Retinal detachment but had for a while?

(7 Posts)
Retinal Wed 10-Mar-21 02:29:03

So yesterday afternoon noticed a marked increase in floaters in my eye particularly my left one. A new darker, pronounced quite large ‘squiggle’ was bouncing around in my vision and also an overall ‘speckled’ rash of teeny pinprick bright and dark dots. I thought it might be something to do with my blood pressure as I have high blood pressure and am on 2 medications for it - I’d had some distressing news and thought maybe my BP was up. After about half an hour it was still there so I called opticians and got appointment first thing this morning.

At opticians I was given the usual tests (I’ve had glasses for over 40 years so get eyes regularly checked) - puff of air glaucoma test, drops to dilate pupils etc. I noticed that they began to focus on my right eye and was confused by this. I had an awful peripheral eye test where, because of the drops everything was far too blurry for me to notice anything but the central flash of light. Anyway it turns out they’d spotted a retinal detachment in my right eye.

I was sent to eye hospital immediately and was so worried that I was about to go blind at any minute. I was seen by one Dr in the eye clinic who had a good look and who then said he would like to consult with another Dr who came in the room and also had a good look. The 2nd Dr said ‘have you not had any ‘shadow’ in your eye at all?’ and I said no.

2nd Dr says I have quite a big retinal detachment but it looks like it may have been there for sometime - possibly years. I explained I’d had my last eye test 18 months ago and no one had spotted anything then. He said it might have happened since then or it might have been missed. He said as he doesn’t know how unstable it is he didn’t want to operate as it’s a complex surgery with varying success rates and he wasn’t sure whether it was appropriate to operate without knowing if the tear had settled or was in the process of getting worse. He said ‘he didn’t want to open a can of worms’. He said if I’d presented saying I’d had flashing lights and a sense of a curtain coming over my vision then he’d probably operate but I hadn’t presented with that classic scenario.

I asked if the newly acquired floaters in my left eye were a sign i was about to get a detachment in that one and he said possibly so I should look out for the same symptoms. But I’m confused because I’ve got a detached retina in one eye without me noticing what’s to stop me from getting another one. I saw the retinal scan they took and the area where it’s detached.

I’m desperately worried. I’ve got to go back in 2 weeks where they’ll take another scan and obviously see if there’s any deterioration. In the meantime I’ve got to be aware and look out for any changes. But if any of you have floaters in your eye - I’ve always had them - you kind of train yourself to ignore them don’t you? If you actually start focussing on them you tend to see them more and they get in the way. I’ve been paranoid since I got home and worry that I won’t sense properly when there’s a change. I had 3 loads of drops in my eyes so I’m still a bit fuzzy anyway and my varifocals are playing up so I’m not getting the acuity of vision I need anyway. I was hoping to get a new set of single vision specs but all this has distracted from that.

Sorry this is long. Does anyone on here have experience of a retinal detachment? Especially one that is being left as a ‘wait and see’ rather than a dramatic straight into surgery scenario? The 2nd Dr described all the complications of the surgery such as lying for up to 10 days on my side and the fact that you’ll need further surgery to remove the cataracts it causes in both eyes (?) - he really was trying to get across the fact that he didn’t want to operate if there was the slightest chance he didn’t need to. I’ve had great advice on here in the past (have changed username for this) Any advice would be very much appreciated!

OP’s posts: |
hampsteadmum Wed 10-Mar-21 03:19:02

I had retinal detachment in both eyes which was discovered during a routine appointment at the opticians (at my lunch break!) 23 years ago. I
was told the tear/detachment must have been happening slowly over a long time. I was sent straight to hospital. I then had surgery within 2-3 days to stabilise the position. Any lost vision will not be recovered but they can do cryotherapy, laser therapy, put a buckle in. That was the position back in 1999, in any event. They may be able to do more things nowadays. I was operated at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London. Privately for expediency. My surgeon has since retired but I've seen a couple of times Mr Chien Wong. You need to see a specialist surgeon who deals with retinal detachments. I would not delay. All the very best luck!

hampsteadmum Wed 10-Mar-21 03:28:07

I completely agree about the tendency to ignore floaters. Had I known sooner I would have insisted on more thorough eye examinations. I am quite myopic and the shape of my myopic eye may have led to the detachments. For what is worth 22 years later I have not had a cataract surgery... 🙃 I do have early (ish) onset of cataract but it is manageable. It was explained to me at the time that if you leave the detachment untreated it may result in loss of vision. I thoroughly recommend
Moorfields Eye Hospital in London.

littlewedding Wed 10-Mar-21 07:58:53

Contact PALS and ask for a different doctor to review your case?
The ophthalmologist is probably right, but I agree I would feel uncomfortable with your situation.
Or could you pay for a private review with a different doctor?

Retinal Wed 10-Mar-21 11:03:55

Thanks all. I live in Glasgow so was seen at the eye hospital here. I used to live in London and know that Moorefields is excellent. Not in a position to go private unfortunately but obviously would beg, borrow or steal if I thought it would save my sight.

I might call up and ask to speak to the Doctor. He stressed that they normally have no hesitation in operating and have had 5 surgeons working away carrying out surgery throughout the pandemic. I guess I got a 2nd opinion as I was seen by 2 doctors but perhaps one was more senior?

My floater in the left eye is bugging me - it’s such a noticeable one floating almost into the middle of my vision as I’m typing this - quite distracting. But that’s not got the detachment (although I refer to it as my ‘bad’ eye because I had a squint op on it when I was a child and it’s never been brilliant and remained my weaker eye... until now.)

I’m at a loss really. I don’t think they were trying to avoid me having the op because they were disinclined to operate for the sake of it - I think they were genuinely trying to avoid potentially exacerbating an issue that would not cause any additional problems in the here and now. It’s just an odd situation to be placed in.

hampsteadmum how was the surgery for you, recovery time etc...? My eye prescription is currently 6.25 distance in both eyes and 3.75 near - I think that’s classed as very short sighted and I know that leads to an increased risk of detachment. I’m also pre-diabetic and am wondering if that’s affecting my eyes, oh and high blood pressure too.

OP’s posts: |
hampsteadmum Wed 10-Mar-21 13:09:37

@Retinal The operation was quite straightforward. It's 22 years ago now so can't remember timings very well. I think I was in hospital for 2 days (one night) and then at home for a week before I went back to the office. There was no pain whatsoever but had to cover one of my eyes that week I stayed at home. I did not have to lie on my side or anything like that.

AuntieDolly Wed 10-Mar-21 13:26:32

The posture after the op depends on the position of the tear. Luckily for my husband it was on his back on the sofa, so no change there. I’m really surprised they aren’t operating as it is a serious thing. The cataract operation afterwards worked really well for my husband and he is much less short sighted than he was before.

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