Monday, January 7, 2013

The Eye Had It (Laser Surgery, That Is)

My eyesight is terrible. I'm a -8.0 in both eyes; corrective lenses are essential for me to function.

I've always been told that I was a prime candidate for Lasik surgery. I never even considered it; first of all, it's expensive. But secondly - and probably most importantly - I just couldn't stomach the thought of surgery on my eye. I know they numb it; I know you "don't feel a thing"; I know they know what they're doing. And I'm not generally squeamish about blood and surgical procedures. But here's the thing: You can't close your eyes. At least, you can't close ONE of your eyes while they work on it.

And that just freaks me out.

So I elected for no elective surgery on my eye. Ever.

Little did I know...

Today, I had surgery on my eye - pretty much non-elective. At least that's the impression I got when Dr. Astruc finished his exam and said, "Yeah. We've got to fix this today." No option, no choice - it was happening.

Friday night I had a brief episode of some flashing lights in the periphery of my left eye. I know that's not a good sign; I did a quick Google search and decided to call my eye doctor first thing Monday morning. Saturday afternoon, I suddenly saw what looked like (to me) a glob of petroleum in my eye. There was nothing obvious externally, but what I saw looked like remnants of the BP oil spill. I called my doctor, who abandoned her afternoon pantry-cleaning to meet me at her office. She took a look, said it needed attention but could wait until Monday morning, and she said she'd get me into a specialist. 

Sunday as I arrived home from church services, round two of the oil spill kicked into high gear. This time, my vision changed - it got quite cloudy, like I was looking through a screen. I began texting my doctor, who assured me that unless I started literally losing vision, I needed to just hang in there until Monday morning. I was a little freaked out...but I trust her, so I took a nap.

The rest is now part of my medical history: Appointment at the Retinal Institute of Virginia, copious information downloaded in a short amount of time, a lot of deep breathing and about six minutes of lasers shooting into my left eye. The problem was a torn retina, which is serious, but not as serious as a detached retina. The laser did not repair the tear, but seals up the area around it to prevent seepage of the vitreous gel. There's no immediate indication as to the "success" of today's surgery; we'll check back in a month, and be on the lookout for any signs of retinal detachment, which is a whole 'nother animal (and much more serious). My vision is still slightly compromised - very cloudy and fuzzy, as if I'm wearing the wrong contact. That's the remnants of the bleeding, which has to be absorbed over time.

So that's annoying.

And the cause? 

Welcome to middle-age, officially. The fact that I am terribly near-sighted makes me very susceptible to this sort of event. But the major contributing factor is simply "birthdays". Dr. Astruc said, "This is common in people from 50 to 80. You're getting a head start."

I can't say that I'm happy about this, but I am very grateful for three specific things:
  • Dr. Tonya Sylvia, the quintessential home-town optometrist, who dropped everything to see me and then followed up with text messages and phone calls to make sure I was okay. I'm impressed and I'm thankful.
  • Dr. Juan Astruc, who gave me incredibly professional, kind and courteous care. He'll get an A+ once we find out how well he aimed the laser.
  • Technology in general. As my mom pointed out, 10 years ago this might not have even been a possibility, and I could be sitting here right now dealing with a much different reality.
Lastly - but always above everything else - Tony took great care of me. He is kind and gentle and thoughtful and always willing to set aside everything for my good. I am so grateful for this good and patient man. We've made it through his basal cell sarcoma, my knee surgery and now this mess. 

Sickness and heath and the inevitable deterioration of our earthly bodies. I guess we'll make it.

Thank you for your prayers. They helped!


Princess of Everything (and then some) said...

I am so glad that you had people who took the time to take care of you! We are going to pray for healing. Keep your retinas in your head.

Brandee Shafer said...

Sounds stressful. Thankful for good doctors.

annie said...

I'm very glad you were able to get this worked on quickly and we'll pray that it heals up well. My dad has had so many eye problems, including a detached retina. I was concerned for you....

Lori said...

yes yes and yes... I am glad you got in to be seen and you didn't detach.... that's a whole different ball game. Yes -8.00 is prime, age, retinal thinning. you can actually sneeze and have a tear.
I am glad you have good Dr's and blessed healing. Sending prayers your way.
Flashers and floaters are something not to ignore.