My Surgery……Retina Detachment

……. And so this is my first post where there will be no pictures from any camera. But all about my recent injury….an eye injury to be exact.

Its true what they say of us humans, we don’t know how precious things are, or we take things for granted…..until we run the risk of losing it. I wouldn’t say that I lost it, keeping all my fingers crossed.

I had a retina detachment surgery.

Oh, well, some of us say, its not that serious an injury, 90% who sort treatment early enough heal pretty well. But these 90%, lots of them do not recover full vision and many had a 2nd or even 3rd detachment.

I think that’s not to correct way to think of the matter. I went totally blind in 1 eye for 2 days and its already driving me nuts. Strange thoughts start to creep up to your head. What if I couldn’t do things I like and used to do anymore ? What if the other eye too? I am left with one eye, which too isn’t seeing very well. What if I cannot see my family or support them anymore?

Lots of looping thoughts, enough to drive one mad with worries.

A little history. I was highly myopic. The last couple of years saw the degree starting to shoot up. I mean, I am 40 years old right, things ought to have stabilized or so it has been for the past 20 years. Why is it shooting up now? The optometrist decided that I have long sightedness and so came the correction glasses but something is still not too right.

More tests in the next few months, he couldn’t locate the exact degree. It was a +12 or + 12.5 or +11.5. Nothing matches. “Old age he says, but its better you also seek the opinion of a doctor. This increase is not normal.”

Turns out I have cortical cataracts in both eyes. Being boisterous, I opted to do both eyes 1 week after another and flew off on a 12 hour flight for meetings in Europe. I was in Amsterdam last and hence the last post. The vitreous gel of my left eye starts to pull off and I have this big piece of cloud like floater moving around. Nurse told me that I should get immediate medical help no matter where I am if I start to see flashes. The flashes never came but the floater was in the way of me seeing things.

And I start to get really active as well. Because it’s like a whole new world to me, I can now do sports without glasses or contact lens. I see things better and played better. Its not like I played immediately, I waited a full 1 and a half months before starting again but I guess it was not enough.

Anyone who is highly myopic and had cataract surgery has a 1% chance to get retina detachment, and so I am part of this 1%.

I Loved the sport of basketball but then I was still taking it easy so I was just shooting hoops and doing layups, lots of jumping etc. The thing is I sweat a lot from the top of my head, sweat were getting into my eyes all the time and my eyes will look a little red after the game. It was like this before and after cateract surgery. I cannot help but think this is one of the major causes of the detachment.

On July 23, 3 weeks after I resumed physical activities, it happened. I noticed light flashes in my right eye. It should be the left because the big floater was there but no……it was on the right eye. Everytiime I closed my eye and move it from left to right, its there. Like some bolt of lightning flashing down the corner of my right eye. It was spectacular but it was also weird. The nurse warned me about this.

I went to sleep, hoping that it will go away. The next morning, I see more floaters but very very small little specs. Well, it’s a Sunday, my doctor is closed, so lets see.

Was going down the escalator when I started to notice a little shadow at the bottom right corner. Something there…. perhaps an infection, I thought it would go away.

Just that it didn’t. By dinner, this shadow has grown to take up ¼ of my vision from the bottom. It’s like a bubble filled with darkness with moving edges. My retina is detaching., I am pretty sure of it now. Call up my doctor and he said that its better I see him at his clinic in 30 mins. Appreciate this gesture of his, since it was a Sunday.

It was confirmed that I have a retina detachment but the operation could not be done now because I just ate a ton of food. Scheduled for the earliest surgery the next day at 7am.

By this time, the shadow has moved to cover ½ my vision, up to the macular line were it was thought to have the most nerves for fine vision. I started to curse myself for eating last evening……..

Going under general anesthesia, I did all the procedures for this surgery. The scleral buckling, where a ring is tightened around the eye to help press the detached retina to the blood supply back wall. My doctor explained that whatever perfect eyesight he gave me with the cateract surgery…will cease to be. The eyeball is compressed down, I have gotta live with some sort of glasses.

Frankly, I do not really care, just give me my vision back.

Then came the gas bubble procedure, Pneumatic Retinopexy, which pushes the torn retina against the back wall of the eye…..which means I have to face down for the next weeks. ts not so easy to lie head down for the whole time, the neck aches and the back aches. And no matter what pillow formation i set up in the night, I ended up with heads up every morning.

And the Vitrectomy, where the vitreous gel in my eye is totally removed so as to insert the gas bubble.

As time passes, the gas will be absorbed by the body and in its place will be fluids. Plus, the lasered up all the other thin walls, which they suspect may cause further detachment.

Sounds simple enough? The surgery took 2 hours. When I woke up, I could see nothing, Its like looking thru a wall of white, no shadows, nada, nothing. Strange random thoughts run through the head again.

The day after surgery, checkups shows that the pressure in my eye is twice the normal range, so they are worried about glaucoma. More eyedrops, Xalatan, Combigan, pills, Diamox to go with my Prednisolone pills and eyes drops…… Its worrying that I see nothing.

A week gone, pressure has came down….doctor is more relaxed….the machine managed to get a reading on my eye although I can tell you the vision is blurry. I can make out shadows but if you are waving your hands, I cannot tell if it’s up down or left right.

Where is the watery vision that everyone is talking about? At least if I see that, I can already start to assume I should be recovering and to feel a little more relieved, its already 10 days…….

14 days gone and there is the watery vision but only when I look down. I can make out some shapes but only within a 5cm distance. Anything more, it changes from looking through a glass of dirty water to looking through a glass of milk.

Recovery is long and slow. Its not easy to deal with it. I have to start thinking what I can do or cannot do now in a few months time when I recover and I wish to recover well. No pressure on the eye…….no flying ? no basketball ? Many questions.

I am now worried that the left eye will get it as well. Statistics says that if you get it in one eye, there is a 20% chance to get it in the other eye. Doc has been tell me that in the next week or 2, he wants to take a look at it and laser all the weak points shut. I mean…..I still cannot see in my right and now I have to treat my left before the right recovers ?

Every time I close my eyes, I scour the area for flashes, its that fear.

I am now 3 weeks after my retina detachment and surgery. Will go for my next check up soon, wish me luck.


P.S. Deon is at a good moment in his life now and he has some time, hopefully, he can post more pictures for you guys.




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