I really need some help if anyone has any knowledge or has been through the same thing?!
On Sunday (21 Aug) I got hit in the eye with a football. Straight away I lost my vision in the right eye and had to go hospital as it was bleeding quite badly.
Upon seeing the specialist I have a tear in the front of the eye and an extremely bruised retina (he had much bigger words to describe this but this is the jist of what I took from it, actually he didn't explain things very well at all.) He said I am at high risk of retina detachment. My vision in the right eye has improved but is still very blurry and eye is a bit sore but not too bad. I have floaters and it is harder to see out of the bottom left corner. I am on 2 types of eye steroid eye drops, one to drop eye pressure and another eye drop not sure what it does.
I can deal with all of this but what I can't deal with is that he told me no movement for six weeks. My life revolves around running and Crossfit and exercise and I cannot fathom not doing anything for six weeks. How important is it not to do anything? IS there anything I can do? Walking? light jogging? Swimming? Pressups/ core exercise? I honestly don't think I can just sit here, I have already been walking on the treadmill even though I really really know I should not. Or at least is there any idea of a more realistic time frame? Like I said my specialist was not very sympathetic, he just did not understand how important this is to me and was rushed and always on the phone to another patient so you can see why I am not too ready to listen to him.
Does anyone know roughly how long I need to worry about the risk of retinal detachment after the initial trauma to the eye? A week? Two weeks? When does the danger reduce?
Thanks so much for any help or advice you can give me, I know when you look at it as its my eye or no exercise for a few weeks, the choice is obvious, if I can't I won't, but if there is anything I can safely do I would love love love to know because I feel horrible, just horrible sitting here unable to do anything. I don't want to risk my eye but I feel like there must be something I can do to keep me sane!
I am sorry to hear you ran into the football :-D Joking aside, I have not personally experience trauma in such a way, perhaps others can give you their perspectives on this. I am not quite certain what you mean by "a tear in the front of the eye". Does the "front" mean cornea? (the part where people put their contact lens on) or the front as in the front part of the eye globe? Was there any active bleeding inside the eye? The fact that you are still having trouble seeing, it means not all is perfectly well. The two drops you are using are likely to lower pressure and to decrease inflammation.
When you have an injury like this, there are lots of possibilities of things happening in your eye including angle recession in which the ciliary muscle is torn which could lead to increase intra-ocular pressure and possibly to glaucoma. The risk is not very high, but it is definitely there. So it depends on how strong the force was which could lead to some structural changes to your eye globe causing different problems. But as far a the retina goes, the top two worries are Tractional retinal detachment, and Retina Dialysis.
So in layman's terms, blunt force trauma to the head especially the eye is not to be taken lightly. I am sure that your doctor would not order you 6 weeks of rest unless he felt it necessary. Depending on what his findings were, he probably felt that that would be enough time to let your eye to stabilize and recuperate without unnecessary force and movement. I know some patients had been ordered to have bed rest altogether. The risk continues to lower day by day, but I don't think you will be out of the red in a week or two for sure. You mentioned that you were not allowed to do all the exercises you love, actually one thing you didn't mention, and that's coughing :-) Coughing fits and violent sneeze are also risks (well...really depends on your retina condition) but I have seen them causing blood vessels to burst and complete darkness to the person involved.
I understand what you mean about your doctor being unsympathetic. Everything is relative, and he probably had seen a lot in his time. To him, 6 weeks were nothing if you could have a healthy eyeball back with no sequelae.
I don't have any advice for you as to what things you can do in the meantime. I can only say that to trade 6 weeks of a sedentary lifestyle for good vision is a whole lot better than a life time of none.
I do sympathize with you. I know the thought of being inactive is driving you and most people nuts. But you will learn to adjust slowly. I personally went through a bilateral feet surgery couple years ago, and I made myself stay put (bed rest and feet up) for 6 weeks, and no exercise for 3 months, honestly! But the time will pass by real quick.
I wish you the best of luck. Be sure you go for your followups and take it easy, literally :-)
Thanks so much for responding to me. I didn't think anyone would and its nice to know that there are people out there who take the time to reassure a complete stranger. Thanks for your advice too.
I hear what you are saying and its true, its just so hard to go from doing everything to absolutely nothing all in a matter of seconds when I 'ran' into that stupid ball....
