Retinal Detachment Support Group

Retinal detachment is a disorder of the eye in which the retina peels away from its underlying layer of support tissue. Initial detachment may be localized, but without rapid treatment the entire retina may detach, leading to vision loss and blindness. Occasionally, injury or trauma to the eye or head may cause a small tear in the retina, which allows fluid to seep through, and peel it away like a bubble in wallpaper.

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Depression after Retina Surgery

On December 13th after experiencing flashers and floaters my husband had a gas bubble inserted, followed by laser surgery in his right eye for a horseshoe tear. Going back for his one week check up, the doctor discovered a hole in the retina of the same eye. From this time forth my husband has been very depressed and parnoid of what might happen next. He is always giving himself "eye tests" trying to assess his eye. During a family trip to Disney over New Years of which his doctor encouraged his attending, a blood vessel must have burst over the first laser incision. In his eye he saw tiny dots of blood and cloudiness. My husband was sure that he had another retinal detachment, though he didn't see any flashers. He totally freaked out and we immediately headed to the ER. At the ER they couldn't see anything and suggested he see a local specialist the next day. My husband was so worked up that he insisted that he head from the ER straight to the airport and get on a flight home immediately. That evening he was seen by two of his doctor's associates. Neither could find any detachment. The next day he went and saw his specialist who agreed that there was no detachment, but that a blood vessel had broken. I am very concerned about mental well being. Yesterday morning after learning that he was only a blood vessel he had a panic attack when he got up. Has anyone experienced any of these issues? If so, how did you get through them?

Replies

thewalker
thewalker

I really feel for and understand your husband's distress. My eye troubles started a couple of years ago. I had 2 detachments in my right eye and one in my left within a short period of time. I had terrible anxiety and panic attacks throughout my surgeries and healing months that followed. Once you experience one detachment, the chanced are higher that you might experience more. The fear of losing your eyesight altogether is tremendous. It's now been two years since my surgeries and I am feeling much better mentally but there is still the memory of the detachments, surgeries, and fears that it might happen again. Try to be gentle and understanding with him and have him talk over his fears with his doctor and be reassured that all is well. With each check-up I went to during my recovery, I felt better and better as the doc told me how well I was doing. Also go on the internet and find deep breathing exercises he can do to help aleviate his panic attacks.
By the way, when I had my gas bubble surgeries, my doctor would not let me air travel until such time as the gas bubble completely was gone.
Best wishes for an uneventful recovery.
froggy1234
froggy1234

I wish I could say something helpful, but I can only say I think it's wonderful that you are asking these questions for him. I have had so much depression since I had my Retina Detachment last year, it actually detached in Feburary 2011, but when I went to an eye doctor because I knew something was wrong, but he saw nothing, no detachment. It was 2 Months later when I got to see an opthomologist who gave me the bad news, and was sent to have surgery 3 hours away from home. They told me they did not expect a good outcome even with surgery but I had no options as they said. I did have the surgery in May, I had only 25 percent attachment at that time. It attached fine and the first couple weeks was alright except headaches and pain from the buckle and stitches. In 3 Months I was suppose to get the oil out if it healed, to make a long story short those 3 months were torment, I had so much trouble with the drops, the pressure in my eye, the drops had scratched the surface of my eye so bad I couldn't go outside at all for those 3 Months. For 1 week of that time, I began to get some vision back, then it went away basically. They couldn't see me right away so i had to wait about a month later and it had redetached so the Doctor, told me even if i have the surgery again it won't help my vision and I should just leave it alone, he also told me it wouldn't get any worse, not true, it is so much worse. I want to go get a second opinion, but I have no insurance and when I think about going to another doctor because I was treated so badly I cringe, it panics me, just the thought of it. I have had vertigo for years and this eye problem, really causes alot of panic attacks. I will say one thing for you and your Husband, if you have a caring and compassionate Doctor, it will help tremendously. When the Doctor told me my retina detached again, I cried and I think it offended him that I cried, go figure. Good Luck with this, There are alot of success stories out there, don't get discouraged and it is hard but can be done.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks SO MUCH for the replies. I keep trying to make my husband understand how forunate he has been compared to others I have read about. I am trying to be as patient and understanding as I can ... Yesterday was week one since anything adverse has happened. He is doing his best to at least go through the motions of being normal .... he has no confidence though and is extremely emotional, a part of him I have never witnessed in 30 years of marriage. In regards to the gas bubble and flying .... it was gone for several days before the flight and he was encouraged by his doctor to go on the trip. He continues to complain about light .... while watching tv he wears a hat, and even with sunglasses outdoors the sunlight really seems to bother him. He insists on sleeping with a light on, and says it takes awhile in the morning for his eyes to adjust. I know even if everything contiues to go well that it is going to be a long time until he is his old self ... if ever. It is a very dark time in our lives .... the kids are all gone and we were starting to fix things up around the house and talking about a trip to Europe. It just seems like life has come to a standstill ....
thewalker
thewalker

