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Advice/retina.problems

Posted by chickenmom 7b/8a, DFW, TX (My Page) on
Sat, Apr 11, 09 at 17:59

My husband noticed a sudden new batch of "floaters" and when he saw the eye doctor (who is listed as specializing in retinal surgery) was told that he had two places on the edge of his retina which had been stretched which allowed some of the vitreous gel to leak under these areas and cause the sudden floaters. The complicating factor is that we are supposed to leave on a Trans-Atlantic cruise next Saturday. He asked the dr if we should cancel the cruise and was told not to make any changes in our plans and to come back in a week so the dr can see if anything else has changed. We had planned to fly to Houston before the trip and fly from London to DFW afterwards. I've heard flying might be dangerous with retinal problems. During the cruise we will be at sea for 5 days straight which would make it very difficult to get to an eye doctor if there is a problem. Does anyone have any experience with "stretched" places on the retina? Or any our advice related to this problem? Thanks for any info!! Debby


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Advice/retina.problems

Do you have time to see another Dr.?
Your eyes are nothing to mess around with,you only have two.

My dad had a retina detachment,i do not know if this is the same thing or not,but he let it go for jut a few days,my mother had just passed away,and he did not think it was serious,they did what was called a "Silicone Buckle"FAST!
He lost his sight in that eye.
Don't want to scare you,but, please check in with another Dr.
We take our sight for granted.
My dad may have had something entirely different.Always better to be safe,than sorry eh?
Carol


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RE: Advice/retina.problems

Hi Debby,
I think Carol is most definitely right. I really hope you rethink. My late FIL lost his sight and a couple of friends are losing their sight to macular (sp) degeneration. I just don't think I would take the chance. Eyesight is too precious.
Best of luck to your DH.
gg


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RE: Advice/retina.problems

I've tried to get him to agree to get a second opinion, but he won't budge. If there is any chance he might need to get to a dr quickly we won't make the trip. I've read online that you have 24 hrs to get to a retinal surgeon if you have a detachment or you very likely will lose sight in the eye. Right now, the dr says he does not have a detachment or a tear. We'll see what he says Tues. Thanks for your help. Debby


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RE: Advice/retina.problems

Debbie,

From personal experience as well as with my hubby I can give you the following info from my retina specialist. He is also a professor at a prestigious medical school in Boston.

What your husband has is a new weakness in the retina that has caused the viscous gel to escape, hence the sudden onset of new floaters.

He may not have a tear or detachment at this time, or when he saw the doctor, but the area is weak and needs to be monitored very carefully and frequently for a period of time.

In my husband's case, he saw the retina specialist every 2 weeks for what was planned to be 6 weeks and was given very specific restrictions.
He was not to ever bend over and put his head below his heart.
He was not to get on his hands and knees to work in the garden
He was not to lift anything more than 10 pounds.
He was to drink extra amounts of fluids to keep the eyes hydrated as well.

At the 3rd visit of the 6 weeks, he was found to have the retina area torn and immediately had surgery to repair the tear.

The restrictions he had prior to the actual tear continued for 1 year and where then lifted, but he has never been able to lift anything over 50 pounds, and can not keep the head below the heart at all now.
But he can do the gardening.

In my case, the floaters where a sudden onset about 3 weeks after having spinal surgery.

I was found to have the same thing as your husband and was monitored for quite some time.
I never did develop any tears or detachment, but my floaters have never fully settled down either.
They aren't any worse than they where, but not any better and it's been several years.

If it where my husband and myself planning this trip and where dealing with the situation you are dealing with, we would cancel going and be safe.
I understand that there is money involved with not going that you may or may not lose, but vision is more important than the trip.

Even if the doctor says it is OK to go, I would still rather be safe than sorry.

As for flying, I don't know how that affects the retinas or if that would or would not be a problem.

Good luck

Fran


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RE: Advice/retina.problems

Thanks, Fran, for telling me about your experiences. I am very concerned about taking the cruise, since we would be so far from medical help while crossing the Atlantic. The money is nothing compared to my husband possibly losing sight or having more problems with vision. I think we have been more confused about what to do since the doctor seemed to indicate that he saw no problem with going ahead with the trip. I am thinking that it didn't really register with him that we will be far, far from any possible medical treatment during several days of this trip. I didn't go with my husband for the first appointment because I thought it was just an issue of floaters and I knew we all get those as we get older. I have a long list of questions for the doctor and I really think when he considers the logistics of getting to medical care from mid-Atlantic he is going to suggest skipping the trip. Even if he doesn't, my husband and I have discussed not taking the risk and just staying home while we see what happens with his eye. We did get trip cancellation insurance when we made reservations for the cruise, but I'm not sure how that would work out, since the policy states we would get a partial refund for "life threatening" medical emergencies. But, again, the money is nothing compared to losing your sight. I am a totally addicted reader and I cannot imagine life without books. I very much appreciate your response and hope both you and your husband are doing better with your vision issues. Debby


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RE: Advice/retina.problems

Debby,
I do so hope you stay at home.Every thing Fran said,my father was told the same thing,when he finally did get the surgery, it was to late, and all he waited was a couple of days after seeing the floaters.The sight in his good eye became bad,and he ended up wearing glasses so thick they looked like coke bottles,he was never again steady on his feet,your whole equilibrium gets off balance,he was driving my mother to the grocery store, needed to make a left hand turn,because he could not see out of his blind eye,he did not see the semi coming,my mother was killed instantly.Please!!!! Stay at home.
cAROL


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RE: Advice/retina.problems

Debby,

Has your husband seen the eye doc again yet?

What where the results?

What are you doing about your trip?

How all is well.

Fran


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RE: Advice/retina.problems

Yes,Debby,
I was wondering the same thing,how is every thing?
We are all thinking of you and your hubby.
cAROL


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RE: Advice/retina.problems

Sorry to take so long to give everyone an update on what happened with my husband's eye situation. I called our travel insurance company to see what was possible as far as evacuating when we were out in the middle of the ocean. I also talked to our travel agent and the cruise line just to be sure what the procedures would be if we needed to get to a doctor quickly any time during the cruise. Then I went with Gerry when he saw the retina specialist. I had looked up the doctor's information online and checked the state site that shows if any complaints have been filed against him. That looked fine. The doctor seemed very conservative and very professional and after meeting with him we both felt comfortable in taking the trip. All went well on the cruise and Gerry has seen the doctor for a follow up after our return. The doctor told him his eye looks no worse and unless he has more problems he doesn't need to come in again for a year. The doctor also told him that, although he does have cataracts in each eye, he does not need to rush into having caract surgery. This is directly contradictatory to what another doctor had told him a year ago. The retina doctor does cataract surgery, but since the only problem Gerry has is with night vision-mostly on small roads when it is raining-it is his decision when/if he needs to have the procedure. I had been worried about the way the previous doctor seemed to want to rush him into the cataract surgery, so this was good news. I appreciate so much everyone who took the time to reply!! Thank you!! Debby (and Gerry)


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