Torn retina anyone?

Discussion in 'Hangar Talk' started by Chuck Buchanan, Oct 11, 2019.

  1. Chuck Buchanan

    Chuck Buchanan Pre-Flight

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    Tore my retina a back in April. Just went thru 3rd surgery. Anyone else go through something like this?
     
  2. Blatham489

    Blatham489 Pre-takeoff checklist

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    My best bud had one detach (partially maybe) and I believe he’s had 3-4 surgeries as well, he’s still not 100%, it all started with cataract surgery.
     
  3. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    I had a complicated PVD about 3 years ago that resulted in a horseshoe tear, fixed using laser. I had a vitreous hemorrhage with it that recurred once after the surgery, but there was no further damage to the retina and I only had the one surgery. Not sure how common it is to require multiple surgeries; you definitely have my sympathies.
     
  4. Chuck Buchanan

    Chuck Buchanan Pre-Flight

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    Thanks Azure.
    The first surgery was for a detached retina. That surgery seemed to have a good effect. Gas bubble was used, and healing coming along nicely. Then, as a result of the laser, had cataract (Dr said b4 surgery this would be required) removed & replaced with acrylic lens, as is customary. I was almost out of the woods; gas dissipated, and Dr found a slight tear (tears only get worse) so back into the surgery, and another gas bubble. So far so good. When the gas bubble was almost completely dissipated, I began to have original symptoms. Back to the Dr, this time referred to the go-to Dr at Emory in atlanta, diagnosis is PVR. Today, I am post surgery 10 days, have a (silicone) oil bubble, and so far, so good. But completely recovery is 6-10 months. Vision today is about 20/100. I was 20/20 when this started. But, prognosis is “close to 20/20” no pun intended, by summer of 2020. Oh, I closed the paperwork on my 1st aircraft two weeks before this all started.
    First world problems.
     
  5. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Good luck for a thorough recovery!
     
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  6. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    My turn .. horseshoe tear. first symptoms Christmas Eve; surgery on Monday. Two procedures. Pneumatic retinopexy (the gas bubble) and cryopexy (freezing the wall of the eye).

    two questions ..

    1. How long for the gas bubble to dissipate?
    2. Suggestions for reliably getting eye drops in? I’ve been putting soft contact lenses in my eyes for over forty years with no problem, but between my blink reflex and poor aim it takes about 3 attempts to get the antibiotic and steroid eye drops in.
     
  7. olasek

    olasek Pattern Altitude

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    Yes, torn retina was diagnosed in my eye but I was told the typical laser surgery doesn't apply in my case, the tear is too small.
    Side effects - some large floater and million little 'droplets' in my view. Now, 3 weeks later all those droplets are practically gone but some ugly floater remains.
     
  8. Chuck Buchanan

    Chuck Buchanan Pre-Flight

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    I’m on surgery number three. Two ops with the gas bubble, both resulted in a resulted in a re-tear. 3rd attempt, with a silicon bubble, looks like it will succeed. It took about 6-7 weeks for my gas bubble(s) to completely dissipated. 1st surgery was May 7th of ‘19. The last operation was Oct1st. My advise: follow doctors orders. Head positioning is critical. Follow instructions to the letter. I did so, and still had two surgical goes at trying to restore my sight. It can be a most frustrating experience, but don’t let it get you down. There are a whole lot worse things than this to go thru. Count your blessings, make the best of this. Good luck.
     
  9. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Do you mind talking about what caused your bubbles? I am diabetic and have bubbles in my left retina which, until they shrink or go away, are delaying surgery to correct nearsighted and cataracts. Hope the retina doc will have good news tomorrow and we can get on with things.

    Good luck and may your condition clear soon!
     
  10. Chuck Buchanan

    Chuck Buchanan Pre-Flight

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    Hi Jon,
    Sure, no worries talking about this. But I think there’s misunderstanding about the bubble(s) to which you refer. My bubble took occurred as a result of a surgical procedure called vitrectomy, where the surgeon uses a laser to repair or reattach the retina, and then subsequently replaces about 80% of the vitreous fluid of the eye with a gas bubble. The function of the bubble is to assist in keeping the retina in place until it heals naturally. The bubble is an inert gas, harmless to the body, and dissipates completely in 8-12 weeks. The gas used in my procedure was nitrous oxide, which i’m told is typical. It sounds like you have a completely different issue from mine. One small tidbit of advise for your case (worth what you paid for it)... have you looked at your diet? It is my understanding that a high protein, high fat, low carbs, low sugar diet helps a lot of people with the onset of diabetes. Many people get completely off all medication, B/P drops to great numbers, cloresterol likewise improves greatly. There are several versions of this type diet out there, with one caveat; it is a pretty significant change for most people. And it is not so much a diet as it is a lifestyle, permanent change. The keto diet, Adkins diet, paleo diet are all examples of what I described. Good luck to you sir.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2020
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  11. painless

    painless Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I had a cornea transplant plus intraocular lens replacement 1 1/2 yrs ago. Need daily drops as of yet.

    I get in front of the mirror and pull the lower eyelid down. While doing that, I get the eye drop bottle in position, aiming at that pulled down area, as close as I dare to the eyeball. While holding the bottle in position, I tilt my head back to vertical, then give the bottle a squeeze. Seems to work for me.
     
