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Certain retinal surgeries require that you keep your head in a face down (parallel to the ground) position during recovery. If this position is not maintained for several weeks after surgery, the surgery will not be successful. 

Here is the reason why: Surgery to correct a retinal detachment or a macular hole involves the removal of the vitreous from your eye through a vitrectomy. After the retina has been treated, the space in your eye is refilled with a gas bubble or silicone oil to help the retina reattach or the hole to close. Keeping your head in this face down position allows the bubble or oil to remain in the correct position so it heals as quickly and effectively as possible. Raising your head, flying in an airplane or even traveling to high altitudes during recovery can raise your eye pressure and cause other vision problems.  

The good news is that your body will eventually refill the gas bubble with your body’s own natural fluids. Until then, it is of the utmost importance that you follow your doctor’s instructions and maintain this face down position as long as necessary. With time the bubble will be replaced with your natural body fluids. You will know that the bubble is disappearing when you see a line in your vision that slowly moves down in your field of vision. 

Tips to Keep Your Head Down at all Times 

  • While sitting at a table, lay your head on your folded arms 
  • While sleeping, lie face down and allow your operated eye to hang over your pillow or edge of the bed 
  • Purchase or rent equipment specifically for this type of recovery: 
    • Massage table
    • Adjustable face down chairs
    • Tabletop face cradles to allow movement of your arms and hands
    • Face down pillows
    • Face down mirrors to allow you to see things around you

Your insurance carrier might cover some of the cost of face down recovery equipment. Our practice does not endorse the products provided by the following companies, but this may be a good place to start your research:  

If you have any questions about face down recovery in Renton, WA, please contact us today. Call (425) 228-6262 or click here. 

If you have a general question or would like to request an appointment, please use our online form, or call us at (425) 228-6262.

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