Sutures out at 19 months

Well, it has been a very long time since I wrote about my transplant.  In a way that is not inappropriate.  It has been very uneventful.

I was expecting the sutures to be taken out for a couple of doctor appointments and each time the doctor told me they were looking fine and could stay in.  Dr. Goodman told me that the longer the sutures are in the better.  He was watching to remove them before they wore enough that they would break.

So I was a little surprised on this last appointment when he asked if I had time to take out the sutures.  I did have time but I hadn’t expected it.  But last Friday, roughly 19 months to the day, the sutures came out.

It was a thoroughly unpleasant 4 or 5 minutes.  But it is now done.  When I was deciding to get the transplant done, the thought of having the sutures out was really the most intimidating thing.  Well, it wasn’t fun but I certainly don’t regret having the transplant done for a few minutes of discomfort.

Really, a lot of the discomfort was in the complete inability to consciously control my good eye.  The way it works was, the left eye was given a series of drops over a half an hour to numb the eye and to disinfect it.  Then the doctor put a clip between the eye lids to keep the eye open.  Then he told me to keep my right eye open and looking at one point.  By doing this the left eye would also stay fixed on one point and he would be able to clip the sutures and then remove them.

Well, he needed to tell me a couple times that my right eye was closed.  I eventually just reached up and held it open with my fingers.  This seemed to help.  I certainly went faster if I was able to keep my eye still.

Anyway, it is done.  Now from my experience here are a few things you should remember if you are expecting to have the sutures removed.

  1. Bring tissue (they have tissue at the office but once you leave….  Your eyes will be watering and my nose was also running a lot.)
  2. Bring sunglasses (My eye were pretty sensitive to light.)
  3. Bring artificial tears
  4. Don’t expect to get a lot of work done for the rest of the day, especially if it involves trying to read from a bright screen.
  5. I wouldn’t expect to drive home from the appointment
  6. Have Advil or Tylenol ready.

I rode the bus to work after that.  If I had known, I would have gotten a ride … home.  I ended up working for a few hours, but I was quite distracted and really couldn’t do any work.  So I went home in the middle of the afternoon.  That was a good move.  I stopped at the library and got a book on tape, Master and Commander, and then layed down and listened to it.

By the evening things were much better and the next morning everything was back to normal.  I should say that it was never painful.  I was just aware of discomfort and wanted to keep my eye closed for the most part.

After the appointment I was also given a prescription for a antibiotic and steroid ointment.  This was placed in the eye.  It  was a little difficult to do on my own.  It was just awkward.  It worked much better to have my wife put it in.  (It took a lot less cleaning up my eyelashes.)  I am also continuing to use the Predforte 3 times a week (Mon, Wed, Fri).

So I think I am nearly done.  I have a follow up appointment in two weeks.  I would still do this whole process again.  My vision though not perfect is much better than before.

I hope this is helpful information.

6 Months and The Eye is Fine

Today marks six months since eye surgery.

I had an appointment today and my uncorrected vision in the left eye is now pretty close to 20/25.  That is Fantastic!  I see better with the left eye than the right.  Takes a little getting used to, but I don’t mind.

5 Months since my corneal transplant

It has been three months since I last wrote about my eye.   That indicates how little I am aware of it.

I am able to go for a week or so without explicitly thinking about my eye.  Really the most I think about it is related to remembering when I have doctor’s appointments up coming or when allergies make my eyes itch.

Two months ago (three months after the surgery) I had a followup doctor appointment.  I was told to let the Vigamox (antibiotic) run out and then stop taking it.  I also started taking the Predforte twice a day (morning and evening).

One month ago (four months after the surgery) at my last appointment, the doctor cut the Predforte down to a single drop a day.  Since I was still having no allergy problems with my left eye, I asked about getting something for my other eye.    Dr. Goodman prescribed another drop (Alrex – a diluted version of Predforte) for my right eye, two drops a day.

Since then, the right eye is better.  The left eye is also starting to itch some now.  I assume that is just allergies.  If it is still going on I’ll mention it at my next appointment, but it really isn’t bad.

I also learned one unexpected thing last week.  I had been a blood donor before the surgery, and I scheduled a donation.   I called the blood bank the day before and found that a corneal transplant is a “permanent deferral.”   That means I won’t be able donate blood again, unless they change their rules.  I hadn’t expected that.

Three weeks

I returned to the Doctor today for my 3 week post op checkup. All looks good (sorry for the pun.)

I’ve cracked the 20/30 line on the chart. I was able to see two letters on that line with a little blinking and concentration. The people in the office continue to use phrases like “that’s great,” “looks excellent,” and other superlatives. I can only assume that things are going very well.

I’ve been cleared to exercise, bike riding, walking, etc. No lifting that “makes you grunt.” That’s clear — the sit ups will have to wait. But, I will get to do some more activity.

I also asked about driving. Dr. Carson said that legally my vision was good enough, but I should only drive in the best conditions. That’s fine, I haven’t actually had any situations where not being able to drive was a huge problem.

My driver’s license vision test is early next month. Bad timing. We will have to see what happens. Might be a little awkward if I’m asked why I haven’t driven for a month. “Oh, I haven’t trusted my vision, but I should be able to pass this vision test.”

First Week Back In Review

Well,  I’ve finished a week back at work.  I think I am getting back into the flow of things.

I can truthfully say that I have not felt my eye for large portions of the last few day.  I really can’t believe how quickly my eye is healing.  I am still not supposed to excercise yet.  I hope that that will end at my next doctor appointment next week.

I can’t wait to get some new glasses.  I am very hopeful about how I will see with new glasses.  I am hoping that I will be able to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chong after my appointment with Dr. Goodman.

Back to work

I started back at work yesterday (11 days after surgery).  Things went very well.  The biggest problem was that the part of my mind that I use for programming has gone soft.  I spent most of yesterday getting back going and only today do I feel like I am am starting to move forward.

As an aside, putting drops into my eyes every hour has given me a sense of how long an hour is?  Very short.  Everytime I look up it seems like it is time to put a drop in.  I am still missing them.

Today I went to lunch with my friend Matt and while I was at Yerba Buena Gardens without my glasses on I realized that in the middle distance I have very noticeable double vision.  Seems worst when looking across the street.  At that distance I am seeing two distinct images for each pedestrian or parking sign.

Covering my eyes it didn’t seem to correct it.  It was noticably worse with just my right eye, though. Now with my glasses on I don’t notice it.  That is a symptom of Kerataconus.  I will check up on this in the future.

20/50 after a week!

On Wednesday, I had an appointment with Dr. Goodman. We started by reading the chart with my left eye. I was able to read another line. So the eye has improved to 20/50. Dr. Goodman looked at the eye and said everything look “excellent.”

He found a “fiber” in my eye and removed it with tweezers/forceps. To be honest it was good that it happened. It has reduced my eeriness about having the sutures removed in 12 months. He put numbing drops in my eye and I felt nothing.

My next appointment is in two weeks, and I will be returning to Dr. Chong for a new prescription sometime in the fall.

I also plan to go to work on Monday. I will need to be mindfull to make sure I do not overdo it.

Otherwise it has been pretty uneventful. I call that a good thing.