I can't answer your questions in the way you want/need, but I can totally relate to wanting to talk to someone who has gone through a surgical procedure like the one you're facing--especially on your eyes. I can speak to the cataract part of your question. Hopefully someone else can give you input on the retina surgery.
Have you asked your doctor all these questions?
It can help to have them typed out like you have done here, and then bring the list to his office.
Although, the last time I did that we didn't get through the list.
So if I was doing it again, I'd number the list, and start by saying that I have whatever-number of questions to ask. That way, if he gets up to leave, I (you) could say something like, "That answers question number 6. We have just questions 7 and 8 left for you to answer."
Having had cataract surgery this past year, my biggest regret has been not fully understanding the risks and benefits.
One question (for your retina surgery too) should be something like, "How urgent is it that I get it done right away." It sounds like he answered that question already, but maybe you could get some numbers on the likelihood of the retina tearing in, say, the next 6 months if you don't do it now.
And ask him if you could be asleep for the procedure.
I wish I had waited for my surgery, because cataract surgery is generally not urgent, and the cataract has to be pretty bad before the results will be better than the cataract. But ophthalmology is developing very quickly these days, and it seems every six months the newest replacement lens inplant is technologically far ahead of the earlier model. I'm a librarian, not a medical professional, but I still regularly check the latest info on IOL's (intraocular lenses). For instance, I just read this abstract from the journal, Ophthalmologica
, about a newly developed lens that will be adjustable after
it is in the eye:
Conclusion: Initial data suggest that the *Acri.Tec AR-1 PC/IOL can be safely implanted into the capsular bag of adult human eyes and can beadjusted after implantation, thereby achieving the desired change of refraction. Further exploration of the potential usefulness of this type of reversibly adjustable PC/IOL as a tool for refractive optimization is warranted.
There's also work on a lens that will give the patient the ability to have sharp vision in less than bright light--a drawback with current replacement lens technology.
So if/when you have to decide about having cataract surgery, I would recommend waiting as long as your doctor says is possible.
I actually got a second opinion before my second cataract surgery, and wished I had done so before my first. Even though the 2nd opinion was no different than my doctor's, it was a tremendous psychological relief for me.
Sorry to be so long-winded, but I hope this helps.