All I can add is that time will make the anxiety better as long as he keeps recovering. How is his eyesight at this point?
deleted_user
deleted_user

As far as an actual vision test, they say that he is 20/20. With that said, he has alot of floaters and cloudiness. By profession he is a Sales Executive, and has the luxury of working from our home 3 days a week. While working at home, he is unable to work from his office as he says that the lighting in that room "cuts right through his eyes". In turn he has moved into the dinning room making it his temporary office until he can find a way to deal with the lighting. Yesterday was the first day out working at a clients office. He is trying to drive during slower times of the day and before dark, as he is still very unsure of himself. He questions his reflexes and response time, as well as doesn't always feel confident that what he is seeing is accurate. He said that working at the clients office was tough, as again the lights were tough on his eyes. He also complained about having to "look around" more .... people asking him questions. He says that at home he can position his head and the floaters and cloudiness aren't so bad, but that when he is out and about with people coming at him at all directions the floaters and cloudiness just seem to go crazy. It is now just one month since the first rentinal detachment was found. Is this normal? Can anyone make any suggestions?
thewalker
thewalker

I'm so glad to hear his eyesight is so good. I will add 2 points. When my retinas detached, I had lots of floaters and spider webby thingies in my vision. During the surgery the doc was able to get rid of all that, I guess by the vitrectomy-though I'm not sure what method got rid of the floaters and stuff but they were gone. After the surgery, I developed cataracts, which can be a side effect of the surgery. After the cataract surgeries, my vision has been excellent with an occasional tiny floater appearing and disappearring at times. Is there a surgery that can get rid of your husbands floaters? Otherwise, I've been told that one does become used to them after a while.
I'm not having as much trouble with light as your husband but I must wear good dark uva/uvb sunglasses even on cloudy days. My night driving is not what it used to be and I don't drive at night unless I know the road well.
thewalker
thewalker

Oh, and one more thing, after my surgeries and recoveries, it took me a while to feel comfortable driving but eventually my fears went away
thewalker
thewalker

I'm sorry to keep adding stuff but I just reread your message about travel to Europe. To give you both hope, my husband and I took a trip to Italy this past fall (a livelong dream come true) and we traveled through Italy by car for 3 and 1/2 weeks and had a wonderful time. It is sad and anxiety provoking in the days and months following surgeries but it does get better. The trick is to to enjoy what you have and try not to obsess about what may or may not happen.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Thanks for all the comments. Things are getting better SLOWLY. The good news is my husband had his 1 month check-up on Feb. 2nd and was told all looked good. The bad news was that the doctor told him that at the site of the horseshoe detachment inside the damned area a section of the flap wasn't sealed and would need to be watched. He said that the damned wall should protect this area and there shouldn't be any problems, but occasionally a damned wall doesn't hold and there can be a problem. This news TOTALLY killed my husband. He is still suffering a great deal from depression. He has been seeing a therapist for the last several weeks and I think it is helping some, but I just don't know if enough. He considers himself "damaged goods". He is losing weight, as he is convinced that eating healthy, exercising daily, and going to church every Sunday is going to prevent additional problems with this eyes. He doesn't what to travel anywhere, as well as he says not much in life interests him. The doctor explained to him that it does matter what he eats, drinks, does, or prays, he could possibly have additional problems. In his mind, he feels he is dying .... the best years of his life are now gone because of this problem. Has anyone else experienced these kinds of problems? If so, what has helped you get over these bumps in the road. I am feeling Iike I am starting to lose patience with him. I know he doesn't what to be like this, but the novelty is wearing off. I am worried .... for us both.
thewalker
thewalker

