On THE YOUNG & THE RESTLESS, Abbott patriarch Jack has been out of town for several weeks on an unexpected business trip. But behind the scenes at the soap, there was a real-life reason that led to Jack’s portrayer, Peter Bergman, suddenly needing to take some time off. As Bergman explained to Soap Opera Digest, he had to undergo emergency eye surgery to repair a detached retina.
Bergman’s medical crisis seemingly came out of the blue. While traveling to visit his family on the central coast of California, the actor noticed something odd happening on the inside corner of his left eye but kept the news to himself. “All evening long, I was seeing something creeping into my vision,” he recalled, “and by the end of that night, it was like a curtain closing in toward the center of my eyesight.”
By the time Bergman woke up the next morning, he knew something was seriously wrong. Fortunately, his sister was able to snag him an appointment with a local ophthalmologist in San Luis Obispo, who concluded that the issue was a detached retina. Bergman would need surgery immediately to repair his vision, which the doctor suggested he have done back home. Fortuitously, Bergman’s wife, Mariellen, knew the sister-in-law of the recommended Los Angeles surgeon, and the actor had an appointment scheduled for the next day.
Before undergoing surgery, Bergman filled in his bosses at Y&R and the plan was hatched for Jack’s sudden exit. The concern from his colleagues “made me feel very special” — especially during a very taxing recovery. “I had to keep my face parallel to the floor for 50 minutes out of every hour for seven days,” he said. Bergman was able to watch television thanks to a special “contraption” Mariellen set up but lamented that “My favorite activities are exercising and reading books, and I could do neither one. It seemed like it took forever.”
During the ordeal, Bergman found a great resource in castmate Mishael Morgan (Amanda), who went through the same surgery herself last spring. “I got as much information as I could possibly get from her about what to expect,” he explained. “She was fantastic.”
Thankfully, the Emmy winner is now back at work at Y&R and is excited about the “very good stuff” ahead for Jack. And he’s very grateful for the positive outcome of his medical emergency. “It was a temporary visit with blindness and a wild adventure,” he concluded. “It was also a sobering reminder of how precious eyesight is. Never take it for granted.”