Tuesday, July 31, 2012
Seeing Things in a New Light
Literally. My eyesight is not something I enjoy playing around with. Several years ago, when having my eyes checked, the ophthalmologist commented that I was "very critical of my vision." I suppose that what he really meant was that I was a bit too fussy. "Which is better, #1 or #2?" "Um, I'm not sure." Then he would place the lenses in front of my eyes again. "#1 or #2?" I would swear that he had placed a totally different strength for me to select as the one offering the clearest vision. "I think #1 is the best," I would say, and then he would start over again. A week later, when I had received my new glasses, I would be certain that he had given me #2 rather than #1. Eventually my eyes would adjust to the new lenses and I would forget about the frustrating office visit.
Fast forward to a couple of years ago. During a routine eye exam, the optometrist noticed that the intraocular pressure in my eyes was too high for the dilation procedure to check for glaucoma, so I was referred to a glaucoma specialist. I was told that, although I did not have narrow angle glaucoma, the angles were narrow (probably congenitally) and that I was at risk for an acute angle closure which can cause optic nerve damage and blindness. She performed a laser procedure to drill a tiny hole in each eye which would act as additional drainage for the intraocular fluid. This helped a bit, but another laser procedure was required. This seemed to work for about a year. Then, at my yearly follow-up visit, the pressure was too high once again. I was then placed on Pilocarpine eye drops twice a day, which dilated my pupils and caused blurry vision as well as lowering the pressure. It felt like I was wearing a pair of oily sunglasses for a few hours after instilling the drops. After about three weeks of this, at my next follow-up visit, the pressure was still too high.
The next step was a surgical procedure to remove the natural lens and implant an artificial lens. This is the same procedure as for cataracts, although I do not have cataracts. Yet. The surgeon said that I would eventually have them and that the surgery would be required. The trick with this procedure is that by removing the thicker natural lens and replacing with a thinner artificial lens, there would be more room and the angle would, hopefully, open up. The added benefit of this surgery is that my vision can be corrected and I will not likely need glasses except for close-up reading.
I had the surgery on my left eye July 20th. My vision is brighter and better in that eye, although not perfect yet. It takes a while for the muscles to adjust. Surgery on the right eye is scheduled for August 17th. I'll be thankful when this is all over and I'm not trying to read or work on the computer with one eye. I miss my photography.