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How To Heal Face Down While Recovering From Vitrectomy Eye Surgery

Learn more about vitrectomy procedures, why it's important to recovery face-down, and how to heal correctly in a way that doesn't compromise your neck and back.

In this article:


A vitrectomy is a surgical procedure where the vitreous, a gel-like substance that fills the inside of the eye, is removed to provide better access to the retina. This allows for various types of eye repairs to be completed to address issues that may be affecting a person’s vision.

Reasons a vitrectomy may be necessary include:

  • Diabetic retinopathy

  • Retinal detachment

  • Vitreous hemorrhage

  • Infection inside your eye

  • Severe eye injury

  • A hole in the central part of your retina (macula)

  • A wrinkle in the central part of your retina

  • Certain problems after cataract surgery

All of these medical issues can cause vision loss and if not treated properly, some can result in blindness. There are cases where a vitrectomy can restore lost vision.


According to the American Society of Retina Specialists (ASRS), “Severe complications are rare and anatomic success for vitrectomy is over 90% for many conditions. Advances in instrumentation, techniques, and understanding of diseases of the vitreous and retina have made vitrectomy and retina surgery more successful.”
Surgery for diseases that were once incurable, such as macular hole, is now routinely performed with excellent results. The list of indications for vitreous surgery continues to grow. The ability to directly work on or near the retina holds great promise for the future, not only to prevent vision loss, but to restore and enhance our ability to see.”

The surgical procedure is only one aspect of the correction process.


In most cases, you'll be able to go home the same day. Plan to have someone drive you home after the procedure and be sure to follow your eye doctor’s instructions about eye care!

If you had a gas bubble placed in your eye during your vitrectomy, you’ll need to follow special instructions about positioning your head after surgery.

animated eyeball displaying gas bubble floating in the eye to help the retina reattach

Recovering face-down allows the gas bubble to float into the correct position and it holds the retina in place to heal correctly.


According to American Academy of Ophthalmology:

  • You must stay face down at all times, unless your eye surgeon tells you otherwise. This means staying face down when you stand, sit, eat, walk, and sleep. To stay safe, have someone with you when you walk around.

  • Your surgery may not work if you do not recover in the recommended position. This is because lying in the wrong position puts pressure on other parts of your eye. That can lead to other eye problems.

  • You cannot fly in an airplane until the gas bubble is gone. Altitude changes can cause your eye pressure to rise. That can lead to problems with the bubble.


There are various options to consider when buying or renting equipment to make sure the recovery process is comfortable and your eye heals correctly from a vitrectomy or retina surgery.

Renting a massage table, massage chair, or other recovery system may sound like a great idea… however many companies charge extra over a certain number of days and the recovery time may vary from person to person.

When you rent equipment, you're hoping the company you’re renting from is taking all the necessary precautions when it comes to sanitizing and repackaging their recovery system units (especially during COVID-19).

Many patients approached Z Medical after renting a massage table or massage chair. They experienced back and neck pain from lack of neck, pelvis, and spinal support. Massage tables and chairs were never designed for extended face-down recovery from retina surgery.

We designed our affordable, portable, full-body Recovery Systems to reduce strain on the patient's neck, back, and pelvis to create a more comfortable vitrectomy recovery experience.

Our Deluxe Recovery System and Inflatable Recovery System leverage Pelvic-Tilt Technology to promote alignment, prevent spinal compression, and reduce stress on your lower back!

Our team designed our Deluxe and Inflatable Recovery Systems with infection control and sanitation as a top priority. We only offer our affordable Recovery Systems brand new (no renting!).

Our goal is for patients to enjoy peace of mind knowing your recovery system is hygienic and was never used by a complete stranger!

Visit our shop to learn more about how our affordable Recovery Systems can help you or someone you know heal correctly. (and in comfort!)


Helpful Resources:

DISCLAIMER: The information on this website is not intended to replace a one-on-one relationship with a qualified health care professional and is not intended as medical advice. It is intended to be a reference based on research and information compiled by Z Medical. We encourage you to make your own health care decisions based upon your research and in partnership with a qualified healthcare professional.


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