Friday, August 24, 2012

The Joys of Aging - Part Trois...

...and ongoing.

Last week I blogged about the second Posterior Vitreous Detachment (PVD) that I had this year (the previous occurred about 4 months before that). The PVDs themselves are more annoying than harmful, filling your vision with "floaters" that disturb vision, but don't degrade it much (at least in my case, both of my eyes, with their prescription glasses, test 20/20).  However, on of the occasional effects of a PVD is a tear in the retina, the light sensing surface at the back of the eye, as the vitreous tugs loose.

Last night as I was fishing with Trevor, I looked up at one point, and "saw" a dark swirl of liquid in my view, much like chocolate in milk being slowly stirred.  It appeared to be composed of many little particles (as indeed, it turned out to be).  After I noticed it, it didn't seem to grow, but rather disbursed, with the final result being many many tiny dark spots or particles in the vision.

I immediately concluded it was probably a small tear somewhere back there and the swirl was blood and the particles were blood cells, but with no continuing increase in the "junk" and no other change in my vision, I  decided it was probably not a "run to the eye surgeon for a Friday Thursday night operation" kind of event, but more like a "make a quick appointment in the morning" event, and  finished the fishing trip.

This morning, I was the first person in the Ophthalmologist's office.  They had my eyes dilated by 9 AM, and shortly after the Ophthalmologist confirmed my guess, a small tear in the retina back in the peripheral area where the PVD was still pulling away, They arranged a consult with a retinal surgeon in Waldorf, about 30 minutes away, and, eyes still dilated wide, I set off for Waldorf.

The retinal surgeon was a nice young man of Asian descent.  He gave me my third eye exam of the day, (nurse, ophthalmologist, surgeon), a much more rigorous, and slightly uncomfortable one, and confirmed, yes, it was a tear in the retina and there was some bleeding (hemorrhaging) at the site.

He suggested laser surgery to "tack down" the retina around the tear and hold it in place while it heals, and could do it today (I understand that much retina surgery is done on an emergency basis).  I said yes, they had me sign a consent form (digitally) and numbed my left eye in anticipation of the surgery.

Once the eye was numb (supposedly), the Dr. came back in, put my head in a brace, and placed a "contact lens" that was really an aiming device, and something to prevent me from closing it over my eye.

The laser itself was a bright green flash.  I had envisioned just a few shots, like a tack welding, to hold the retina in place, but this seemed to go on interminably.  There were many, at least a hundred, flashes of the laser. Some of them were moderately painful, sort of a dull throb, like a head ache pain. The eye itself was illuminated by a bright pink light.

The Dr. reported that he thought he had stabilized the area around the tear, but that it would take up to two weeks to develop full strength (it's basically scar tissue from a laser burn that holds the tissue together).  However, he said the hemorrhage had made it difficult to get the area on the outside (periphery) of the tear, and that he wants to see me in a week, and possibly take another crack at me with the laser then.

Immediately after the surgery, the eye was nearly blind from all the bright light.  After a few minutes it was seeing OK again, but not too great.  I was still dilated as I was driving home (using the very dark shades left over from my cataract operation).  At one point the eye did become kind of irritated and teary as the dilation and numbing wore off, but it seems to be OK. 

I have a list of symptoms to watch for (any more flashing, more floaters, or worst of all, the dreaded black curtain), and an appointment of next week.

1 comment:

  1. been there; done that.

    I too was surprised that the laser was painful.