Posturing after Vitreoretinal Surgery

What is posturing and why must I do it?

This is the position you need to adopt, tilting your head at a certain angle, in order to maximise the chances of success of your surgery. During your operation, a small bubble of air, gas or oil was injected into your eye. Prof. Stanga will tell you which posture is needed following your surgery to effectively support the recovery of your eye.

How do I posture?

Prof. Stanga will go through your posturing position with you and demonstrate what you need to do. The angle and time the posture is required to be held for are completely unique to each patient.

How long do I need to posture for?

In order to reach the best outcome, it is crucial that you follow your posturing instructions given. You are able to move whilst posturing but you must maintain your head in the position specified.

You must remember to take regular breaks every hour to reduce fatigue (the muscles in your neck may feel tight and ache) and allow for your blood to easily flow throughout your body. Whilst on your breaks, you should take regular walks and do leg exercises to stimulate your blood circulation. Alternating between sitting and lying positions whilst keeping your head in the same position can help.

We advise you to follow a healthy balanced diet and stay well-hydrated. You should use your breaks to eat and drink. If you need to go to the toilet, you can break for this whenever required. The side effects of holding your posture for a prolonged amount of time can be constipation and dehydration. If you experience this, you should get in touch with your GP for advice and treatment.

What will my vision be like straight after surgery?

You will experience a significant reduction in vision until the bubble has sufficiently reabsorbed. You will only be able to see large objects in close proximity.  Vision will be blurred and this could be comparable with seeing underwater.

What happens to the gas or oil bubble in your eye?

The process is different depending on whether you have had an air, gas or oil bubble injected. If you have an air or gas bubble, this will be naturally absorbed and replaced by fluid produced by your own eye. This can take between 1 – 8 weeks, depending on the type of gas used. You may be able to see the gas bubble in your line of vision, appearing as a blurry black line. As the bubble reabsorbs it will get smaller and will appear to shrink and move down in your line of vision. The bubble may also split into multiple smaller bubbles, whilst being absorbed. On a bright day, you may notice a reflection cast by the gas bubble too so you may wish to wear sunglasses to help with this.

If silicone oil is used, this will require surgical removal at a later date decided by Prof. Stanga. You are able to fly in an aeroplane if you have silicone oil in your eye.

Posturing after Vitreoretinal Surgery