So I had cataract surgery on my left eye on August 22nd. Things seemed to go smoothly, I was delighted with my resulting vision and I passed my check up on the morning of the 28th with flying colours. But after 5:00 PM on the 28th I noticed a dark line on the lower left edge of my left eye's vision. I reported this as a "shadow" to Dr. B's office on the Tuesday following the Labour Day weekend. They weren't at all concerned since shadows are often reported after cataract surgery.
By Friday I realized that the "shadow" was actually a bubble and had grown in size. Moreover it would move upward with my eyeball and was a bright orange colour with a ring of sparkles in the dark! This I knew was something bad messing with my optic nerve. The bubble grew in size Saturday and Sunday. Pecking my symptoms into the internet yielded "Retinal Detachment" right of the bat.
Dr. B confirmed this Monday morning. The written material I'd been given said that there was a 1/250 chance of retinal detachment following cataract surgery. But there are lies, damned lies, and then there are statistics. If a person does not have the risk factors for retinal detachment, the risk may be something like 1/2000. But if a person does have the risk factor, the odds drop to 1 in four/five/six/whatever. The major risk factor is myopia which is something I've had since my early teens. Myopia means one's eye isn't perfectly round but is more oval shaped which puts more stress on one's retina from certain angles.
Dr. B booked me with the retina specialists at St. Michael's Hospital. They simply told me "Well that's how you get retinal detachments, from cataract surgery." They operated Monday evening to drain the fluid from beneath my retina and then put an air bubble over the tear to hold my retina in place This has required me to hold my head bent at a certain angle since then to keep the bubble at 10:30 AM including while I sleep in an upright position.
Laser surgery sessions Tuesday and Wednesday re-attached my retina. But!!! They still wanted to do some final touch-up laser work later in the week. I had immediately come to dread the procedure because it's so unnatural to hold still and not flinch as the brightest bolts of lightning flare in your eye. It was taking a supreme effort of will on my part not to flinch.
Then there was the detail that laser eye surgery may also result in tears/abrasions on one's cornea. Not that they told me about that. When the freezing wore off on Wednesday evening and it felt like something really large/bad was in my eye, I of course feared the worst and at midnight decided I needed to go to Emergency at St. Mike's despite the fact that the thought of any more bright lights in my eye which I just wanted to keep tightly closed made me cringe/weep. Then the doctor in Emergency told me that there's a big old tear in my cornea! "Old?!" I said.
"Well it's big anyway" he replied. At least they gave me some Tylenol 3 when we asked....
But they said my cornea was healing nicely and it no longer bothered me after a couple of days. The air bubbles were also supposed to go away by themselves as well but in the meantime they were bizarre/unsettling.
When I reported for a final laser touch-up yesterday afternoon, Dr. V, the younger fellow who'd done the laser work on my eye, announced that things looked just fine and no more laser zapping was needed! A great piece of news!
When I went into my final check-up with the senior ophthalmologist on Thursday, he decided that it would be prudent to give my eye a few more laser zaps to strengthen a different area of weakness in my retina. Well that's when further problems began.
He was a no-nonsense fellow in his late fifties. Well that's fine. I didn't want to be difficult. I was trying my best to co-operate. But!!! The process is unnatural and I find it extremely stressful. The result is that my eye evidently tears up a lot. So he told me to blink. Glad for the relief from the ultra bright light shining in my eyes, I of course squeezed my eyes tight shut. Well this really pissed him off because by squeezing I evidently released more tears! Why though did he not warn me not to squeeze? How the hell was I to know? He was the one with decades of experience. He should have been fully aware of a patient's range of reactions. He actually said "I don't see how Dr. V managed to operate on you at all!"
So he directed me to another device. This was the standard device where you rest your chin on a cup like indentation and your forehead on a bar and the doctor peers into your eye. The difference here was that a death ray laser was attached which he'd then employ. Now there were bars beside the head rest which I realized were there for a patient to squeeze with a death grip while the laser exploded in bursts on his eye. Well I told myself not to be a wimp and to refrain from squeezing. So I didn't squeeze, but the process is far from relaxing. Evidently I involuntarily clenched my jaw instead. This had the effect of just slightly shifting the angle of my head. Well this really pissed him off again! But why the bloody hell had he not warned me not to clench my jaw? He remarked that he was glad I was the last patient of the day because I would have thrown off his schedule. What he thought should take five minutes had extended to twenty! I was afraid he was going to smack me!
In fact if I hadn't been so beat up both physically and psychologically from the laser treatments, I would have belted him. The twerp!
This all understandably shook up my previous stoicism/equilibrium when it came to surgical procedures. Complications can indeed occur.
Still I went for cataract surgery on my right eye just under two weeks ago on Thursday. This time I felt some trepidation prior to the procedure, and some real consternation when Dr. B shone the bright light into my eye. I told myself to settle down though and I did.
Things however seem to have gone very well and my eyesight is just great right now. I don't even need glasses anymore.