Unintentional Aficionado of Eye Surgeries...

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Unintentional Aficionado of Eye Surgeries...

This is a discussion on Unintentional Aficionado of Eye Surgeries... within the First Aid and Medical Preparedness forums, part of the Survivalist, Prepper, Bushcrafter, Forest Rangers category; . A dozen or so years ago, I considered the probable loss of access to fresh contact lenses and accessories in a LATOC situation and ...

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Thread: Unintentional Aficionado of Eye Surgeries...

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Hills of Dixie.

    Cool Unintentional Aficionado of Eye Surgeries...


    A dozen or so years ago, I considered the probable loss of access to fresh contact lenses and accessories in a LATOC situation and decided to get LASIK for long-term correction of both eyes.

    Modern LASIK is a fairly affordable out-patient surgery where they do a detailed mapping of your eye, then use one laser to slice a thin flap into the cornea (the clear 'skin' that covers the front of the eyeball). They lift the flap up and use a computer-guided laser to sculpt the deeper cornea into what functions as a permanent contact lens, then replace the flap over the sculpting. As soon as the flap heals back into place, you've got a fully-functional eye that no longer needs glasses.

    The surgery was quick, not too unpleasant. There were no complications. Vision was near perfect.

    Around six years ago, I was doing late-night dairy kitchen stuff when I saw a bright blue flash that seemed to come from the office. I went in to see if the old PC had gone "kaboom", but it was fine. It wasn't until the next morning that I realized I was blind in my left eye. I thought maybe I'd blown a blood vessel or something and didn't worry too much. But, in a day or two, after it didn't clear up at all, and the eye continued to look normal from the outside, I thought maybe I'd had some kind of stroke. Called my doctor who said to hit the ER... ER doctor said I had a detached retina. (The retina is the layer which lines the inside of the back of the eyeball. It is essentially the film in the camera, for those of you who remember when cameras used film.) Made an appointment with an eye surgeon.

    I thought retinal detachment only happened due to trauma. Had no idea that the damned things could just turn loose without any warning. But they can. Especially if you have egg-shaped (myopic) eyeballs.

    Since this was a catastrophic detachment which had been left untreated far too long, I was in for the rather gruesome surgery that involved pretty much cutting/pulling the eyeball out of my face so they could attach synthetic reinforcements (scleral buckles) to hold the tattered mess of retina in-place after freeze-welding it back together.

    When they unbandaged that eye the next day, the wife actually screamed a little... Don't blame her. Looked like someone rammed an eggbeater into the socket and gave it a good cranking! But, oddly enough, I had some vision back... It healed up and the vision got less bad. Then it started getting worse. Seems I had some aggressive scarring on the retina that the surgeon had to go back in to smooth out.

    Once the retina repair was as good as it was going to get, I still had weak vision in the eye. Repair surgeries had effectively canceled-out the LASIK...

    Early cataract development is an expected aftereffect of major surgery like what I had on the left eye. (A cataract is when the natural focusing lens at the front of the eye gets cloudy and impedes vision.) So the surgeon suggested that we kill two birds with one stone. He could swap-out the original lens for a synthetic replacement, precluding cataract development AND compensating for the nearsightedness.

    This was a pretty tolerable surgery compared to the retina repair... And it technically got me up to 20/40 on that eye, which was the best possible due to the limitation of the damaged retina. (Glasses couldn't get me any better.)

    I said "technically" because I could only read the 20/40 line if I kinda' held my head a certain way and took a few seconds to decipher... The retina damage left me with a funhouse mirror view on that side. I actually learned to disregard the input from the left eye most of the time, as it was more disorienting than useful.

    About two weeks ago, I started noticing transient floaters and occasional flashes of red/yellow lightning in my right eye. I decided I needed to see the eye doctor soon... Wednesday, the floaters turned into thick ribbons. This time, I recognized the vitreous hemorrhage. Basically blood leaking into the clear gel that fills the eyeball. Not always a big deal, depending on where the blood is leaking from. But I decided to see the eye doctor ASAP, since I'm all out of spare eyes!

    By the time I got to see the doc, the ribbons had dissolved and I only had a few tumbleweed floaters blowing around. The vision was a little hazy, but still good, with no consistent blind spots. So I knew there wasn't a major retinal detachment. But the doctor did find a couple of tears in the retina that could quickly become major problems if not dealt with, so it was straight to the laser room where I got zapped until I had smoke coming out of my ears.

    For minor retina damage, laser photocoagulation is the common treatment these days. Basically, they shoot a laser in through your pupil to weld-down and seal-off the damaged bits of retina so that vitreous gel doesn't get under it and bulge the retina away from the eye wall. They don't have to cut into the eye at all. It's not exactly pleasant, but it sure beats the hell out of scleral buckle surgery.

    I go back in a few days to make sure all the welds held.

    Since I was worried about my good right eye going kerflunk, I started paying attention to my left. I noticed that, as best as I can tell, the funhouse mirror effect has diminished considerably, making me think the retina may have healed better over the years of 'rest'. But the vision in that eye has become severely veiled. Like looking out through a white bed sheet.

    Turns out that 20-30% of people who get lens replacements for cataracts wind up with a layer of scar tissue inside the lens which acts like a second cataract. The doc tells me they can just shoot a hole in the scar tissue with a YAG laser, far easier than the laser welding I just had. Going to see about getting that done soon. I have a barn full of young horses that I've never seen in 3-D.

    Denton and bigwheel like this.

    I may be gettin' older,
    But I've been fightin' dirtier, longer.

  2. #2
    Senior Member

    Join Date
    Jun 2016
    I, too, had retinal surgery. I was told that my causes were "age and jolting." I sold my bikes, and went in for routine check-ups that got longer intervals over time. But if I bump into something, I still worry.

    My surgeon knows I was spooked, so at the last check-up he had his stenographer type across the instructions, "Nothing is going to happen to your left eye." That's the one he operated on. He gave me permission to go back to my life, but I started at the gym like a rank rookie.

    Prayers to you, Old Horseman, it's a spooky section of my life, and possibly yours.
    OldHorseman and Denton like this.

  3. #3

    Join Date
    Feb 2017
    Hills of Dixie.

    - They eye that has the scleral buckle and all, I actually worry less about now. After all, it's got all that synthetic structural reinforcement now.

    - The one that just got the retina welded back down I'm worried about. Takes a couple weeks for those welds to set right, and I wasn't supposed to exert myself, especially while bending over until they'd had time... But Ma Nature decided to throw Michael at us, so I had to get trees off the main pasture fence. Hope I didn't mess-up the Doc's work.

    Denton likes this.

    I may be gettin' older,
    But I've been fightin' dirtier, longer.



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