Frequently Asked Retina Surgery Questions

Below are many of the most commonly asked questions surrounding retina surgery at the Mitchell Eye Centre.

Please note that detailed descriptions are available on our website about retinal conditions and the available surgical options for treating retinal conditions. Be sure to visit these pages as they contain valuable information.

It is important that you follow your doctor’s advice following retina surgery. This may include booking time off work, avoiding certain activities, medication, or other lifestyle changes for the first few weeks after surgery. This page answers many of the most commonly received questions regarding the healing and recovery process.

If any of your questions about retina surgery are not found below, please be sure to inquire with your eye doctor at the Mitchell Eye Centre. Before all surgeries and treatments, we will provide you with detailed information about what to expect.

How long is the wait time before I can undergo surgery repairing retinal detachments?

Macula on retinal detachments are prioritized for immediate repair, typically within 24 hours. Macula off detachments are usually repaired within a few days of diagnosis.

How long is the wait time before I can undergo surgery for a retinal membrane peel or to repair a macular hole?

Typically, your surgery will be booked within 2 months of original diagnosis.

Do I need a driver or a ride home on the day of surgery?

Yes, we recommend that you are accompanied by an adult and or legal guardian to provide a ride home after eye surgery. If necessary, one of our staff would be happy to assist you with calling and booking a taxi, although it is preferable that someone is with you after your surgery.

Will I need to be positioned face down during surgery?

Typically, face down positioning is only required for retinal detachment surgery or macular hole surgery, and usually is from 3 to 10 days in duration depending on your pathology.

Is retinal surgery painful?

No. The majority of retinal surgeries are painless. Minimal post op irritation is usually easily controlled with over the counter pain medication. Patients with scleral buckles may experience more discomfort and will be sent home with prescription strength pain medication in case they experience discomfort.

Do I need to use eye drops afterwards?

Eye drops will actually be started two days before your surgery, but immediately after your surgery the eye will be covered with an eye patch, with no drops needed in the eye. Once the eye patch is removed on the day after your surgery you should resume your eye drops within a couple of hours. Detailed written instructions for your eye drop routine will be provided prior to your surgery.

How much time do I need to recover following retina surgery?

Typically, patients that undergo retina surgery should plan for 2 to 4 weeks of recovery time following surgery. Your doctor will advise you on how much time is recommended to book off work and what activities should be avoided during this time.

Is there any activity that is not recommended after surgery?

Flying is strictly not recommended, usually for the first 3 to 4 weeks after surgery but possibly longer after some retinal detachment surgeries.

For the first 2 weeks after surgery, refrain from driving, any activities involving lifting of more than 5 to 10 lbs, swimming in pools, lakes, or using hot tubs, avoid any activities that would require bending at the waist, avoid reading, avoid the use of computers and mobile devices and anything that would cause you to strain your eyes.

Do not get any water in your eye for the first two weeks after your surgery, as this will risk infection. For personal bathing, either take baths or if you prefer to shower you can use a scuba mask to prevent water from getting into the eye.

Can I watch TV following retinal surgery?

Watching TV is usually ok in the postoperative period, but you should sit at least 2 meters away so that eye movements are minimized. If you are in a face down position, a mirror can be used on the floor to watch TV.

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