The Whole Story
I could read the tiny sign on the right of the line of letters that said 10⁄10. A similar tiny sign on the left said 6⁄6. The letters in the middle were also more or less perfect except for the B which seemed a bit muddy.
“Congratulations, you’re testing 6⁄6!”, she said.
“It is sharp but there is a slight haze, like when I get oily fingers on my glasses and try to wipe it off.”
“That will go away, don’t worry :)”
“And what’s with the dilating eye drops every night? They waste my morning because I see halos for almost the entire morning until their effect wears off.”
“Those are to relax your focussing muscles and help you heal faster. They’re only for 5 days, so you don’t have to live with that forever.”
And there you are, the end of a life changing episode that began under a month ago. I know I had promised to write in ‘live’, but the sequence of events went such that I did not have any time until today. It is not that late though, my left lens was implanted on Tuesday, the 29th of March and the right lens on Wednesday the 30th. So consider this deferred live :)
My original appointment was on 21st to repeat the iridotomy in my right eye since even lasers were unable to pierce my eye of steel! That appointment was honoured and I had my iridotomy just like I had ordered, a little less painful than the last time. The bad news though was that my lenses had not arrived and hence we could not do the implants on 22nd and 23rd as planned. The lenses finally arrived over the weekend and we narrowed down on 29th and 30th for the surgeries.
The Left Eye
We started out early on Tuesday. I was strangely not very nervous, just wondering how it would be like without glasses. We found out on the drive to the hospital that theneeded me to give them a blood sample before the surgery to screen for HIV, Diabetes and some other common conditions. It should have been done previously but they failed to notify us and it meant a delay of a couple of hours for us. We were slightly annoyed but I am patient with such things - we’re humans and minor oversight is OK as long as it does not have serious consequences.
We reached and I gave my blood sample and the nurse put eye dilating drops into my left eye and the wait began. I had to watch people go out ahead of me as my blood sample was being tested but it was OK since I had Nisha to harrass with my silly jokes and theories. When they were finally ready for me, I was led into the OT along with another old lady who was about to have her cataract surgery.
We were greeted in the pre-Op room by a horrific sight. An old lady was lying prone on a bed and an anaesthetist was piercing a long needle into her eye as she screamed about how it hurt. In the room was another bed and a couple of chairs where more people sat and watched the scene in horror. One of the girls seemed to be weeping.
I wasn’t sure what to make of it. I am not a great fan of poking things into my eyes and seeing that definitely made my stomach churn. The anaesthetist calmed us by telling us that we did not have to go through that and topical anaesthesia was sufficient. Big relief, but it would have been better if we were not treated to that sight.
The rest of the wait was relatively uneventful and my turn was the last because they had to mark the axis of my toric lens in my eye. This involved putting a clamp to hold my eye open and then marking the axis with a device smeared with marker ink. High tech stuff!
Once the marking was in place, I was led to the OT bed and I was in an inexplicably chatty mood, asking silly questions to the doctor. The doc asked me to shut up and in hindsight, I realize that I may have been very nervous. As the operation progressed, he told me whenever he was doing something important, like inserting the lens or cleaning the eye or adjusting the lens. I felt some pressure throughout the operation, but no real pain. At the end, they gave me a pair of tacky eye shield glasses and led me out into the pre-Op room.
I had expected to be able to see from my left eye walking out of the operating room, but that did not happen because there was a light shining into my eye for the entire duration of the operation. Within minutes however the glare cleared and by the time I met Nisha outside the OT, I could see her clearly! We then spent a couple of hours with me chattering away in excitement, relating the anaesthesia story to her and her coaxing me to take a short nap. There were eye drops to be administered every 15 minutes so there wasn’t much chance of me sleeping anyway. The doc checked my eye on the way out, declared it to be ‘perfect’ and told me to administer the drops regularly so that we can implant the lens into my other eye the next day.
I spent the evening napping and drowning my eye in drops, eagerly anticipating the operation the following day and the resultant clear vision.
The Right Eye
I got up the next day and found that while the vision in my left eye was sharp, it was hazy, like when one smears oil on ones glasses and tries in vain to clean them with a cloth and use them. I mentioned that to the doc when we reached and he said that will clear in a few days. To his credit, it cleared by evening. My left eye inflammation had reduced significantly so he gave a go-ahead for the right eye implant on the same day. So I was back upstairs to flood my right eye with dilating drops. The drill right up to the operation was the same as the left eye (without the anaesthesia scare this time) and soon enough it was my turn to be operated on.
This time though, the procedure hurt a bit more than it did for my left eye. I mentioned it to the doc and he said we were almost done. Sure enough, we were and after it was done, I could see clearly! The human brain seems to have amazing resolution and it seems able to take two images at different exposures and produce one with acceptable resolution and exposure. I was very happy stepping out into the pre-Op area and finally out into the recovery area. In the recovery area I was even more incapable of relaxing compared to yesterday because now I had an almost perfect set of eyes to experiment with. The result was that I was much more tired by the end of the day and was glad to hit the sack.
