Before having extensive eye surgery to reattach her retina, the Today show anchor experienced serious fears about her loss of vision

By Maria Pasquini
January 17, 2020 05:09 PM
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Before undergoing extensive eye surgery last month to fix the tear in her retina, Savannah Guthrie had to face the scary prospect that her vision would never fully recover.

In PEOPLE’s first look at Monday’s episode of The Dr. Oz Show, the Today show anchor — who returned to work earlier this month following a difficult recovery process — opens up about her fears that her temporary vision loss would become permanent.

“Over time, I started to wonder, well, what’s going on here? Is this really going to get better? And, the very last day before I had the surgery, was probably my darkest moment,” Guthrie, 47, said. “I’d been living with it, three weeks doing the show, not be able to see out of one eye. I could feel that that my vision just started to close in and it started to get black.”

“You can’t live with the retina detachment for three weeks, and not expect to start really losing your vision. I was scared. That was the first time I was really scared. I called the surgeon and I said, ‘Now, I’m starting to lose my vision altogether.’ He said, ‘That’s why we’re operating tomorrow.’ ”

Savannah Guthrie
Savannah Guthrie and Dr. Oz

Guthrie, who suffered the eye injury after her son Charley accidentally hit her in the eye with a toy train, goes on to share that although she tried not to think about the way vision loss could impact her career, she wasn’t always successful.

“I tried really hard not to go there and do the parade of horribles and things that could happen that would be devastating,” she says. “You just have to take a deep breath and be grateful for what you have. That for me is the bottom line.”

Fortunately, the surgery was successful, Guthrie can see out of both eyes again.

“I’m so happy that I was able to do it. If my eyesight doesn’t get any better than this, I’m so lucky I can see out of both eyes. I know I’m really lucky.”

Guthrie was initially hopeful that doctors would be able to fix the tear with less-invasive laser surgery. She previously opened up to PEOPLE about the terrifying moment when her vision went from blurry to dark the night before the extensive procedure.

“The retinal tear had deteriorated sharply, and I lost my vision,” she said. “And that’s what happens if you don’t fix this: You lose your sight.”

“That was the first time I felt freaked out,” she continued. “I was hoping that they weren’t going to get in there and see, ‘Oh, it’s worse than we thought. We can’t fix it.’ That was probably the lowest I felt, because I was just really scared.”

Savannah, seen here with Charley, is recovering after having surgery for a detached retina.
Savannah Guthrie recovering from surgery with son
| Credit: Courtesy Savannah Guthrie

Upon returning to the Today show earlier this month alongside co-host Hoda Kotb, Guthrie’s gratitude was also on display.

“When I say ‘Good to see you,’ I really mean it,” Guthrie said while addressing viewers.