Radioactive Iodine treatment and Cataract Surgery TIMING!

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Hi All,

I am scheduled for surgery Jan 8 for one eye and then Jan 15 for the other. And of course the doctor wanted to paid in advance for the non-covered charges.

I am having my follow up nuclear medicine scan after thyroid surgery last January for thyroid cancer. I had radioactive iodine treatment last February. I ran into the office scheduler from my Endocrinologist's office at my Pick Up the Radioactive Pill (low dose used for the scan) appointment and she told me my Endocrinologist wants me to stay off the Synthroid until all the blood work is back.  Yes very tired. LOL.

I am need another radioactive (high dose pill) treatment and thus in a quandary about the timing.  I'd hate to cancel my surgery date, but am concerned about the effects on the proper healing of the eye after surgery if I go ahead with the Radioactive iodine treatment say a month later or two or even three. 

Anyone have any information on this?  I will ask my Eye Surgeon this Monday, but more info is better.

Thank you very much,



0 likes, 10 replies


10 Replies

  • Posted

    Man, there are more typos in my post than I can shake a stick at.....sorry...

    Where is the edit button?

  • Posted

    Unfortunately Aronis, there is no edit button  lol  or even a spell check as far as I know.  

    I'm not able to help with your question I'm afraid, but I wish you all the best. x

  • Posted

    Wow, that a toughie.  I can't comment as this is waay out of my league.  Good luck to you.

  • Posted

    Hi Aronis:

    Check with your doctors, but one body part at a time might be best.

    I broke my leg and tore my MCL four days before my scheduled cataract surgery last September.

    My leg surgeon said hold-off on the cataract surgery and the eye surgeon said it would be ok to proceed with the cataract surgery.

    I took the advice of the leg surgeon;  I'm  glad I did.

    Waiting eight weeks for the cataract surgery allowed the leg and MCL to heal (mostly); although cataract surgery was painless and successful, I found it to be very stressful with the travel, the hospital, the high stakes, the expense, the many dos and don'ts, the drops, etc.

    With cataract surgery there are many protocols to follow and perhaps it's best to be able to concentrate on those key procedures without any distractions and without your body trying to heal some other part of your anatomy at the same time.

    But your doctors are the best judge of what should work best for you.

    Good luck to you, Aronis.  Please let us know how it goes.



    (BTW.  Does anyone else experience really-slow typing initially and then typing becomes normal after a few minutes.  The first three sentences of this post took about five minutes and then typing became normal.  Thanks)

    • Posted

      Yes I have same issue not today with the typing but in the past.  Sometimes it is so slow my whole reply glitches and disappears and I have to log back on and restype reply.

      I thought it may be an iPhone thing - sometimes the IOS updates help.

  • Posted

    Hi Aronis - I think this is way out of my league too.  Good luck with the treatment for thyroid.  I had to have nuclear medicine years ago (18 I think) for thyroid but not cancer.  I had a prolonged sore throat (viral) that attacked my thyroid- diagnosis took 6 months.  Was in a lot of pain and several trips to emergency no one could find what was wrong.  When they did had to go for a scan in nuclear medicine and gonon prednisone for the pain.  Something I wonder to this day didn’t cause my early cataracts.

    But if it were me I would hold off on cataract surgery.  It is possible each of the specialists you are seeing won’t know if one affects the other.  But there is a lot of prep & protocol to the drops and sometimes healing is delayed - emotionally this might not be something you will want to face sling with the thyroid.  Cataracts aren’t usually urgent .  If you dondelay hopefully they will redo the measurements to ensure you get the best outcome.

    All the best.

  • Posted

    The plan for only one week between each eye's cataract surgery seems to soon.

    Better to wait at least a month between the two eyes since it can take at least that long for sufficient heaing of the first eye.  Also you want to be sure where the first eye stabilizes at since it might affect the second eye's refraction choice. I'd also want to wait for the second eye until the first eye can take over on hits own.  In my case one week was enough to do that - I needed over 4 weeks at least.

    • Posted

      Typo above, should read:

        In my case one week was NOT enough to do that - I needed over 4 weeks at least to start getting good stable vision after cataract surgery in my right eye.

    • Posted

      Thanks Night-Hawk, that's very good advice.  I had read a lot here to get a feel for how long people were waiting between eye surgeries.  One gentleman was telling about having them both done in two days!

      I have three free contacts they gave me (two single focal length and one bifocal) for the left eye so I can be balanced after the right eye is done. I may end up canceling the second eye if the contact thing works well with my new progressive glasses I bought (without a distance correction) on-line a few weeks ago. I got a set of plus 2 progressives with plan glass tops.

      I was actually surprised they recommended just getting the second eye done the next week.  My left eye has only a minimal cataract and is now my dominant eye.  I was going to just get the right eye done and live with the contact lens solution (pun unintended) until the left eye became a problem. ? Never perhaps!   My surgeon includes Lasic tune up for fine tuning in the price.  The real cost issue is that my insurance considers the use of the laser and the Symfony lens as unnecessary, thus not covered, and the laser is located at the out-of-network hospital across town! 

      If I end up needing another round of radioactive Iodine, I have to wait until March anyway since I can't just take a week off next week!  Going through the process of stopping the Synthroid, getting hypothyroid (not fun) and then getting radiation is a bit of a drag, but at least thyroid cancer rarely kills you! It comes down to how much residual thyroid tissue is left after surgery and how much survives the first round of radiation.  It is very doubtful that any cancer is left, just the remaining normal thyroid tissue next to the recurrent laryngeal nerve.  Personally when I do thyroid surgery I like to leave the nerve alone! So we always end up with some residual tissue. I am trying to figure out if the radioactive iodine will effect the healing of the eye, say two months later, three months, etc.  

      Of course I am going to ask my endocrinologist, radiologist and eye surgeon, I was just hoping someone here had some prior experience. It helps me fine tune my questions to the docs. Certainly reading here helped me ask a bunch of questions when I had my eye mapping appointment.

      Thank you for the input.



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