corneal transplant surgery


It’s been a while since my last post at Week 9. I had just had my first two stitches removed. I had two more stitches removed in May, and two more removed last Thursday. My vision is pretty much unchanged since last month. My health has been excellent, and I haven’t had any problems with pain, infections or (much) light-sensitivity. I am looking forward to the day when I can get fitted for a new eyeglass prescription so that I can see if going through this procedure was worth it. Without having clear vision outside of 6″ – 8″, it’s hard to tell. My doctors continues to tell me that everything is going well. The cornea is still clear, and the donor cornea has a good shape. He said that he will continue to remove stitches to fine-tune the shape, so I will continue to have monthly appointments for the foreseeable future. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a prescription within the next couple of months.

I continue to use a couple of informal barometers to check my progress. My DirecTV box has a bright blue ring in the front, so I continue to check the spread pattern of my vision. I mocked up an example in my Week 9 post. The pattern is still round, just a little wider and softer. This explains why my vision is still blurry at distances. I can also see a pattern in my non-surgical eye, but the spread is less and more random. My glasses bring everything into focus, so I continue to be hopeful that the same can be done in my surgical eye. It is difficult to remember how bad my vision was prior to the surgery, but I do remember that I my vision was equally blurry  whether I was looking through my lens or not. I am also able to read close-up text through my surgical eye, such as the fine print found on the back of a credit card. This is something that I can’t even do with my non-surgical eye. I have also noticed a significant reduction is nighttime glare, which makes it easier to drive at night. Unfortunately, since neither eye has good vision at a distance, I still limit my night driving when I can.

So that’s about it for now. Hopefully I can continue to be healthy and more toward better vision. I’m down to three drops of the OmniPred per day, and I only take Vigamox for two days immediately after stitches are removed. Oh yeah, stitches being removed… The first set of stitches that I had removed was pain free. I felt pretty good the day-of, but the next day I had some redness, light-sensitivity and a little bit of pain. I had a little bit of pain while the second set of stitches were removed, and had the same pain the next day. I had the same pain following removal of the third set, so know I think I know what to expect… typically about 24 hours of discomfort and redness. After that it’s back to normal.

If I’ll try to post updates more frequently if something changes. Otherwise, no news is good news.

I has been about a month since my last post, and almost seven weeks since my surgery. The swelling is pretty much gone, and I don’t have as much sensitivity to light. Up until about a week ago I was still having problems with light during my morning commute. The sun was right at eye level, so it felt like a flashlight (a really bright, hot one) was being shined in my eyes, even with sunglasses on. I still need to wear sunglasses when the sun is out, but driving is a lot better now.

My vision is still very blurry, but I can see things that I couldn’t see before. My vision still changes from day to day, so some days I can barely read text on my computer screen, and other days it’s just a blur. One point of reference that I use to test my vision us reading the address on envelopes. I few weeks ago I could read the address from about 3 inches way. Now I can read the address from about 14 inches away.

My next appointment is in about 10 days when I’m supposed to start getting stitches removed. That should be interesting…,

This week was an interesting week. The redness and swelling in my eye is going down and it is starting to look normal again. My vision is still blurry, and when I look at a bright light source I see multiple instances of the image slightly off center from one another. I probably notice 15 or 20 if those images. I’ve been told that this will go away over time as the eye heals and as stitches are removed.

Even with the double-double-double vision, I’ve noticed many positive improvements in my overall vision. While at work today, I was sitting with a colleague at her computer. Before the surgery, I was unable to read screen text from more than standard reading distance. I would always have to lean in closely toward the monitor to see something over someone’s shoulder. Today I was sitting behind her about about 5-6 feet away and was able to read text in an Excel spreadsheet. I also noticed that I’m able to read larger text with my “bad” eye from a distance, and I am able to read close-up text (3-4 inches away), which is something that I can’t even do with my “good” eye. Night driving is still bad, but a little better.

I still have no pain in my eye. I just go through moments of dryness when I need to use artificial tears. I’ve also noticed that I have light sensitivity for a short time after taking my drops. I am very glad that I had this procedure done in the winter, when the days are mostly overcast. We’ve had a couple of sunny mornings, and taking my drops before I left for work made the commute extremely uncomfortable. Today I took my drops after I arrived and I had no problems with light sensitivity. Learning the order of things has been interesting.

I’m doing a lot better today. The swelling in my eye is going down and I feel less irritated. I got out of the house for a while today. I went to visit my parents and went to an evening movie with my wife. We saw “Up in the Air” with George Clooney, a very good movie. It was interesting being out at night to test my vision. My eye is blurry, but there didn’t seem to be much glare, which was the big problem before the surgery. I have mild Keratoconus in my right eye, so I still have a problem with distortion and glare, but I could notice an improvement in my overall vision.  I’m looking forward to the day when I can getting a new prescription to see what my new eye can really do.

I started noticing some swelling below my lower eyelid. There seems to be a lot of swelling and fluid on my eye… I call it the “gooey eye”. My eye doesn’t look round at the bottom; it looks almost like a partially deflated water balloon. I doctor suggested that I bump up my steroid drops to 6 times a day. I don’t have any pain, my eye just looks bad.

Today was my one week follow-up appointment. The doctor said that everything is going as expected. My vision is still blurry, and will be for a while. My eyes are still red, but the eyelid swelling is going down. I am also doing better with light sensitivity, so I don’t feel the need to wear the eye shield anymore. I’m starting to feel closer to normal.

I had my post-operative appointment the morning after my surgery. When my bandage was removed, my eye was gooey from the ointment and tears. I could tell immediately that my vision had improved. While it was still very blurry, my vision wasn’t distorted as it had been… plus I was actually able to read two lines on the eye chart! I was also amazed that I could see a little bit of depth in objects. I was holding a tissue, and it didn’t look flat. Wow! The eye still felt good with very little pain. I was told to continue taking my eye drops six times a day, and I was given a third drug to take once a day to control my eye pressure. My eyelid was swollen and my eyes were very red, but they felt OK.

After the appointment, I went home. It was overcast at first, but when the sun came out I could tell that my eyes were very light-sensitive. Even with my eye closed the sun caused my eye to hurt. I went home and my eyes were very irritated. The swollen eye would press against my cornea every time I blinked, so I wasn’t feeling very good. I didn’t feel very good the rest of the day, so I spent most of the time sleeping or lying with my eyes closed. I noticed some cloudiness around my eye near the stitches, but the doctor said that this, allowing with the irritation and swelling, was normal.