it doesn’t surprise me that the retina came with it. My surgeon described it like this: imagine the back wall of your eye is the wall of a room. The retina is wallpaper. The repair work they do in surgery is like the wallpaper glue. The gas bubble is like, if you stand there and hold your hand against the wallpaper to help hold it in place on the wall while the glue dries. That’s why being on your face is so key–as the vitreous replaces itself, the bubble is going to float to the top of it, and you want it to stay against the retina as long as possible, so you need the retina to be at the top where the bubble is floating to. If that makes sense.


#11

I have been to hell and back dealing with eye problems for the past seven years. My vision was fine until seven years ago. Then everything started to go all at once. I have had vitrectomies in both eyes, tons of lasering and injections, developed advanced cataracts and had both of those treated. I currently have an Ozurdex implant in one eye. They other eye seems to be quiet on its own right now.

The main thing I want to say is, that it’s really hard when it all seems to be happening at once. I have been where your boyfriend is, worrying about whether or not I was going to lose one, or both, of my eyes. Hanging in there. He will get through this initial phase of it. Things will get better. The dr will get ahead of the situation. It takes time. As I said, I have been dealing with eye issues for seven years. It’s only been in the past two years that things have finally settled down. I’m not at the eye dr every week any more. I can finally go a couple of months between appointments. My vision is fairly good. One eye is a little better than the other one, but I drive and work a full-time job and a part-time job. I’m functioning at full capacity. For the first year of my journey through eye disease, I was in bed crying most of the time. It’s hard, scary and I sympathize with your situation.

Be patient. There will be resolution. It’s a bit of a waiting game. The good news in all this is that the technology today is outstanding. Diabetics with eye problems used to be told they were out of luck. There are so many tricks the retina specialist have up their sleeves today to save sight and restore sight and keep us all going. My brother has also been in this situation. Thereagain, he’s been down that tough lonely road through diabetic eye problems. He, like me, has come out the other side with somewhat stable vision. He works and drives and lives a very full life. We are both around 60ish. As was said above, it’s scary whether you are 23 or 63.