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A few years ago I suffered torn retinas in each eye within…

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A few years ago I...
A few years ago I suffered torn retinas in each eye within months of each other. They were both treated successfully with lasers, although I still have a lot of floaters. Yesterday I suffered a hemorrhage behind my left eye and I am completely unable to see out of that eye. I have the following questions...
1) How is the hemorrhage related to my past retinal tears? Are they related?
2) The doctor said this could take months to clear up. How risky is the surgery to fix this and how well does it usually work?
3) Does the fact that my floaters never cleared up imply that the blood may not clear up either?
4) Does the fact that I had retinal tears in both eyes within months of each other mean that I'm at increased risk of having a second hemorrhage in my other eye, leaving me basically blind (without surgery)?
5) If I decide to wait to see if the left eye clears up, is it okay if I start driving by just relying on the vision in my right eye? (I'd start slowly to try to get used to it.)
Thanks!
Submitted: 7 years ago.Category: Eye
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3/4/2011
Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 12,008
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Dr. Rick :

Hi. I'm online and happy to answer your question today.

Dr. Rick :

Hi

Customer:

Hi. Do you need me to repeat it or do you have it? Also, may I ask...are you a retina specialist?

Dr. Rick :

How long ago did you have the laser retinoplexy in the affected eye?

Dr. Rick
Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD
Category: Eye
Satisfied Customers: 12,008
Experience: Ophthalmology since 1994 with Retina sub-specialty interest
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Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
Just ignore the fact that you hit the accept button already....we will continue to work on your question using the Q&A format until you have got the information you need. :o)
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Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
Let's start with the easy question first: Yes, you can drive with the vision in one eye as long as it meets the visual requirements for your particular state (had to put that in for all the Lawyers out there....) As you so aptly stated, just be careful as you will have no depth perception.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
If you're referring to the laser procedure after the torn retina, it was probably about three years ago.
Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
4. Yes, and no. It depends why you have bleed in your eye this time. It may not be related to your prior detachment....for example, it could be from abnormal blood vessel growth from diabetes etc.
Did you have an examination already since the bleed in your recently affected eye? Was it by an optometrist, a general ophthalmologist or a retina specialist?
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Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
Ok. Laser from that long ago would have already formed the maximal strength scar to hold the retina in place.
Next question: #3. No. The floaters are from clumps in your vitreous and don't go away. The blood should clear with time. If it doesn't clear, or if a B scan should show a retial tear or detachment in progress then the blood will be removed with surgery. This surgery will also remove the floaters.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
it was examined by a retina specialist. He did a sonogram and also examined me visually with an eyepiece of some sort. And I have no history at all of diabetes.
Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
2: the surgery to remove the blood is called a pars plana vitrectomy (ppv). This is a common surgery done by retina specialists and it works very well to remove blood from the back of the eye. Like all surgery, it has risks. You WILL get a cataract afterwords that will require a second surgery to fix. There is also the risk of infection, bleeding, poor result, retinal detachment, retinal swelling, loss of vision and, in very, very rare cases, loss of the entire eye.
#1 Laser retinoplexy from 3 years ago would not be expected to be responsible for your vitreous bleed today. That being said, if your vitreous had not completely detached then traction on the laser scars or other retinal structures could have caused a new retinal tear and the bleeding.
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Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
Well, having a retina specialist examine you with a B scan (ultrasound) and handheld lenses is the best exam you can get for your condition. As a retina specialist myself I'd have to say you are in excellent hands (but, of course, I am biased :)
Have we covered all your concerns? Sorry about having to use the slower Q&A, but thanks for paying me early ;)
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Thanks so much for all the info. Bot***** *****ne...would you recommend that I wait months to see what happens before I opt for surgery? I'm very hindered by this condition but maybe I'll get used to it? (Also, please note that the past episodes were tears, not detachments.)
Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
Oops... I knew that the past events were tears and not detachments. Sometimes my fingers type without being completely connected to my CPU.
Yes, I would recommend waiting for the blood to clear as long as the B scan is ok. In many cases it clears and surgery, with its attendant risks, is not needed.
Of course you should sleep with the head of your bed elevated a little bit, no lifting or straining, avoid bending over etc to allow the blood to settle.
It is always better to give nature a chance to clear things up before rushing to surgery....even if that means my daughters have to go another winter without shoes :(
Anything else I can answer for you?
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Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
Looks like we have covered all the bases then......Let me know if I can be of any further service. Best of luck to you.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
LOL...well said. How long can it potentially take for the blood to clear? I'm most concerned about the driving issue as my wife only drives very locally (don't ask). My retinologist advised me not to drive for weeks as he said it takes a long time to get used to the one-eye vision, but I'm thinking that may be a little too cautious. And it is a major hardship for us not to be able to get around. That's the main reason I'm tempted to consider the surgery.
Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
I would rather you drive carefully now instead of using this as a reason to rush to surgery...you'll be OK, just watch out for the Kindergardners crossing the street.
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Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
It can take a few months for the blood to clear and, even then, there may be the occasional large clump that floats across your vision.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
one last question...the inredibly blurred vision (it's really NON-vision) in my left eye when it's open is interfering with my vision in my right eye. Is there any reason I shouldn't block it with an eye patch? I think that would help. Thanks again.
Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
There is no reason at all not to wear a patch. It won't hurt a thing. Another thing you can do if you wear glasses is to put scotch tape, or some other tape, on the lens of the affected eye. This might block your vision enough to address your discomfort.
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Customer reply replied 7 years ago
Thanks again for all your help!
Eye Doctor: Dr. Rick, Board Certified MD replied 7 years ago
My pleasure. Have a good day.
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