Wednesday, February 11, 2009

My New Eyeball

Yesterday was the day for my new eyeball.

Specifically, a new lens for my left eyeball.

A few months ago, I was diagnosed with a cataract in my left eye. It had been as if a hazy film was over the field of vision from my left eye, and a noticeable different from what I saw from my right eye. It was most noticeable when looks at lights during nighttime - there was a wider glow around light sources. Very misty London Sherlock Holmes-esque.

I did what all smart patients do these days, and self-diagnosed myself with a cataract. For a second opinion, I went to The Nielsen Eye Center in Quincy, and sure enough Dr. Nielsen confirmed it. He also mentioned how uncommon it was for someone my age to have a cataract without having had head trauma, diabetes, or having taken steroids. To my knowledge, none of that applies to me. Both of my grandmothers had cataract surgery...but they were in their 60's or older when they had the procedures.

So surgery was scheduled for yesterday. Karin drove me to the Cataract Center in Dedham for a 1:30 check-in. When I opened the door, I was greeted by a full waiting room of elderly people. The guy sitting next to me had his oxygen tank on. The lady across from me had her walker-on-wheels. The conversation in the air was from comforting spouses who had already had their cataract surgeries. This appears to be a rite of passage for the geriatric crowd. Well, and me.

Everything seemed to go well. they called my name, took my vital signs, gave me some drops to dilate my eye, sat me down in a comfy recliner where I was given a sedative by IV, and then brought into the operating room. The anesthesiologist was the third or fourth person to tell me that I was the baby of the patient crowd this week.

I believe the actual procedure took about 8 minutes. I recall feeling some type of clamp that held my eyelids open, saw two rectangular lights and lots of swirly colors as they ripped my faulty God-given lens from my cornea, and then mild pressure when my new Crystallens was implanted.

Unlike my wisdom teeth surgery over a decade ago, I did not ask to take my extracted body part home. I still have my wisdom teeth in an envelope at my parents' house. I figure they were mine, so why not keep them? Unfortunately, I think my fault lens was liquefied and sucked out, so not much to take with me.

I waited in recovery for a few minutes, received my post-surgery instructions and my fancy old-person shades, and was walked out to the waiting room where Ryan awaited to deliver me back home.

I was given a small plant from their coat / plant closet to take home (where a sign was hung notifying patients that plants were only for Cataract patients and not Lasix patients. Sweet! In your face, Lasix people. No free plant for you). I chose a short succulent over the mini-daffodils, thinking that it would last longer.

So I have to return today for a follow-up appointment, and then in about another month for a second follow-up. I'm on a series of drugs, and not allowed to lift more than 10 pounds or bend over without bending my knees. My eye's pupil is actually still pretty well-dilated from yesterday.

Since I elected to have the $1,900 multi-focal lens into my eye (and not the generic single-focus lens), I should be able to focus at objects of all distances once I'm fully recovered. The "what to expect" documents explain that my distant vision should be improved today or tomorrow, and my intermediate vision should return in a couple weeks. The up-close vision may take longer, like up to 6 weeks.

All of my computer usability this morning is thanks to my right eye. Thank you, right eye.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah!! Clamp, eyelids and eyeball...
gruesome details that remind me of the horror movie Saw II in which the guy tries to get the key out from behind the eyeball... Hope everythings go well for you and get better soon. And definitely no heavy lifting & bending over & no alcohol for u in the mean time!!