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My DALK graft checkup – Corrected to 20/15 and Next Appt in 1-year

I just visited Dr. Holland again for a checkup.  I had a topography taken and the staff found that I was correctable to 20/15… yes… 15.   Dr. Holland said that cases like mine put to rest that vision cannot be as sharp for DALK patients.   I wore my glasses to this appointment, and corrected to 20/20 with those.

My graft is quiet and my eye pressure and corneal thickness are fine.  Dr. Holland reminded me of what to look for – light sensitivity and redness in the left eye only.  I watch it like a hawk.  He said I’m out of the major rejection period, but to always assume rejection when symptoms emerge “until proven otherwise.”

I’m to keep using Restasis 2x per day (indefinitely) … I learn a bit more each visit about how beneficial these drops are to preventing rejection.  Expensive but worth it, and better than steroids for someone like me who responds to them with increased eye pressure.

No more appointments for 1 year unless needed.

orbscan-1-4-13

 
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Posted by on January 5, 2014 in Diary Entries, Dr. Visits, Recovery

 

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A Mild Corneal Abrasion Caused By Trying New Contacts

fluorescein eye exam - Google Search - Google Chrome_2013-12-10_13-30-40Well the question as to whether my grafted cornea has fully regrown its nerves has been answered with a resounding “YES”

I have been hoping to make the transition to “regular” contacts and so have been testing a series provided to me by my fitter.  Two of the types of lenses were “too tight” meaning that they did not move around the eye enough and were difficult to get out.

It seems that during one of the tests, where the lens was sticking in one place through the day, I caused an microscopic abrasion on my cornea.  I had started feeling a persistent burning/lash sensation on my graft and, being a hyper-vigilant paranoid patient, went in to see Dr. Koffler.  He applied florescence and at first didn’t see anything. But after a few moments he found a minor abrasion in the middle of the grafted cornea and concluded this was the source of my discomfort. The graft looked fine, by the way.

muro-solution

I took a break from the lenses, applied Muro 128 and have settled back into using the “custom” 3-month lenses I was originally using, but with an updated prescription.

Everything is fine now as we move into the holidays.

 
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Posted by on December 10, 2013 in Diary Entries

 

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3-D Movies after Corneal Transplant

With Keratoconus in my left eye, I had pseudo-3d vision.  My right eye was doing the lions share of sharp vision, while my left eye was trying hard to give a blurry depth to it all.  But for the most part, I was monocular.

When my wife, kids and I had popped in to a “Bug’s Life in 3D” movie at Disney around 10 years ago, I could not see the effects.  I had since looked at a 3d movie or two on TV and still, nothing.

GRAVITY

floating-in-gravity_original

But since my surgery, I’m fully binocular.  So my wife and I decided to go see “Gravity” in 3D last night.  You might say it’s the first 3D movie I’ve seen since, well, ever.  It was a lot of fun to wear the glasses and see the various objects spinning outside the screen.  The movie was pretty good (I got hung up on how Sandra Bullocks’ escape pod was pointing in the right direction when she fired the thrusters and other physics problems) and I enjoyed the evening with my wife.

I look forward to seeing the new Hobbit movie or other 3d movies soon.

 
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Posted by on October 21, 2013 in Little Things That are Better

 

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Little Things: Glasses after Corneal Transplant (That Work!)


oakley

A short post today.  With the sutures coming out slowly over time, it’s always been my choice to put off getting a new eyeglasses prescription.

With lenses being so expensive, and insurance limitations, it hardly made sense to pay for a new left lens every few months as my vision (astigmatism) was altered by the process.  I was already tweaking expensive contacts to follow the “suture roulette”, so I chose to hold off on the glasses.

Well, with all sutures out and a month of stabilization, I’ve finally got new lenses for my Oakley glasses.  It’s amazing to have spectacles that correct nearly as well as my contacts – and liberating.  I can now feel more confident on driving holidays where I might find myself at the wheel longer than my lens wear time allows.  And I can easily drive should a mid-night emergency happen.

Scott Clark

With allergies wreaking havoc on both eyes this Fall, I may choose to wear the glasses more often, allowing me to use eye drop antihistamines anytime I need them, avoiding the drowsiness that comes with their oral equivalent.

I cannot remember when I last had glasses that worked so well – but I’d guess it’s been nearly 15 years.

So, yet another little thing that the DALK surgery has brought me, more than two years later.

 

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Have a Graft? In the Aisle Seat? Cover Your Eyes While Passengers Seating/Deplaneing!

luggage

I do a bit of business travel, and I always ask for the isle seat.  I also carry a small overnight bag and laptop bag, checking anything else.

