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Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 11363
Experience:  Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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I am a very active 65yr old female. I've just been diagnosed

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I am a very active 65yr old female. I've just been diagnosed with vitreomacular traction syndrome, they've told me I need surgery... had OCT and an angiogram. Still waiting for some results. I was told this is serious. Should I continue to work out, lift weights? jog? Will exercise make it worse? Can I have a glass of wine? What caused this to happen? What they haven't told me is what the down time is for vitrectomy (?). What I can and cannot do during recovery. What exactly they are going to do. I trust my doctor, but I am lacking answers right now, web info not very helpful.
Hi. I will be happy to help you with your question. Can you tell me if your vision has been affected by this condition? Did you ophthalmologist tell you that you have a retinal tear or detachment?
Customer: replied 7 years ago.
No tear or detachment. I was told that I had an impending hole. My direct field of vision in the affected eye is distored. I cannot read with that eye.

Your vitreomacular traction syndrome (vmt) is affecting the area of your eye called the Macula. As you may know the macula is the part of the retina that is used for all our important visual tasks such as reading, driving etc. What occurs in vmt is that a strand of the jelly in the back of your eye (vitreous) gets "stuck" to the macula as the main body of the vitreous naturally shrinks and pulls away from the retina. As the retina is placed under traction (think of the retina as wet rice paper on a flat surface) it tents up, distorts, starts to leak fluid and possibly rips. It it this distortion of the retina along with the leaking and swelling that causes the loss of vision.

With new generation OCT systems many times the offending strand of vitreous and the tenting of the macula can be seen. The angiogram (fa) adds to the diagnosis by showing the amount of leaking in the macula and the presence of any macular holes, pseudoholes or bleeding. I am glad that you do not yet have a macular hole. I am sure your retina specialist told you that even with surgery a macular hole is possible, although it might be possible to close any hole that forms with surgery.

At this point there is no need for you to limit your normal exercise routine (unless, of course, you are training as an olympic power lifter :) and you can continue to enjoy your usual diet, including a glass of good wine. As to what caused this to happen it was nothing that you did or didn't do. It is a condition of the eye that just occurs for no particular reason. (I do not like to say "normal aging"......)

During surgery the doctor will remove the jelly in the back of your eye (vitrectomy) and in the process cut the offending strand of vitreous. She may also have to do a membrane peel (a clear layer stuck to the macula), macular hole repair if needed and gas/fluid exchange. Your eye might be left full of a long acting gas post-op and, if so, you may have to position your head so as to keep your face down for a variable period of time (days to weeks). If there is a gas bubble placed into your eye you can expect to have a cataract form over the next year or so which can be corrected with cataract surgery.

The take home message is that you do need this surgery to keep things from getting worse. It sounds like you feel comfortable with the retina specialist you are working with so my advise to to stick with her and work together to correct this issue and, hopefully, get your vision back in that eye.

I hope I've been helpful. If I can answer any further questions, even post-op, feel free to contact me. Another source on the web that may be helpful is the American Academy of Ophthalmology,

Best of luck and have a good day.

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