F***: Me and My Retinal Detachment


Around two years ago I paid a visit to the opticians for my regular check-up. I was conscious that the sight in my right eye had got worse, but wasn’t too perturbed. Ever since I’d started wearing glasses aged 17, my right eye had always been the weakest of the two. But when I went to see my usual optician something wasn’t right. I was really struggling to read the sight chart, even with stronger corrective lenses. The optician put it down to a lazy eye and dismissed me with my new prescription.

I didn’t think anything of it until I arrived home. A lazy eye, I pondered, isn’t that something you normally develop in childhood? Why had it never been diagnosed before? I knew people with lazy eyes and I didn’t have the same symptoms as them. 

Something wasn’t right.

I decided to make another appointment for an eye test with a different opticians. I went along and didn’t mention anything about a lazy eye. I wanted to see what they said. I performed terribly on the peripheral vision test and the optician was concerned by the number of floaters I had in my right eye. He mentioned something called retinal detachment and asked if I’d experienced any flashing lights or other symptoms. Nothing rang any bells with me, so we continued with the test and I went away clutching my new prescription.

When I got home I checked the prescription against my contact lenses. It was weaker than them. That didn’t seem right. I Googled retinal detachment, but still didn’t tick enough boxes for me to think I had it. Then I had an appointment at the hairdressers. At one stage during the hair cut she accidentally covered my left eye with hair. I looked in the mirror with just my right eye.

Something wasn’t right.

It was like looking in a crazy mirror. My face and the whole salon behind it were cinched in at the middle and there were areas that I just couldn’t see. As soon as my cut and blow dry was complete I headed back to the opticians, feeling more than slightly worried.

I was here for an eye test earlier and the optician mentioned something about retinal detachment. I’ve just experienced something weird and I wondered if I could be checked out for it. I asked the helpful receptionist.

The optician agreed to see me again, but he still wasn’t sure that I had retinal detachment.

We can put some eye drops in and take a look, just to be sure, if you’d like, he said.


I agreed, those were the first of many eye drops I was to experience.

As the optician looked into my eye, his face went pale.

I just need to go and speak to my colleague, he said, backing out of the room.

When he came back in he explained that I had some holes and retinal detachment in my right eye and I would need to go to the eye hospital immediately.

What followed was more eye drops and a consultation which confirmed his findings and got me booked in for an appointment with the retinal specialist.


At the appointment with the retinal specialist I knew something wasn’t right (again) when he looked into my eyes and started counting. He was counting the holes in my eyes and, even more worryingly, they weren’t just in my right eye.

Sam post eye surgey 2

What followed was a series of operations. A scleral buckle fitted to my right eye and some cryotherapy to fix the holes in my left under general anaesthetic. A check-up revealed that the cryotherapy had been unsuccessful so I was booked in for a round of laser surgery under sedation. That seemed to do the trick and a few weeks later I was discharged from the hospital with some loss to the peripheral vision in my right eye and instructions to buy some new glasses (the scleral buckle changes the shape of your eye which, in turn, alters your prescription) and not to bungee jump or participate in a parachute jump!


I got my new glasses. I started driving again. My vision had been, pretty much, saved. I was one happy chick.

Until the week before last where I started experiencing some small flashes of light in my right eye. At first they were in the innermost top corner and were a tiny semi-circular shape. They only happened about once or twice a day, if that. I ignored them at first. But then they continued. Never more than once or twice a day, but they were still there. And, then, on the Saturday a big flash in my right eye. I knew flashes were one of the warning symptoms that all was not good and so on Sunday Hubby and I trundled off back the eye hospital. I honestly thought it was a waste of time. I talked myself in and out of going so many times. They were going to tell me to stop being so paranoid and send me away. That’s what I truly thought. So, when, after copious amounts of eye drops the doctor spent a little longer than I’d anticipated looking into my right eye and then made no comment before looking into my left I got that horrible sinking feeling.

Something wasn’t right.

Another hole had developed in my right eye and whilst no fluid seemed to be leaking out of it, it was important that I had laser surgery that evening to prevent retinal detachment. Oh joy! Here we go again. The laser surgery was carried out and a check up appointment with my consultant scheduled in.

Onwards and upwards, I thought. It’s a good job I went and that they could sort it, I mused.

Then, on Friday, I experienced more flashes. I presumed the worst…

Something wasn’t right.

I called the eye hospital and was told to come in to be checked out again. I waited for around three hours to be seen to be told there was nothing new. I love that. Not there’s nothing wrong, there’s nothing new. It’s like saying Yep, your eyes are still screwed, but they’re not any more screwed than they were the last time we saw you. 

I have my appointment with the consultant next week and I’m trying to look on the bright side I really am. But it is getting me down. I’m paranoid every time I bend down that the back of my retina is just going to decide to slide off, I worry about losing my vision and start thinking about making plans for the future. I muse over futile questions. Should we move somewhere with no stairs? How would I do housework if I couldn’t see? How would I do my hair? If my eyes are this bad when I’m just 33, what are they going to be like when I’m 83? I realise these questions are pathetic, I should be embracing the fact that I’m so fortunate instead of musing on the darker side, but sometimes I just can’t help it. On the plus side it does make me feel fortunate and it does make me want to see ‘all of the things’ just in case I can’t at some point in the future…

So if you’ve been wondering where I’ve been hiding for the past few weeks. Under a blanket on the sofa, feeling sorry for myself and resting my tired eyes.

Want to find out more about retinal detachment? This is a really useful guide. And if you have any of the symptoms – go and get checked out immediately, the sooner they catch it the more they can generally do to save your vision.


18 thoughts on “F***: Me and My Retinal Detachment

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    • Thank you for your comment. I’ve just checked out your blog and it’s absolutely brilliant. Informative, entertaining and empowering.

      Where abouts are you based?

      I went for my check up today. I need another round of laser surgery to close up some holes in both eyes, but apparently it’s more preventative than anything else. Fingers crossed things settle down after that. Starting to feel like I’ve got retinas akin to tea bags!

      Hope you’re having a good weekend 🙂

      • Thanks. I’m in the US, Maryland. But I have connected with a number of people in the UK.

        Preventative laser ing can work wonders. Wishing you the best.

        Loved the Beyoncé concert review, too.

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  14. Hi,
    I am so sorry you had to go through this. It’s life changing experiencing for sure.
    I too am only 34 and think it’s such a young age to experience such a problem. I try hard not to make my mind wander in all the negative and dark directions about the future.
    I too still experience flashes in my right operated eye. Though everytime they check, all seems ok, it does bother me. And I have floaters in my both eyes that really upsets me too. I don’t think I had them before the surgery.
    It’s just so hard to go from being ok and healthy to going through a sight saving surgery. Healing and virtual hugs to you

    • Hi, Thanks for getting in touch. Sorry to hear you had to go through this too. It’s not much fun is it and certain things do play on your mind about the future. Happily I’m now 37 and have had no further problems to report of – hope I’m not jinxing anything there. I still have the occasional ‘flash’ but my consultant thinks this is just something I may have now along with increased floaters. I’m happy to accept them – a small price to pay for saving your sight, eh? Big hugs to you too. x

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