Author Topic: Moisture Chamber Options?  (Read 6244 times)


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Moisture Chamber Options?
« on: March 18, 2011, 08:36:39 am »
Everyone's experience here has been so helpful to me in being prepared for my AN outcomes and how to manage them! I hope you can help with some additional suggestions.

I had a large AN removed at HEI 3 weeks ago. Fortunately, they were able to remove the whole tumor and leave the facial nerve intact. Unfortunately, the nerve is unresponsive and I have no movement at all on that side of my face. Dr. Brackmann feels that most of it will come back eventually, but I know that it will take some time. In the meantime, eye care is my top priority. I'm currently wearing a moisture chamber 24/7.

I saw an ophthalmologist this week, and she recommends that I continue with the moisture chamber 24/7 for now. I have to admit that my eye definitely feels better when I'm wearing the patch but, I have the impression that it is not usually a very long-term solution. Has anyone else continued with a moisture chamber 24/7 for an extended period of time?

With the moisture chamber, I can sometimes get by with Refresh Plus drops during the day, but often, especially if I'm out, I'm finding that I'm more comfortable with Celluvisc. The problem is that it blurs my vision. I know others have said that the other eye compensates, but I'm finding that, between the drops and the patch, my vision is really reduced. I can't imagine how I would be able to drive and I'm trying to figure out how I can get back to my normal activities. Will I get used to this eventually?

The other obvious discussion is gold weights. The ophthalmologist thought it was too soon to start talking about gold weights until we have a better idea of how long it will take for me to get my blink back, if ever. I'm not eager to have any more surgical procedures of any kind, but realize that it could make my life a lot easier. I know from many of your posts that the weights are often temporary and are later removed as the eye recovers. One question I have about timing is, do the gold weights interfere with an MRI? I know I need a follow-up MRI in a year, and I wouldn't want to have to have the weights removed just so that i could have the MRI.

Any suggestions about how to get back to as much normal activity as possible while waiting to see if I get my blink back are appreciated!

Right AN diagnosed Sept. 2010 - 4 cm x 3 cm x 3 cm
Debulked via translab Sept. 2010
Removed at House Feb. 2011
CSF leak with blind sac closure and lumbar drain March 2011
Unresponsive facial nerve, platinum weight


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Re: Moisture Chamber Options?
« Reply #1 on: March 19, 2011, 07:23:08 am »
Hi Pam:  I only use a moisture chamber at night for sleep.  It says not to wear it more than 12 hours at a time b/c of the risk of infection.  I use Refresh PM lubricant during the day - I have adjusted to the blurriness.
I have a platinum weight - neither one will interfere with an MRI.
Continued healing.  Always good thoughts,  Nancy
2.2cm length x 1.7cm width x 1.3cm  depth
retrosigmoid 6/19/06
Gold weight 7/19/06, removed 3/07
lateral tarsel strip X3
T3 procedure 11/20/07
1.6 Gm platinum weight 7/10/08
lateral canthal sling 11/14/08
Jones tube insert right inner eye 2/27/09
right facial paralysis
good to go.


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Re: Moisture Chamber Options?
« Reply #2 on: March 26, 2011, 09:37:50 pm »
Hi Pam,

After surgery for the removal of a large AN, my husband wasn't able to close his right eye. Within a few days, the neurosurgeon recommended a weight implant, but Ken resisted. He wanted to see if normal movement would return.  After a few more days, he agreed to have the implant. The occu-plastic surgeon implanted a  platinum weight and it  made a huge difference in his daily life. With the weight, he is able to go through the day with the use of lots of drops.  Up until recently, he used a moisture chamber or Glad Wrap to patch the eye at night, he now uses a generous amount of Refresh PM and a regular sleep mask. As much as Ken didn't want to have another procedure, the weight implant was the right decision for him.  At 18 months, the weight is still in place wile the facial nerve is slowly improving.  The weight helped him return to normal activities. 

As Nancy said, the weights don't interfere with MRIs or metal detectors at the airport. My husband traveled for work and that was a concern.

Husband diagnosed 5/30/09 with 3.2cm right AN
Surgery at  Columbia Presbyterian 8/4/09
Platinum eye weight implant - 8/17/09
17 days in hospital and rehab
SSD, facial weakness, some tinnitus, headaches , balance and eye problems


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Re: Moisture Chamber Options?
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2011, 01:19:44 am »
Pam -

My situation was/is kind of similar to yours - my nerve wasn't cut but was damaged enough that it was unresponsive at the end of surgery. I also started out with the moisture chamber (though yours sounds fancier than mine - mine was plastic wrap held on with a ring of petroleum jelly). I got a gold weight 1 month after the AN surgery and didn't use the moisture chamber at all after that. I'll be honest, I did not like the procedure. I don't blame you for not wanting to jump into it. But, not having to deal with that patch made things much better and I was able to work on my dizziness more with that extra vision hindrance in the way.

I started getting some movement back around 5-6 months post op and now (1.5 years post op) am at about 50%. The thing is, all the movement I have back is between my jawbone and cheekbone - not above that. The docs have told me this is normal. So if your face does start movement just know that it might not mean a blink. I don't say this to be disappointing just to say that a lot of patience may be needed (or not, who knows!)
For me, even with the weight I've had to also get a tarsorrhaphy to improve my blink. Both the weight and the tarsorrhaphy are reversable if more function ever comes back. It's easier to reverse those relatively minor procedures than to repair an ulcerated cornea.
Gold and platinum weights don't interfere with MRIs. It's really not too early for you to think about getting one - some people get them before they leave the hospital from the AN surgery. Pretty much everyone who gets them seems to feel they are helpful.

I use refresh ointment at night (or the Target brand.. the other store brands are pretty much wrothless but I like Target's) and celluvisc drops in the day. It's true that you get used to blurriness. It takes awhie s give it time. But for me it's much better than tryingf to look through the plastic wrap! I'm so used to it now that I'm even back to drawing blood and starting IVs on patients (I'm a nurse), which I wasn't doing for a good while because my depth perception was so off with one blurred eye.
25 year old OBGYN nurse, wife, mother of two
5.5cm x 3.1cm left side AN removed via retrosigmoid 9/09 @ Hopkins
SSD, Tinnitus, Chronic Migraines, Facial paralysis (improving!)
Resolved - Left sided weakness, Cognitive issues
Gold weight, upper and lower punctal plugs, tarsorrhaphy


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Re: Moisture Chamber Options?
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2011, 08:34:53 pm »
I had the same problem after my surgery. I used the refresh drops before leaving for office to have clear vision while driving. After arriving at office I put in the Refresh gel which made my eye blurry but got used to it fter sometime. Before leaving for home again use the eye drops to clear vision for driving. The moisture chamber was used for sleep. I hope this helps.