Thursday, September 29, 2011

Steroid Free!

I had my operation just over one year ago, and my overall experience has been about a 9.5 out of 10.

Things have been stable, comfort-wise, in Pablo (my operated-on left eye). That is to say, I haven't had any issues with redness or irritation. My pressure today was 20, down from 23 on my last visit.

Also, I can stop the Lotemax, which is a light steroid. Keep in mind, virtually all my stitches remain. I asked Dr. Holland if the eye might reject the stitches without the steroid, and he said that while there was a small chance of this happening, he did not think it would. We just have to keep an eye out (no pun intended) for irritation.

That leaves me with only the Restasis twice per day.

My vision checked out at 20/30 today even though today was one of my bad days. Whether good or bad, my vision is still generally in good order, and Dr. Holland and his staff continue to be the best.

To be specific; Without correction, I can read my computer screen quite clearly with my operated-on eye. I can read books on my iPad, and I can sometimes read the writing on my degree that hangs on my wall. With correction (glasses), I can read license plates and street signs within a reasonable distance. Watching TV (52") has never been better. My only problem now is that I've sufficiently scratched up my new lenses and will need to go for some new ones within 6 months or so.

There were couple new doctors working with Dr. Holland today, one was a cute Asian lady with an English accent. It is always funny that everyone wants to look at my eye several times over. I feel spoiled.

I go back in 3 months.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Fill My Eyes, with that Double Vision

As I discussed in my last entry, I was a little concerned about some of the double vision I had been having. For example, when reading words I noticed a shadow either in the top left or bottom right of the letters. It seemed to alternate depending on the day. After looking through some prescription lenses, these "shadows" became very noticeable to me. That's why I panicked a little.

The more I thought about it, I realized this had always been there, but I just never mentioned it specifically because I thought it was just my eye healing. Regardless, I made an appointment with Dr. Holland just to be sure I had not done anything stupid.

I went in on Friday, 2/18. After a topo and an exam by the residents, everyone seemed to agree that the cornea looked great and did not see any reason to make an adjustment. They said that I should go back to my regular optometrist and mention the double vision condition specifically. They said she could adjust the prescription to clear this up, and they were even able to clear it up significantly with Dr. Holland's office equipment.

Even today, my vision is much improved and I'm reading my computer screen comfortably with just my operated-on eye opened. A false alarm, I suppose.

The important thing to realize when recovering from DALK is that you have to be religious about your eye drops, and continue flushing with lubricant drops even if it seems you don't need to. Also, be aware that (I believe) changes in air pressure--and sinus pressure--can make a big difference in what you are seeing. Your vision might even depend on how much sleep you get. Always try to stay positive and understand it is a long journey.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

DALK [Surgery + 5 Months]

Well, I have to say that for the first time I am a little disappointed. The week started off great, knowing that I'd reached 20/30 with lenses in Dr. Holland's office. I went over to Dr. Schaffield to get rechecked and have my prescription filled. I also came out 20/30 at her office and could even read some of the 20/25 lines on the chart. So, I placed my order for glasses.

The next evening I slept rather deeply. I vaguely remember waking up and rubbing my left eye without realizing what I was doing. Just briefly, but enough to make it a little sore. The rest of the day was a bad eye day. Still seeing OK, but not as good as on a good day. I noticed a great deal of double vision which has lasted up until today, so around 4-5 days.

I must have pissed Maria off, because she is in full effect.

Needless to say, I have been thinking about going back over to Dr. Holland's and getting checked out to make sure I didn't screw something up. What has stopped me is that this type of vision has happened before, and it usually fixes itself in a day or so. It could be because of the steroid or even the Restatis (they have been known to make the vision a little blurry) so I have tried not to worry. The only other thing could be the weather changes we've been having, adding to the ocular pressure in my eye and causing some blurring.

My glasses do make a big difference, just not as much as I had hoped. I can now read street signs and license plates if I'm close enough, and watching TV was awesome last night. But today my eye feels very "tight" and not quite right.

I'm going to give it a few days and think about making another appointment with Dr. Holland.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

DALK [ Surgery + 4 Months]

Day-to-day reports are unnecessary as the vision in the eye changes often by small measures depending on dryness, pressure and my daily activities. I consider myself very fortunate that I work from home, as I am sure it has helped my recovery.

Overall, I'm doing very well. Saw Dr. Holland yesterday and had a full eye exam. The eye looks great, no scarring (maybe some around the edges) and no other complications. I "pinholed" at 20/30 and was able to reach 20/30 while testing through actual lenses.

