FEATURE | Posted Feb. 15, 2017

Mirrored-Prism Spectacles

Improving comfort with face-down posturing after retinal surgery

UC Davis Eye Center staff member shown using mirrored-prism glasses to read a book as a patient would after retinal surgery using gas.New glasses adapted and tested at UC Davis Eye Center are improving quality of life for patients who need to maintain a face-down position as part of the healing process after retinal surgery.

The use of gas is very common in retinal surgery because gas is lighter than fluid and can float inside the eye to help seal macular holes or help re-attach a detached retina. However, patients often have to maintain a head- or face-down position for up to a week to achieve the optimal effect.

But mirrored-prism spectacles that UC Davis Eye Center retinal surgeon Glenn Yiu adapted and tested are helping patients see better while maintaining a face-down position after surgery.

“Although a variety of massage-style chairs, donut-shaped pillows and other contraptions are available to help patients more comfortably maintain this posture during the rehabilitation period, very few allow patients to see without lifting their heads,” Yiu said. “Occasionally, the patient can use a mirror to look around or watch television, but the image is upside-down and reversed.

“This new approach lets patients watch TV or use a computer, and also see their friends and family without lifting their heads,” he said. “The device has the potential not only to provide better comfort during the post-operative period, but also to improve compliance with positioning and hopefully the outcome of the surgery.”

The glasses change the angle of patients’ line of sight so they can still see ahead while keeping their face down. Claustrophobic patients who need to get an MRI use similar glasses, which allow them to see out of the narrow interior of the scanner.

A pilot study with several prototypes of mirrored-prism spectacles that Yiu tested in patients a week after retinal surgery found that the new design improved visual function and quality of life compared to a mirror.

close up of mirrored-prism glasses, which help patients see after retinal surgery

“On average, patients used the mirrored-prism glasses for about 51 percent of their waking hours, and 90 percent reported excellent comfort with the spectacles,” he said.

In summer 2017, the UC Davis Eye Center will be offering mirrored-prism glasses for patients who have had retinal surgery and need to maintain a face-down position. More information is available at the Optical Shop.

The study, “Mirrored-Prism Spectacles for Facedown Posturing after Vitreoretinol Surgery with Gas Tamponade,” was published in the journal Retina.