Impressions of my eye operation
The actual procedure that I had is called an Intraocular Lens Transplant – it is basically a cataract operation. But I had it because the lens was shaped incorrectly – not for a cataract.
Warning : discussions of surgical operation here – so be careful if you are squemish!
The most bizarre part of it was that I was awake for the entire operation. I was given a chose – a full anesthetic, or a “twilight” anesthetic. I chose the latter because it has less of an effect on the body, and is quicker to recover from. So, I got to observe the operation first-hand and speak to the doctor throughout.
I arrived at the hospital at about 7:00am, and after checking in at reception I went to the ward. I was hoping for the penthouse suite, but I didn’t even get a bed! No, it was a private hospital, but because it was such a quick procedure they don’t give you a bed – just a chair.
So, after getting my chair, they gave me eye-drops every five minutes for about ½ hour. This was to dilate the pupil. After the dilation was complete, it was time for the operation. I put on the surgical scrubs (I was allowed to keep my clothes on – so some dignity for me), and was wheeled into the theatre waiting area. It did remind me of an airport apron, with everybody lined up for takeoff, so to speak. I did argue about the wheel chair, but eventually I lost that fight and accepted that my plight for that morning was to be wheeled around!
After waiting around in the recovery area of the theatre for another ½ hour, I was wheeled into the actual operating theatre – where I met the doctor and anesthetist. Whatever they gave me was amazing – I have never felt so relaxed in my life! I was completely happy with whatever they were doing and was feeling so chilled. I wish I felt like that at the end of a day’s work!
So, basically what they did is as follows:
Firstly, they made a small cut in the side of my eye and inserted some sort of ultrasound machine which destroyed the lens. Then they rinsed the eye out and used some sort of tweezers to remove the debris of the old lens.
After that, they inserted the new lens and patched my eye up. The hole is small enough that they don’t need stiches. In case you are wondering, it is an artificial lens, and not from somebody who no longer needed it (I am not sure how I would have reacted having a donor lens)!
Throughout the procedure, my left eye was staring at the ceiling (I kept my contact lens in it so I could still see). My right eye felt like I was looking underwater, but the water was pink and red. Everything was swirling and out of focus. I was aware of the poking around in my eye, but I could not really feel it.
My recollections of the actual process are a bit scattered. I remember climbing onto and off the bed, and speaking to the doctor throughout the procedure. I also remember him telling me to please be quiet (a few times) because he was trying to focus (that is what happens if you operate on a Toastmaster). I also remember complaining that the overhead lights were too bright, and the doctor asking for them to be dimmed a bit. I remember the heart monitor being put on my chest (I mentioned the ping machine to them but they didn’t get the joke), but I don’t remember it being removed.
I don’t remember hearing the ultrasound machine – apparently it is quite noise, and I don’t remember the patch being put on. I do remember being wheeled back into the recovery room, and my pulse being taken before being wheeled back to my chair in the ward. I don’t remember removing the surgical scrubs, but I do remember them telling me to have some coffee and a sandwich.
I was out by 10:30 and home by 11.
The next day the patch was removed and I started the antibiotic eye drops. My sight was already much improved, and my eye is feeling better from day to day. It is still very sensitive, and the slightest irritation (such as onion fumes or sudden bright light) causes it to stream with tears for a few minutes. I also sometimes wake up in the middle of the night with a weepy eye, but I am sure that it will diminish as my eye recovers from the trauma. I was told by friends that night driving might be a problem, but I am having no problems there.
In summary, the procedure was painless, simple and with minimal disruption to my life. If it is the recommended procedure for you, then I highly recommend it.
Postscript: my right eye was measured today at 20/20 with a mild astigmatism – exactly 8 days after the operation.