Face-Down Recovery After Retinal Surgery

When is it necessary to be face down after retina surgery?

The most common reasons requiring face down positioning after retina surgery is a retinal detachment or a macular hole.

How is a detached retina or macular hole repaired?

To repair a damaged retina or a macular hole the vitreous is removed from the eye (vitrectomy) and replaced with a gas bubble or silicone oil. This bubble helps to reattach the retina or close the macular hole. You may need to keep your head face down (parallel to the ground) for up to several weeks after surgery. With time the bubble will disappear and be replaced with your natural body fluids. As the bubble disappears you will see a line in the vision that will slowly drop down in your vision. While the bubble is in place you should not go up to higher altitudes or take a plane flight.

The surgery will not work unless the correct position is maintained.

How do I keep my head down position at all times?

If you are sitting , try to use a table for support to avoid back and neck discomfort. Fold your arms or palms together on the table in front of you and lay your head forward so it rests on your arms.

If you are lying down, try laying face down with your operated side hanging over your pillow so as to avoid pressure on the eye.

You can rent or buy special equipment (i.e. a massage table) designed to make your recovery period more comfortable. These may include:

  • Adjustable face down chairs
  • Tabletop face cradles
  • Face down pillows

Your insurance may help to defray some of the costs of the face down equipment. Please check with your insurance carrier. Although we can not guarantee these suppliers some of the equipment used by other patients has been supplied by:

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