She suffered a retinal tear the day before Thanksgiving.

By Leah Groth
December 11, 2019
NBC/Getty Images

Savannah Guthrie is undergoing eye surgery today to repair the retina in her right eye, after an injury that occurred last month when she was playing with her 3-year-old son.

“I’m sure some folks are waking up and going, ‘Where is Savannah this morning?’” Hoda Kotb said during the opening of Wednesday’s Today.

“Our dear friend miss Guthrie has the day off, she’s actually having some eye surgery,” added Craig Melvin. “She’d had some laser treatments, so now she’s actually going through the surgery. And she’s gonna keep us posted, so we wish for her a very speedy recovery,” Kotb continued.

Guthrie first opened up about her eye injury on November 27, calling into the show to explain why she had been absent that week. She explained that while playing with her son, Charley, he accidentally threw a sharp toy train at her eye, resulting in a partial loss of vision.

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“It happened last week, actually, and then I lost my vision in my right eye about 24 hours later,” she explained. “It turned out to be kind of serious. They were afraid my retina would detach. They told me to just take it easy and they’ve been doing a bunch of laser procedures to avoid having to do the whole surgery.”

“I really did lose my vision in my right eye,” she emphasized. “It was so blurry from — not to get too gross — but there was so much blood in my eye that it completely blocked my vision.”

While she did go on to host the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade on November 28, she has been undergoing laser surgeries ever since in hopes of reattaching the retina.

“The first laser I actually did I had to go under for, it was kind of an emergency,” she explained on the December 2 episode of Today. “They rushed me in there, they shot me up with the big laser, and they were actually not sure it had worked at all, and they thought I was going to have to have this surgery.”

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Also on the show was Guthrie’s ophthalmologist, Annie Negrin, MD, who admit that Guthrie was “really lucky,” explaining that because of the laser treatment she likely wouldn’t have to undergo retinal surgery.

“Basically the eye jiggles, and the retina is like saran wrap, so when you get hit, saran wrap can very easily tear, can get a hole in it, and that’s not a good thing,” she said. “Laser, if you have a small enough tear, laser can basically weld down the outside of the tear to prevent more fluid from getting underneath and more of the retina detaching. So the laser is a really neat way to take care of it. If the tear is small enough, you don’t actually have to go to the operating room.”

The Today hosts didn’t specify whether Guthrie is undergoing the same retinal eye surgery her physician discussed, just that she was having eye surgery.

As Dr. Negrin explained on the show, retinal detachment occurs when a thin layer of tissue (the retina) at the back of the eye pulls away from its normal position, according to the Mayo Clinic. When this occurs, the retinal cells separate from the layer of blood vessels that provides oxygen and nourishment. Time is of the essence when it comes to the condition, as the longer retinal detachment goes untreated, risk of permanent vision loss in the affected eye increases.

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