Navigate Up

Retinal Surgery — Home Care

After retinal surgery, it’s important to follow these home care instructions — until your doctor tells you otherwise.


You may return to your usual diet when you get home. Alcoholic beverages, if used, should be in moderation.


You may resume activities as directed by your doctor. This usually is as follows:


  • Riding in a car
  • Shaving (regular or electric)
  • Brushing teeth
  • Showering if wearing patch and using low
  • Shower head
  • Tub bathing (keep soap from the eyes)
  • Walking outdoors
  • Watching TV or movies

One to two weeks after surgery:

  • Driving (if you see well enough)
  • Light reading non-manual work
  • Sex
  • Showering
  • Shampooing hair

Ask your doctor or nurse when you may return to manual labor.

Four to six weeks after surgery:

  • Lawn mowing
  • Lifting heavy objects (more than 20 pounds)
  • Other heavy chores
  • Strenuous exercise or sports


Eye care

  • Apply eye drops. You will receive eye drops when you leave the hospital. Use as directed (see schedule below).
  • Wear an eye patch. You will receive an eye patch to protect your eye and help you feel more comfortable. Wear the patch day and night during the first week. After that, use
     the patch during the day, as needed, or as directed by your doctor.
  • Protect the eye bubble. Your doctor may have placed a gas bubble in your eye to help reattach your retina. If so, you will be told how to keep the bubble in position. The bubble will go away on its own in several days or weeks.

Until then:

  • Don’t lie flat on your back facing the ceiling.
  • Don’t fly.
  • Don’t drive to high altitudes.

Also, while the bubble is in place, contact your doctor before having any other surgery requiring a general anesthetic.

Clean the eyelids, as needed. You may gently wipe the eyelids with a clean tissue or cotton ball moistened with lukewarm tap water.

Special concerns

  • Pain: You may have occasional discomfort after returning home. Use any over-the counter pain medicine (except plain aspirin).  If pain is severe, call your doctor’s office.
  • Light flashes: It’s normal to have light flashes or other visual effects for some time
    after surgery.

Medication schedule

Medicine Times Per Day Medicine By Mouth
(circled) Left Eye Right Eye    
Hyoscine     Diamox  
Garamycin (Genoptic)     Other:  
Econopred (Pred Forte)        


If you are using more than one kind of eye drop, wait about five minutes between medications.

Follow-up care

When you get home, call your doctor’s office to schedule an appointment to be seen
 in ________ weeks.


Telephone: ____________________________________________

You have a follow-up appointment with:



Date and time:






Bring your eye drops and all other medications with you to each follow-up exam.

Emergency care

If you have an emergency, call your doctor. If you can’t reach the doctor, call the emergency

UPMC | Affiliated with the University of Pittsburgh Schools of the Health Sciences | Supplemental content provided by Healthwise, Incorporated. To learn more, visit

For help in finding a doctor or health service that suits your needs, call the UPMC Referral Service at 412-647-UPMC (8762) or 1-800-533-UPMC (8762). Select option 1.

UPMC is an equal opportunity employer. UPMC policy prohibits discrimination or harassment on the basis of race, color, religion, ancestry, national origin, age, sex, genetics, sexual orientation, gender identity, marital status, familial status, disability, veteran status, or any other legally protected group status. Further, UPMC will continue to support and promote equal employment opportunity, human dignity, and racial, ethnic, and cultural diversity. This policy applies to admissions, employment, and access to and treatment in UPMC programs and activities. This commitment is made by UPMC in accordance with federal, state, and/or local laws and regulations.

Medical information made available on is not intended to be used as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. You should not rely entirely on this information for your health care needs. Ask your own doctor or health care provider any specific medical questions that you have. Further, is not a tool to be used in the case of an emergency. If an emergency arises, you should seek appropriate emergency medical services.

Pittsburgh, PA, USA |