Friday, January 3, 2014

THE 'EYES' HAVE IT

Hello Dear Readers.  This is the most important issue I have posted to date, and I hope you will take away valuable knowledge.  As, always, I want to Thank You for spending time with me today.

About 1 month ago, I started having some odd things going on in my left eye.  I would see something dark on the outer edge of my eye, and would pull at my eyelashes thinking I had something on them.  I described it to the ophthalmologist as looking like mosquito legs, he laughed and said that was a new one to him, as most people describe "it" as a spider web.  (Which further confirms that I always think outside the box.)  Ha!  I also noticed flashes of a bright light in the outer left corner of my eye.  I wasn't having any pain or vision loss, so I waited for two weeks before I called the ophthalmologist.  My first concern came when the receptionist said, "How soon can you get here"?  I told them I could be there within the hour, she told me there would be a wait, as they would be working me in, in between patients that had had their appointment for a year.  I was like "oh my gosh, this does not sound good".

After the Dr. examined my eyes, he said I'll be back in in a few minutes to tell you what is going on.  GULP, something was "going on" with my eye???  Days later minutes later, he came back in to tell me that I had, had a vitreous tear.  The vitreous is the gel like part of your eye, and what I was seeing was 'floaters' caused by the leak.  It had closed itself off, so no further intervention was necessary.  He did inform me that in 1 out of 10 people, this type of problem could lead to RETINAL DETACHMENT, but that I was in the 9 out of 10 category.  Whew.  For several days after, I did continue to see floaters, and swipe at gnats flying around that wasn't really there.  Which is something one does discreetly when in public!

Diagram of the eye, showing the location of the iris, pupil, cornea, lens, vitreous, macula, sclera, optic nerve, and retina.


I went to my two-week follow up appointment yesterday, even though I risked life and limb to get there, as it was the worst snow day we have had thus far! 

Once again he did my examine, and I noticed it was a little more entailed than the first time.  He looked at my eye, wrote something down, looked again, wrote again..... there are just those little tale tell signs!
He then said to me, "You have not one, not two, but three retinal tears.  Now, I'm smart enough to know that tears lead to detachment.  So, now I had moved into the 1 out of 10 category.  With me being the 1.  I'll admit to saying a bad word when he first told me, because whew, those were spooky words to hear.

He said I needed to have Retinal Laser Surgery, the sooner the better.  If I was willing to wait, he would stay over to do the surgery that day.  He suggested that I waited no longer than the next day to have the surgery.  What the heck just happened?? This was a follow-up visit!  And now... it has turned into FREAKING SURGERY!

Being of sound mind, I wasted no time in saying, I am willing to wait the 1.5 hours to have surgery to save my eyesight.  The laser surgery "welds" the retina to the underlying eye wall, thus preventing or limiting actual retinal detachment. The laser forms a scar at the sight of the tear, but it does not affect your vision.

This is a brief summary of Retinal Laser Surgery;  one sits in a regular chair, while the Dr. sits across from you behind the laser.  Which is something he pointed out to me.  I found it humorous when he said "I'll be behind the laser, you will be in front of it."  REALLY???  That did appear to be the best configuration, so I felt quite confidant that he knew what he was doing! Ha!  Carrying on..... one just rests their chin in that little chin cup thing, and holds their head very still.  Then the brightest light one will ever see,( until one sees the bright light at the end of the tunnel) is shot repeatedly into one's eye.  There is some PAIN  pain involved. 
The Dr. also found two more areas that were thinning, and while he was there, felt he should go ahead and give those a few blasts.  All in all, it just took a few minutes.  He did tell me I was the best patient he had ever done laser surgery on, as I didn't even flinch.  So Kudos for me!

Follow-up instructions are not to do anything strenuous, for a couple of weeks.  I said "oh good, I don't have to wash dishes!  He deflated me when he said, "you can wash dishes, but do not run the vacuum.  So, that is an example of what a strenuous activity is after laser surgery.  For the next few hours, my eye had a stinging sensation, but nothing that I would call pain.  I went to bed early, and 8 hours after surgery, I still have no pain, but there is kind of an odd feeling, kind of like my eye feels tired. I go back to see the Dr. in two weeks.

If you experience the symptoms I have described; flashes of bright lights, or seeing 'cobwebs', please see an ophthalmologist (not an optometrist) as soon as possible.  Do not brush it aside as something that will go away.

Words cannot describe how thankful I am that I have taken all the precautions I can to prevent a retinal detachment. 

"Here's lookin' at you, kid"!

xoxo  Vicki

(This diagram of the eye was copied from the nih.gov website.)