The bleed is in the cornea at the front of the eye (at least that is what I took from what he said) but the tear is not the big problem it's the retinal bruising and that risk of detachment.
Actually your comments on coughing freaked me out a bit, as luck would have it, I have Bronchitis right now and am on Amoxicilin for it and I am not sure what to do about the coughing because I can feel it pressuring my eye but at the same time my chest feels like it is falling apart trying to hold it in. Not the best combination of injuries and illnesses I guess. Wish fate had chosen better for me...
Anyway your comments put it a bit into perspective but I still wish there was something I could do. I don't know how you managed 3 months! Do you run etc, if so how long did it take you to regain your full fitness? Any idea what the norm is for that?
Thanks for responding again, it made me feel a lot better. Still have cabin fever though, wish I could hibernate for a while until eye is healed completely!
I hear ya! Since you are an active health buff, having to sit still obviously will be a herculean task.
Ok. Sounds like you had a hyphema probably caused by torn tissues causing it to bleed into the front chamber. That will take time for the blood to be absorbed too.
Well, it is definitely an inopportune time to have both bronchitis and this injury happening simultaneously. I am sorry that my comment had you worried, it usually happens to retina with very new weak vessels, so it will be unlikely to happen to you, but it won't hurt to be cautious. Is it possible to ask your doctor to prescribe some cough suppressant in the meantime to help, so that you won't feel like you need to hold it in?
I am not as much of a health nut as I hope to be, but I do go to the gym, do outdoor activities and dance classes when time allows. With time, I just slowly got back to it, the problem was my recovery took more than a year to get back to normal. But looking back, it was worth it to ensure a successful recovery
I really don't think you will have any problem getting back in shape. You sound very active and 6 weeks is nothing and will pass quickly. You will have the summer to look forward to. I think it's a matter of fighting your antsiness, so need to come up with activities that will take your mind off which won't jeopardize your recovery. I guess that's the 6 million dollar question here May be consult with your doc again and give specific activities like long walks, easy hiking etc to see if it's alright for you to do? Just make sure no heavy lifting, no jumping or impact movement of any sort that can jostle the vitreous/retina within the eyeball.
Once again, wish you the best of luck and a speedy recovery. Unfortunately this is a battle of your psyche vs. you Take it easy!
Last edited by earthworm88; 08-24-2011 at 05:53 AM.
Thanks again for another great reply. You are very right in that It is a battle against myself.
Good news though, I got cleared for walking so I think that I can reach a compromise on that note and restrain myself from running (I think). It is just so good to have my freedom back somewhat. The thought of actually going outdoors is such a wonderful thought.
Doctor also said that strength exercise might be ok as there is no evidence that this affects the retina in terms of detaching. Does this sound right to you? I find this a bit hard to believe as when I try to do press ups etc I can feel the pain in my eye and the pressure. Maybe the pressure is ok and its just the impact that is the worry? In which case, I live by a massive mountain with a gravel path. Surly running up it only would not be much impact? I have always turned to running up it when I have had leg injuries because of the fact the impact is so minimal because of the steepness of it?
Anyway thanks so much for your replies. Your keeping me sane here and making me see reason! Also I got some cough medicine prescribed so that has been helping loads.
Well, that's some good news! I am glad you got a piece of your sanity back by not being completely locked up in your invisible prison. Ok, let's try not to push your luck here, walking is great, but keep the running for later.
Logically, strength exercises should be ok, (really case dependent though) but if I were you (being extra paranoid about vision), I would probably do very minimal amount and avoid altogether if you can convince yourself of that (fat chance, right? ) I have seen guys going at it until their faces turn red. Since you have already experienced some discomfort while doing press ups, I would shy away from that. May be concentrate more on lower body exercises instead and proceed if you don't get negative feedback on your eye?
6 weeks of "chilling" is just the standard precaution, but if you are able to take it slow, chances are you may get the clean bill of health from your doc earlier.
As for the steep gravel path up the mountain, I think you should stick to walking up it for now, and may be move on to running only after you get the ok on your next followup visit? I would still be a bit worry because it's gravel and God forbid, you somehow slip and fall, there's an impact you don't want. So I would say rather be safe than sorry
As always, hope you will have a speedy recovery and still sane at the end