I’ve worn glasses since about the 4th grade. Later, out of high school, I switched to contacts. In my mid-20s, when I started a part-time job that was Friday and Saturday, 11pm to7am, I switched back to glasses. My vision isn’t terrible, correctable down to 20/20, but without my glasses I’m pretty hampered.
Earlier this year I noticed that my vision was blurry, but attributed it to my left eye which tends to be on the dry side. I went for a regularly scheduled biannual checkup with my ophthalmologist. My eye pressures had been elevated in the past but has been normal for several years now and I was shocked to find that I had a blind spot in the central visual field of my right eye. It seems my “blurry” vision was my left eye compensating for the right-sided blind spot.
Referral to a retinal specialist with the next available appointment a month in the future, I began obsessing about my visual field. I closed my left eye and discovered that at the a certain distance people’s heads disappear. So do cars. Closer to me and people have an hour-glass appearance. Straight lines are pinched in and wavy. I endlessly googled “retinal detachment” and “macular degeneration” and nothing seemed to fit.
Fast forward to my appointment and, lo and behold, I have a macular hole. The image of my retina looks exactly like the images on the internet. Solution? Eye surgery. And not just any eye surgery; a pars plana vitrectomy with inner limiting membrane peel and gas tamponade. In layman’s terms? They are gonna suck the jelly out of my eye, peel off the top layer of my retina, and put a gas bubble in there. All under local anesthesia with some IV sedation. Oh, and I have to lie on my face for 24 hours a day for 5-7 days after the surgery. But wait, there’s more. I have an 80-90% chance of developing a cataract in that same eye within a year. So that’s another eye surgery.
I’ve seen thousands of movies. Here is a just a short list of some I’ve seen that involved something grotesque with eyeballs: The Birds, Blade Runner, 28 Weeks Later, Orson Welles’ King Lear, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Marked for Death, The Descent, Evil Dead, Under Siege, The Crawling Eye, Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and A Clockwork Orange. Eyes represent something profoundly human and vulnerable.
I’m not happy.
I’ve only found a few vitrectomy blog posts out there so I’ve decided that I would keep an account of my experience so that others who face this surgery can have something to obsess about too. I keep telling myself that once I get past the retrobulbar injection (the local anesthetic) I should be fine. Based on others experiences I hope I’m anticipating what I will need for the upcoming event.
I’ll keep you posted on the good, the bad, and the ugly.
Here’s looking at you…