Facedown recovery from retinal surgery

Tuesday, January 02, 2007

How to stay facedown for 1-2 weeks


Four years ago, I was eating lunch and saw some weird, maroon-colored floaters--big ones, like tree branches--cross my vision. By the time I left the restaurant, I could not see the front door of the place and by the time I got to the ER, I could not see the triage nurse, much less how many fingers she was raising.

Doctor after doctor followed until I finally had to have emergency surgery for a totally detached retina. It was floating in my blood-filled eyeball.

One aspect of that, I learned, is that you need to stay facedown 24 hours a day for a week or two afterward. In some retinal surgeries, an air or gas bubble is placed in the eye and must float up to the back of the eye to keep the flimsy, cobwebby retina in place after it is lasered on.

Being facedown even to sleep seemed impossible to me. The doctor's instructions were pretty cursory...I kept rereading the sheet. I had no idea what to do. Finally, I figured if other people could do it, I could. I invented ways. And then I rewrote the doctor's sheet.

Your doctor's instructions may vary. Follow his or hers. But this may give you some good ideas of how to accomplish "facedown."

The little pamphlet is available for download for $10.

If you have more tips, please comment.