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She is 87 has a detached retina. She will need general anesthesia for the surgery. We are worried about the anesthesia causing dementia or other cognitive problems. What is the risk? She has a sound mind and lives alone and cares for herself at present. The question is, "Does she risk this for the sight in this eye?" HELP!

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Someone should stay with this woman 24/7 if she goes ahead with the surgery.
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I don't think that anesthesia and surgery actually cause Alzheimer's or cause dementia. but whatever her decision, it is up to her. I think it is better if you let her decide. She can also ask the help of a professional regarding that matter
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My dad was 90 and had a few eye surgeries for glaucoma as well as for a stone in his bile duct. Mentally my dad is super sharp but I too was very concerned about the anesthesia. However after speaking to both anesthesiologists (obviously separate surgeries) they assured me he would be fine and they have seen even older patients do well so we proceeded and he's a sharp as he's always been. Speak to your mom's dr for the reassurance and proceed. Best to you,
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Go ahead with the surgery because she is of sound mind.
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I am so sorry for you and your mother !!
Unfortunately my mother had the same problem and yes we went ahead with the surgery! The first surgery she had didn't work so the dr did a second one ! It worked but she is totally blind in that eye now ! She has the right eye, it's hard for her to see write etc !! She has dementia Alzheimer's and Louie Bodies!! She thinks the eye will get better!! I won't lie to her tho !
This disease called Macular Digeneration is hereditary and we found out my aunt has it too !!
Good luck to you !!!
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She is of sound mind. Does dementia run in her family? Does she know anyone who actually developed dementia after surgery? Are you constantly stressing the dementia possibility to her? It's her decision. Frankly if it was me, I would have the surgery. I'd rather lose my hearing or my mobility than my eyesight.
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As one who had a detached retina about 9 years ago (at age 55), I had several surgeries that restored a portion of the vision that was eventually lost. A couple of the surgeries required general anesthesia. Whether or not laser surgery would be a choice depends on several factors, as each case of retinal detachment is different. I became blind in my dominant eye, and it took some time to get used to it, but essentially nothing in my lifestyle has been changed. However, it might be different for an elderly person having dementia. Patients having surgery for retinal detachment may have results ranging from total blindness in the eye to excellent vision. By the way, the treatment for a detached retina typically results in a cataract fairly soon afterwards, so this should be taken into account if the patient hasn't already had a cataract or had surgery for it.
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My mother is legally blind and she would do anything to have her sight back she is 88 and living in her own home. She also has Parkinsons, dementia, and the hardest thing for her is not being able to see and she gets very depressed about it. so if this surgery is not life threatening I would do it.
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I would definitely stay with her post surgery. Eye surgery is different from other surgeries in that, simply, they're your eyes, your vision, and your window to the world.

I think anyone would be a bit edgy, especially an older person.
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Nobody stayed with my mom when she was recovering but I was there every day to bring her food and help her with stuff she needed. I don't remember how many times a day I stopped in but she did stay alone overnight after I made up her bed with pillows to keep her in the right position overnight. I don't remember helping her shower, either. I don't know how she worked that out.

Jacqmoo - I think you should talk to your mother's doctor about her aftercare requirements. Your mother would probably need a little extra support in any event because general anesthesia knocks many people for a loop for at least a day or so.
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Just think about it for a minute Jacqmoo, she's 87, just had surgery, won't be able to see properly, will need to eat/drink/ go to the bathroom/ pass her time without going crazy/ take meds/etc ...all while keeping in a face down position. Do you really expect her to be able to stay alone?
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The retina in the left eye has 2 tears and is detached. It will take 1-1/2 to 2 hours for the repair. That is why the general anesthesia is required instead of the deadening of the eye. It is to be done by a doctor with Tennessee Retina in a hospital that handles their surgeries. All are some of the best. She has no dementia and would recover at home with professional equipment to sit in and lie in bed in to keep her face down. Do you think someone needs to be with her 24/7?
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Surgery to save her sight? Go for it. Which eye would be operated on?
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This post reminds me that my sister had surgery on one of her eyes. I don't recall whether it was during "the chemo/radiation years", nor do I recall what the surgery was. It wasn't a detached retina though.

Recovery requiring maintaining a position which kept her face parallel to the floor. I stayed with her, and we managed to create some rube Goldberg adaptations that worked, but we also used it as a bonding time.

For eating, I dragged mattresses down from the second floor bedroom; she laid face down on the mattress, I sat on the floor and helped feed her. We used music as often as we could to keep us both calm.

She also was able to get through her health insurance (through Michigan State) a chair in which allowed her to lean over and rest her head, kind of like a massage table or medical table with a hole for the head.

In thinking over this issue, and what I would do if it were my parent, I now think I would go for the surgery. I think adjusting to vision in only one eye would be too difficult and too traumatic, and especially too disorienting.

There is no guarantee either that she will develop dementia type symptoms. I didn't see these in my 98 year old father in any of his surgeries, including the femur fracture repairs.
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I want to know why the reattachment requires general anesthesia. My mother had the same issue in her 80s and they did the repair with a laser. I don't believe she had any anesthesia at all. (I just called her and she claims there was no anesthesia at all, which was what I recall from being there with her).

The big issue I see is the one Pamstegma mentioned. The recovery is a royal pain and requires someone to be in attendance practically full-time. In my mother's case, that was me. I don't think she had to lie face down but she definitely had to keep her head tilted downwards 24/7 and that was pretty difficult. It also required multiple lengthy follow-up appointments, at least 4 or 5 if I recall, and she had to be driven because they dilated her eye each time. Her surgery was successful though and it saved her eye.
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Corrections: second to last paragraph should read "but not necessarily a given consequence".
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First I would get a second opinion to explore if there are other options for the surgery. If not I think I would still opt to try to restore her vision, research has shown that vision and hearing loss themselves can contribute to dementia. I also know that my own mother's vision loss and hearing difficulties have decreased her ability to participate in any activities and significantly lowered her quality of life.
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What an awful choice to have to make!

First, has the diagnosis been made and type of anesthesia been decided by an ophthalomoligst who has performed a retinal re-attachment surgery repeatedly? This would be my first concern.

Second, I don't know how anyone can weigh the both very difficult options, but...are there any indications that there is any dementia involved now? What would be her recovery options - at home with family? In a rehab facility with strangers?

Generally my inclination would be to get the re-attachment surgery, because as we age, we all need as good eyesight as we can have to help prevent falls. Loss of sight in one eye would require readjustment to her surroundings, and that could be as difficult if not more than the possibility of some level of dementia.

I think I would try to boil it down to acclimation the loss of sight (probably a definite given consequence) vs. possible dementia (a possible, perhaps likely, but not necessarily a given complex).

I wish you peace of mind as you evaluate the complex situation.
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Can she remain face down for 4 days on her own? No she can't. She will need someone with her 24/7 for that time. We hired a nurse to stay with mom (86) but she still kept picking up her head. The surgery was a total waste of time
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