Quick Action Is Key To Repairing Retina

Seeing flashing lights or floaters? Get them checked ASAP and maybe save your sight.

“The staff at Florida Retina Institute is fantastic. It’s the best staff I’ve ever dealt with in my life.” – Keith

Keith Archer is a man of many talents. He grew up a Maine farm boy in a small town just north of Bangor. During his adult life, he labored in multiple occupations.

“I worked in auto body shops and drove a truck for a while,” Keith recounts. “I was a mountainside logger for many years. I did earthwork construction and building construction. I even did a stint as an inspector with the Department of Housing and Urban Development. I reported code violations at nursing homes and other infractions to the courts.

“Many people believe when children get out of school they ought to know what they want to do for a living. Well, I’ve worked most of my life and still haven’t found my niche. I’m 72 years old and basically retired. I still do some carpentry work, mostly home remodeling.”

As snowbirds, Keith and his wife maintain a home in Maine and a place in Florida. Keith keeps busy with carpentry, but his efforts were severely hampered when he began experiencing issues with his eyes in November 2020.

“There was intense pain behind my left eye to the point I told my wife, If I still have pain tomorrow, I want you to take me to the emergency room,” Keith describes. “The next morning, I woke up and there were giant floating gobs in my eye. I could hardly see through my eye, and it really hurt.

“Today, I have no pain in either eye.” – Keith

“A local eye doctor told me there was a problem with the gel in the back of my eye. He said there were no treatments for it. The condition would either clear up on its own or I’d have to learn to live with it.

“During the summertime, while we were in Maine, my eye cleared up — to a point. When we returned to Florida in October, I made an appointment with the eye doctor. In the meantime, I lost some of the peripheral vision in my left eye. I thought I just needed new glasses, but the doctor took one look at my eye and sent me straight to Florida Retina Institute.”

Detachments and Tears

At Florida Retina Institute, Keith met with Tomas A. Moreno, MD, a board-certified, fellowship-trained retina specialist. Dr. Moreno inspected Keith’s left eye and was alarmed by what he found.

“Mr. Archer reported seeing floaters in his left eye for a few months before he came to see me,” Dr. Moreno recalls. “On examination, I discovered he had a retinal detachment, where the retina lifts off the back wall of the eye. He displayed all of the symptoms, including seeing floaters and flashing lights. In addition, his vision was tunnel-like. He could only see in the very center because most of his retina was detached.

“Because of the significance of the detachment, I chose surgery to repair it. I performed a buckle, where a band is placed around the sclera, or white part of the eye, plus a vitrectomy.”

During a vitrectomy, the surgeon removes the vitreous, or jelly-like substance that fills the inside of the eye. The doctor then drains fluid from underneath the retina, seals the area with a laser and fills the eye with a gas bubble that pushes the retina back into place.

“Following surgery, Mr. Archer actually regained his vision back to baseline, which is an incredible recovery,” Dr. Moreno reports. “I told him if he ever notices new flashing lights or floaters to call me immediately. A few months ago, he experienced those symptoms in his right eye and came to see me within a day or two. This time, I discovered a small retinal tear.”

There are two main techniques for repairing a retinal tear: cryotherapy or laser therapy. Dr. Moreno determined that Keith’s tear was in the periphery of his retina, so he chose cryotherapy, which uses extreme cold to create scar tissue that seals the tear.

Unfortunately, patients can sometimes suffer new tears within a few days of cryotherapy. That’s what happened to Keith.

“I saw bright flashes like lights shooting down the side of my eye, and my eye hurt,” Keith describes. “Then all of a sudden, I saw little circles of light, one inside of another, and then they disappeared. A few minutes later, I saw the bright flashes of light and felt pain in the right side of my eye, so I decided I’d better go back to see Dr. Moreno.”

“When Mr. Archer came back to me, I discovered a new, large tear in the same eye that we’d treated just a few days earlier,” Dr. Moreno reveals. “We applied laser therapy to surround that tear and prevent a retinal detachment.

“He has done very well with the cryotherapy and laser. Because Mr. Archer came in right away and didn’t wait like he did with his left eye, we were able to treat the retinal tear in his right eye before it became a retinal detachment and required surgery.

“Mr. Archer is very happy that he didn’t have to undergo another surgery in his right eye and quite happy that we fixed this potentially blinding condition in both of his eyes.”

“Utmost Confidence”

Keith Archer

Dr. Moreno performed laser therapy on Keith’s right eye in early March. During one of his follow-up appointments in May, Dr. Moreno released Keith to travel to Maine for the summer.

“Today, I have no pain in either eye,” he enthuses. “I still have some floaters in my right eye, but they’re significantly diminished. Dr. Moreno said they’ll clear up on their own over time.”

Keith is pleased with the results of his procedures. He’s also impressed with the retina specialist who provided that treatment.

“Dr. Moreno is a great guy, and he knows his business really well,” Keith raves. “He took extra time and care to help me, which I totally appreciate. He’s done really well by me. He never said anything to me that wasn’t right on the money. He created a level of confidence that I’ve not felt many times in my life.

“Also, the staff at Florida Retina Institute is fantastic. It’s the best staff I’ve ever dealt with in my life, and I’ve been in hospitals many times. They’re top of the line. I have the utmost confidence in Dr. Moreno and his staff. I recommend them to anybody.”

© FHCN article by Patti DiPanfilo. Photos courtesy of Keith Archer. mkb
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    • Florida Retina Institute

      Founded by James A. Staman, MD in 1979, Florida Retina Institute has 19 locations throughout Central Florida, North Florida, and Southeast Georgia. They have proudly delivered Excellence in Vitreo-Retinal Diseases and Surgery for 40 years. T... Read More

    • Tomas A. Moreno, MD

      Tomas A. Moreno, MD, is board certified by the American Board of Ophthalmology. He earned a bachelor of science degree from Duke University and his Doctor of Medicine degree from Duke University School of Medicine. Dr. Moreno completed an inter... Read More