That means I can go to my optometrist and try for some prescription glasses or even soft contacts. They said in 9 months I could get Lasik! Amazing. I won't do that, but nice to know I have the option.

They did not remove any stitches because the topography of the graft it checking out OK. Nice and flat.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

DALK [Surgery + 8 Weeks]

I was surprised to have 2 stitches removed today in my visit to Dr. Holland's office. They were a little late getting me in due to an emergency surgery that was taking place. *Gulp* I was happy that I wasn't the person getting emergency surgery. Luckily, I had my iPad with me and had no problems waiting.

Once inside, they found my eye to be in very good shape. I'm still seeing 20/30 through the pinhole and reading some fairly small lines from the eye chart. They found my eye pressure to still be a little high (26 as opposed to 16 in my right eye) so they changed my dosage of Omipred to 3 times per day, down from 4. They took another topographical image of my eye and, based on that, Dr. Holland's assistant took two stitches out, one from the top and one from the bottom. They numbed my eye up pretty good with some drops, and then just popped them out. Quite easy. My eye is still a little sore, but none the worse for wear.

Let me just say, 8 weeks in...this is pretty incredible. I haven't read anywhere where they've removed stitches this early. I think the graft is looking that good. In fact, Dr. Holland said that they do see some people who test out at 20/30 through the pinhole and then continue to improve within a year or year and a half. I'm hoping that with prescription glasses I can be at 20/25 at least in my left eye. That is pretty darn good, basically what I was seeing with a hard lense in.

I can honestly say (and I know I'm setting myself up for disappointment here) that I can actually see a little better after the stitches were removed. It is hard to tell what's wrong when I see worse than normal. Could be the eye's natural healing process, or the effects of the steroids and Restasis.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

DALK [Surgery + 7 Weeks]

There isn't much to report at this juncture. My eye seems to continue to do well. There are good days and bad days...periods of time where I'm not seeing as good as after the first two or three weeks, and there are other days (like today) that my vision is fairly improved. All in all, not much has changed. I see very well at close range...I can read the fine print on the shampoo bottle...I can make out some street signs. I can read books on my iPad with just my left eye. Still, there is some degree of astigmatism which I hope can be corrected when the stitches are removed. I feel good about my chances for excellent vision once the eye stabilizes enough to get a prescription lens.

As far as pain and discomfort, really not much. Occasionally, I'll have a slight ache or soreness in the eye, which could be the result of dryness, dust or sleeping on the left side of my body. In any case, the aches are probably 1% of the time. I just have to continue to be careful with the eye.

I go back for a visit with Dr. Holland next Thursday to see about my improvement. I have a feeling things will start to get hectic once he starts pulling out the stitches.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

DALK [Surgery + 3 Weeks]

What I'm hearing is very good news. I should probably start by saying that I had this surgery at CEI (Cincinnati Eye Institute) in Edgewood KY next to St. Elizabeth South. I have always enjoyed living so close to this fine hospital, and I've had nothing but great service my entire life within these facilities.

Yesterday I went to see one of the optometrists at CEI, Dr. Shull, and she said that my eye is doing well above average for this type of surgery. She said I seem to be healing rapidly and that I could stop taking the Vigamox. Yay! One less thing I have to take. The pressure in my eye is also down from 28 to about 20, which she said was average. So, it appears lowering the power of the steroids did the trick. I took a look at some letters on the wall and could read some of the average to small rows, barely. While I still have a good deal of astigmatism, she says I'm seeing about 20/30. I can see and read details of objects that are within about 10 to fifteen feet. I can read license plates on cars and read on my iPad without glasses. In fact, it is quite annoying to wear my glasses at all now because the prescription in the left eye is just way too strong. I plan on getting a glass put in that side as soon as I can until my vision stabilizes.

When comparing my eyes, I can honestly say that my left eye is quickly catching up. Sometimes, I feel like my vision may even be better in my left eye than in my right eye, but it goes in and out too much to be sure. I still have a lot of healing left to go. I would say it takes several months for most people to see 20/30, and some that never reach 20/30. There is a good chance things may become worse and then better again as my eye heals, but the prognosis is great so far.

Dr. Shull even agreed that I may be able to get a prescription for glasses (left eye included) as early as 3 months after surgery. Incredible. It would be strange seeing 20/20 in that eye after so many years without it. I'm not really sure when they'll decide to take the stitches out, and that could also alter my vision for better or worse. There is still a long way to go.

As far as pain and discomfort, I have none. Maybe a little dryness here and there, but nothing too bad. I'm really quite comfortable with it and just trying to keep it moistened about every 15-45 minutes.