The test the following day showed that my lenses were perfectly measured and I could have perfect vision once the eye had healed perfectly. Now my next visit is in about a week. I will probably not write about it unless there is something interesting to share. I have already begun hunting for my ghost glasses only to grab the side of my face. The biggest difference however is that there is no longer a shield between my eyes and the air outside. My eyes can feel the air freely and it is really unnnerving! It will take me a while to get used to.
Now off to rest my newly acquired eyes…
The Whole Story
The fact that I can write this means that I have not lost my eyesight after being punched by a laser! There are a lot of things to be aware of though, so let me start from the beginning.
The day started with the realization that mom had an appointment with her doctor and we would have to take Ira along with us. The counsellor at Vasan told me that I could drive in so I was not very concerned about the procedure despite the scary stories online. Nisha however was not taking any chances and we ended up taking a cab. In hindsight, that was a great decision.
We reached right on time and my eyes were flooded with drops the moment I sat in the waiting area. The nurse topped up the drops some 3-4 times and through the hour and half of waiting, all I could do was listen to Nisha chasing Ira around as the little monster made the hospital her playground. After a little less than an hour a dull headache began to creep in; the doctor said it was expected and in fact an indication that the constricting drops are working.
Once he was satisfied with the state of my eyes, I was directed to the YAG laser room. The doc entered with a smug grin and asked me if I was ready. I had forgotten the horror stories by then and just shrugged and smiled. He reminded me that it is going to hurt a bit. That wasn’t enough of a warning, I had to actually experience it to realize how bad it would be. The doc poured some liquid into what looked like a small suction cup with a lens and stuck that to my right eye. After a lot of looking around my eye, he identified a spot and said, “Ready!”. There was a click and with it a hard flick to my eye. “That hurt a bit”, I told him and he only smiled. The first shot did not quite punch a hole in my iris and he had to take another shot. he told me the tissue of the iris of my right eye was pretty thick. “Is that good or bad?”, I asked. “In this case, not good”, he replied with a light snigger.
His sense of humour was a bit dark but I didn’t mind, maybe because I have a similar sense of humour. The second shot hurt just as much, but I knew what to expect so if was kinda OK. That did not work either so he decided to move on to the left eye. After a lot of searching, he made one shot on the left eye and we had a hole. “There was a nice spot on the left iris with thinner tissue so I knew the moment the laser fired that we had a good hole”, he said. He decided against making a third shot on the right eye and we decided to do it later.
Within minutes I started feeling a headache that grew worse by the minute. We went to his consulting room to discuss the schedule for the implants and the second iridotomy. I am scheduled to fly to Bangkok for Linaro Connect this weekend, so it had to be once I returned on 19th. The tentative schedule now is that we’ll repeat the iridotomy on the right eye on 21st, implant the lens in my left eye on 22nd and then the left eye on 25th, which was a Good Friday and hence one less working day sacrificed.
With that out of the way, I was prescribed 2 eye drops for 5 days and sent home. As we stepped out to have lunch, my head had started splitting with a headache with a mild nausea setting in, the kind one gets with a bad migrane. I could barely taste the food I had, such was the intensity of the headache at times. Ira’s constant flitting around (she’s approaching her terrible twos now) did not help things a lot. We finally got lunch over with and got into the cab back home. The nap in the cab worked wonders and that followed with an hours nap at home got rid of the headache. I am still seeing things a little darker than usual (the pupil is constricted to limit light entering the lens) but I can see sharp with my glasses, unlike the hazy overexposure due to the retina scan dilation yesterday.
The holes now mean that there is no turning back. Provided that the lens measurements don’t need to be repeated, it looks like I will be rid of my glasses before the end of the month.
The Whole Story
I usually don’t write about my very personal affairs like my eyesight (which is really poor) but I decided to make an exception this time. After a lot of mulling over it, I have decided to ‘go under the knife’ to fix my almost blind vision. I read a lot of blog posts about personal experiences and I decided to document my own experience because there aren’t any posts about the new lenses I will be getting, viz. the EyePCL by Care Group India. Most blog posts seem to be about the Visian ICL.
I am -10 diopters in both eyes with -2.75 astigmatism. This made me ineligible for the supposedly simpler (and definitely cheaper) LASIK procedure since that would leave me with little or no cornea for further corrections. The doctor advised that I do an ICL instead, which would cost four times as much (about ₹70,000 per eye as opposed to ₹35,000 for both eyes for LASIK) but would be a reversible procedure.
This was a little over a year ago and I finally took the plunge today. I went for a fresh work up today (at Vasan Eye Care, Kothrud, Pune since they did a decent LASIK job with Nisha and Siddhi’s eyes) and came back with blurry vision due to the retina check up. The highlight today was the white-to-white measurement which involved putting a clamp around my eye to prevent me from blinking while the doctor measured my eye with a vernier calliper! They had put numbing drops so that it didn’t hurt when the calliper touched the eye but it was a bit uncomfortable nevertheless.
Next in the process is an iridotomy, which involves punching one or more holes in the periphery of my eye to ease intraocular pressure. This is done because the most common side effect of IPCL is increased intraocular pressure, which could result in glaucoma. This happens tomorrow, so I hope to write another post about it tomorrow.