  12. Rushie

    Rushie Pattern Altitude

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    Wow, so sorry you are going through this again. I had a tear in my left retina, caused by the normal age related vitreous detachment. I had 3 or 4 laser procedures, then a cryo. My tear and detachment did not cover the macula, and they just nailed down around it to keep it from progressing. I have a blind spot there (other than the regular blind spot) but it’s not central so I don’t notice it at all. It’s on the nasal side so doesn’t affect my peripheral vision. Because of the location it wasn’t critical to reattach that part and so I never had a bubble or anything enter the globe. But the cryo, they went all around the “equator” if you know what I mean. (They freeze from the outside.) That retina isn’t going anywhere now. But my vitreous was left with a lot of ash and floaters. They could do a vitrectomy but I’d rather live with it than do something invasive and deal with the resulting cataract.

    You have a great attitude. It was a terrifying experience for me.
     
  13. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Chuck thanks for the info and good words. Good news from the retina doc, left side has improved enough that he cleared me for cataract surgery. In addition to fixing the cataracts they are going to correct severe near nearsightedness. Looking forward to no more glasses or contacts except for reading. Also to have normal color vision again because right now everything looks gross with an orange yellow cast.
     
  14. Chuck Buchanan

    Chuck Buchanan Pre-Flight

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    Hi Rushie,
    I’m wondering, with all the work you’ve had done, what Is your vision after all this work, compared to what it was before. Were you able to get back to 20/20?
     
  15. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    Had second follow up yesterday to the Monday procedures. So far, so good. Before the procedure the ophthalmologist said there was about 80% probability of success.


    mine was .5ml of sulphur hexaflouide. Doc said about 4 weeks for mine to dissipate.

    my tear is at the 12 o’clock position, so fittingly I guess my North Pole was frozen. Yes, it looks like I’m looking through a bottle of muddy river water.
     
  16. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    thank you. I will try that.
     
  17. azure

    azure Final Approach

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    Ugh... I remember that feeling well. In my case it was due to a vitreous hemorrhage, a side effect of the retinal tear (bridging vessel torn as the vitreous pulled away). I still have more floaters than I'd like in that eye. Best wishes for a complete recovery.
     
  18. painless

    painless Pre-takeoff checklist

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    One thing I forgot to mention is rest your hand you are holding the eye drop bottle in on the hand you are pulling your eyelid down with. Keeps things steady.
     
  19. jonvcaples

    jonvcaples Pre-takeoff checklist

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    First procedure for cataracts and myopia next week second the following week. Looking forward to the world no longer being yellow and possibly not needing glasses!!!!

    Thanks for the tips on applying eye drops.
     
  20. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    update...new detachment at 3 o’clock position. Vitrectomy with new bubble yesterday, so starting over. Upside is vitrectomy went ahead and got rid of most of the detritus floating around in there.
     
  21. Chuck Buchanan

    Chuck Buchanan Pre-Flight

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    Sorry to hear this Van Johnson. I completely empathize with you. The first time one goes thru that retina detachment thing, it's hard to take it seriously. But the second tear....it is incredibly discouraging to see that curtain come down into one's vision, having experienced it once already, and that "here we go again" feeling. Try to keep your chin up. In the not-too-distant past, this event was the precursor to blindness in the affected eye. Knowing that (for me, at least) any vision recovery I may experience is all gravey. Follow the Doc's orders to the letter. Head positioning is crucial. Drops (on time, and in do not fail) are also crucial. As for me, my 3rd surgery back on Oct.1st is holding, at least so far. I did the silicone bubble on attempt #3, the previous two surgeries were the gas bubble, neither of which worked for me. The downside to the silicone is that it has to be surgically removed as well. My surgery for that proceedure is scheduled for mid April. I'll keep the board updated, as things progress. Warm wishes for a speedy, successful recovery. Oh, I find that books on tape are a great way to pass the time (or stories on YouTube, but simply listen, rather than watching, would probably be ok)
     
  22. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    4 weeks since second surgery. Healing ok. The second procedure drastically changed the refraction in my eye though. Went from 20/20 corrected to 20/80. Waiting to get in to see my optometrist to see what he can do near term. Ophthalmologist said she normally recommends people wait 3 months for vision to stabilize before getting new prescription. But right now I’m not sure I am even legal to drive, much less fly.

    Also have lost some of my peripheral vision in my lower field of view. Doctor said this may be permanent, or it may come back in time. You don’t realize how much you subconsciously rely on that peripheral vision. I notice it when I step off of curbs or go down stairs. Brain is learning I need to move my head now.

    Oh, and the other side effect; the cataract is starting to form. Dr. estimates cataract surgery in 12 to 18 months.

    But it is not life-threatening, and it is not loss of independence, so life is still good.
     
  23. Van Johnston

    Van Johnston Cleared for Takeoff

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    Update: new contacts on Monday to correct -2 diopter shift in injured eye. Back in the air this morning. 1.7 and 7 landings. Thank Congress for basic med.
     
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  24. Chuck Buchanan

    Chuck Buchanan Pre-Flight

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    Congrats Van Johnson! I too, have taken advantage of Basic Med, and have flown maybe 15 hours in the last 4-6 weeks, in our C-182. My retina remains attached (so far, so good). My next Ophthalmologist appt is on March 10th. Doc. indicated he’ll take the silicone out of my eye in early April, and replace same with saline. If in 5-6 weeks post saline op, everything holds in place, I’m probably out of the woods. At that point, it’s just a matter of IF I can get my vision back good enough for a 1st class medical, to return to work (Airline pilot). I am very happy for basic med. a “win”’for pilots, for sure!