I truly understand the comment about damaged goods, although I didn't quite put it that way. I am glad he is going to therapy for his depression.
I live with the fact that my retinas detached 3 times and I am at a much higher risk for it happening again. But as my doc says, I know the symptoms if it happens again, and I will go to the doc immediately for treatment.
Sometimes I have bad dreams about losing my vision but for the most part I try to live my life with gratitude and hope. I am 58 years old and having a good, happy life is important to me at this point.
I eat well, exercise, get check-ups and leave the rest to my higher power. You know, "let go and let G_d".
What will be will be.
Your husband, on the other hand has not gotten to this point of his recovery yet. Hopefully, with the therapist's help and his own hard work, he will gradually come to accept what has happened to him.
I've been tremendously comforted by coming here to Daily Strength and talking to people who've been through what I have been through. Perhaps you can encourage your husband to visit daily strength himself to tell his story and read about others like him.
deleted_user
deleted_user

Hi there, I was living in New Zealand in 2005 when I had RD in my right eye, so it followed by surgery, Victrectomy and gas bubble laser, within the two weeks I had tear in my left eye, fortunately got there in time and got it Lasered, after ten months in right my eyes i got cataract so drs performed surgery implanted the lens, I was highly miopic, my vision was -10 in right eye and -8 in left eye that was my reason of detachment, due to the cataract the number decreased it -5 in right eye, those days i joined a group in Yahoo,http://groups.yahoo.com/group/detached-retina/message/37831 its is important to stay positive and help your hubby to go through it and read him all the success stories, this will only get better, some time doctors tell you more than necessary to proctect their profession, things doesnt turn up as what they scare you with, so take it easy, have faith, your hubby will be over all this within in months, i was very fearful when i went throught this for about six months then i decided to stop worring after seeing so many worst expamples around me, think about those who are blind and successfull in what they do, in my next ward there was a six month old baby girl who's retina was detached, that gave me lots of strength...in 2006 i joined real estate sales and never looked back...also did lots of overseas trips now i am settled in Australia, also been married after this surgery and god a baby girl.. so every bad does you good... so look forward for best to happen in the future.. this incident will only make your hubby strong and strong.. just a passing phase of life... when my eyes was recovering... i trained my heart to see things ...the feel factor..I can assure you just a matter of time, one day at a time... soon he will be on road to recovery..keep encouraging him, you have to be strong and have patience to help him better...its just matter of few month..and he has to take it easy .. sorry about my english its not first class...but i thought i share my experience hope it helps..take care be there it will all pay you back with dividends..take care and best wishes
deleted_user
deleted_user

I had 3 consecutive retinal detachments in my right eye and I know exactly how things are. I have to say that somehow I have managed not going crazy and dealing with it one day at a time. I have been diagnosed with lattice and macular degeneration in both eyes and because of the amount of times I had the detachments in one eye, the likelyhood for the other eye to suffer the same luck, is inmininent. I believe that family support is what got me through, my mom was my best friend and stuck through the hard times with me. I was really bitchy when I had to face the damn floor for 3 weeks and every time I see a massage chair at the mall I gag lol... but just be strong and do a lot of research. My dr has been key to my recovery, he is very outgoing and now we are more like friends since I have been seeing him for 6 years. I do get sad when my friends want to go on rollercoaster rides and I cant, but I know that I am the key to a succesful recovery. I know is hard, but life is an ongoing challenge and every time it throws a curve at you, just improvise a move with the best mindset possible. I remember my first halloween after the surgeries I dressed up as a pirate and had a plastic parrot on my shoulder, it was hillarious. Try ( thats the key word) to have the best humor with the situation as the situation permits, Do seek professional help for coping if it is something that you think he might do, but all in all, your love and support is the best thing you can give him...
deleted_user
deleted_user

Detached retina is a very stressy thing, but it probably does not account for the response here. I have been treated (mostly with pills) for 20 yrs. for depression. I believe the current behavior is occuring against the background of a more underlying mental health issue. Keep in mind that these things are really brain chemistry which has changed very slowly over a lifetime. Your husband should see a psychiatrist for the meds and consider therapy as well. Psychiatrists should be good on the meds but are not usually good at therapy. Better chances for therapy with social workers, psychiatric nurses and psycholgists.