New eye #1, after one week

Herewith an update on the progress of my lens replacement procedures. It’s now six days since the procedure; this time last week I was enjoying a last glass of wine before going “nil by mouth”, knowing that I’d be alcohol-free for a couple of days after the procedure.
Things continue to go well. I had another follow-up visit today: my intraocular pressure is still up a bit (currently 25, expected value 21 or lower), but my doctor is unperturbed by this. My new eye still tests at 20/20; I rattled off the tests easily, and suggested that we should perhaps test at 20/15…. My final checkup for the right eye will be on October 11, and we’ll do the prep for the next procedure at that appointment. Then I’ll have my left eye done on October 18.
Over the last week I’ve been focussed on five issues: glasses, driving, protecting the eye, working, and eye drops. The glasses have been the most frustrating. I’ve been ignoring the “old eye” and concentrating on making things work for the new, far-sighted eye, and I knew that I would need reading (and computer) glasses. Eventually (in November) I’ll get prescription lenses, probably progressive, but for now I’m stuck with off-the-shelf glasses from my local pharmacy. Ostensibly, these come in a variety of strengths; in practice, I’ve found the descriptions to be useless. I’ve tried dozens of reading glasses, and bought four different pairs, but I’m not really happy with any of them. One thing that I forgot (basic optics – doh!) is that reading glasses are convex, and convex tends to mean chromatic aberration and barrel distortion. So all of my reading glasses have various degrees of chromatic distortion, and straight lines simply aren’t. Sigh. On the other hand, I have finally bought myself some decent aviator-style sunglasses, which are exquisitely comfortable. For the first time in my life, I have the sunglasses I want.
Driving has been OK, but it requires some care. I started driving on Sunday, without any corrective lenses (except for sunglasses). I discovered that I tend to augment my situational awareness with a lot of quick glances in the left and right side mirrors, without moving my head. This means that left side mirror checks involve just my left eye. But that’s the old eye, which is currently uncorrected. Oops. So now, I have to deliberately move my head to check my mirrors, just like I had to do when I was taking my Massachusetts driving test in 1981. Apart from that, things work OK. My brain tends to use the clear image from my right eye, but to supply some limited depth perception from my fuzzy left eye. The biggest problem is that my commute is the wrong way; in the morning and in the evening I find myself driving into the sun, low on the horizon, and even with decent sunglasses my “new eye” gets overloaded, which results in my left eye taking over.
Protecting the eye. Well, yes: I have to. (Remember those videos: this procedure uses a suture-less incision.) So I bought swimmer’s goggles to protect my eyes in the shower. I hadn’t realized that they were seasonal items; I had to go to a hiking goods store to find some. And I’m supposed to sleep with an aluminium shield over my eye, so that I don’t rub it in my sleep. On Saturday I took a nap, and woke up in a panic when I realized that I was rubbing my unshielded eye. Since then I’ve been obsessively careful about using the shield, taping it down so tightly that I now have a bruise on the side of my nose where it rubs.
Working. Sigh. This has been a pain. The simple fact is that if I read (and write) on paper or screen for more than 20-30 minutes, I get eye-strain and a headache. (I feel one coming one right now, as I write this blog piece.) This is really inconvenient in my line of work. All I can do is pace myself, and crave indulgence from my colleagues.
And finally, my life is dominated by those bloody eye-drops. Three times a day (I’ve settled on 8am, 3pm and 11pm), three different drops (Nevanac, Vigamox, Durezol), five minutes apart. And the instructions are to continue until the bottles are empty, so I have no idea how long it’s going on for.
But setting all that aside… today, after my doctor’s appointment, we stopped at Starbucks and sat outside with our coffee, and I marvelled at the clarity and delicate colour of the trees lining El Camino Real, seeing them with – literally – fresh eyes. It was wonderful.

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