Since my corneal transplant, I have become acutely aware of the hazard to my eye/graft caused by inconsiderate passengers coming through the isle or packing their luggage into the overhead bin.  The problem has gotten out of control with the airlines charging $25-50/bag for checking.  People are bringing everything they can onto the plane – even knowing that they’ll likely not fit (and require *free* gate checking, possibly delaying the flight.)

Twice in a recent trip did I get hit on the head by the bottom of a roll suite case, a laptop and in one case, some kind of strange musical instrument.

So, if you have a graft, I suggest that you cover your eye while people lumber down the isle with all manner of luggage.  I actually put my head down on my recent flight – taking a hit to the back of my neck!  I’m considering wearing my safety glasses!

photo: USA Today

 
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Posted by on July 25, 2013 in Interesting Stuff, Tips

 

Final 4 Sutures Removed

This morning I went back to Cincinnati Eye Institute and met with Dr. Holland and had the usual run through of tests. I was there 1.5 months earlier than planned because a month ago I had a suture breakage and Dr. Holland said if we start having issues with sutures that I should come see him.

The broken suture was no fun, and I have to travel some on business – was worried that would happen in an airport or in front of 200 people.

So today, he cut the last four from my graft.  There are now no mechanical connections between my body and the donor’s cornea.  That made me anxious for some reason, but I was reassured that it would be fine (unless I got boxed in the eye!)   We tested my eye pressure, vision and did a topography.  All good.

Time to remove the sutures…

dalk-cross-section

The normal drops for numbing and within 5 minutes he’d removed them.   We talked again about PRK surgery in 5-6 months and I was on my way.

Ow.

After the numbing drops began to wear off, I took a couple of Tylenol.  But it was pretty painful.  The longer sutures are in, the more they seem to hurt after removal and numbing meds wear off.

Ow. Ow. 

By 4-5 pm I was very uncomfortable, and took 1/2 of a stronger pain pill which helped.  Also added some Systane to my eye – because the pain is likely caused by the inner eyelid rubbing on the freshly cut areas of my eye.

My plan is to medicate myself liberally tonight and hope that things are better in the morning.

Our PRK discussion was about trying to get my left eye free from the need for any contacts at all.  I asked about risks and Dr. Holland made the point that the risks for PRK are about the same as long term contact lens use (infections.)  So I am strongly considering it, despite the out-of-pocket costs and another procedure on the eye.  We will discuss in 4 months.

Follow up:  2 days later.

Pain is gone and only a residual dryness remains.  I have been doing my antibiotics.  Went metal detecting Saturday and Mountain Biking Sunday and it was great.  Safety glasses for sure!

 
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Posted by on July 12, 2013 in Dr. Visits, Recovery

 

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Hundreds lose Vision Each Year to Fireworks in the USA

The 4th of July is tomorrow in the USA, and with it comes neighborhood and community fireworks displays.  Most of the people setting off fireworks have little to no training, and there are many injuries – including serious damage or destruction of the cornea.

 400 Americans lose vision in one or both eyes each year because of eye injuries caused by fireworks.

Some facts:

  • Approximately 8,500 Americans are treated in emergency rooms each year for fireworks-related injuries. Of these, it is estimated that 20 percent are eye injuries.
  • 4150420449_811289d8b9_zAs many as 400 Americans lose vision in one or both eyes each year because of eye injuries caused by fireworks.
  • Children, 16 years and younger, account for 60 percent of fireworks eye injuries in the United States.
  • 80 percent of fireworks injuries occur around the Fourth of July holiday, between June 29 and July 5.
  • More than 40 percent of injuries happen to bystanders.
  • By far, the most dangerous type of firework is the bottle rocket. The bottle rocket flies erratically, frequently injuring bystanders, and the bottle or cans used to launch them often explode, showering fragments of glass or metal in all directions.
  • Sparklers burn at 1,800 F (hot enough to melt gold) and cause third degree burns.
  • The typical victim is a male, ages 13-15, at home with a group of friends, no adults present. The typical firework is a bottle rocket, which leads to severe eye damage. The treatment is immediate surgical intervention; multiple follow-up surgeries. The probable outcome: permanent visual loss; frequently, loss of an eye.

The American Academy of Ophthalmology warns that fireworks related injuries are dangerous and provides these guidelines for fireworks

  • Never handle fireworks without protective eyewear and ensure that all bystanders are also wearing eye protection.
  • Never let young children play with fireworks of any type. If older children are permitted to handle fireworks, ensure they are closely supervised by an adult and wear protective eyewear.
  • Clear the area of flammable materials and view fireworks from at least 500 feet away.
  • Leave the lighting of professional-grade fireworks to trained pyrotechnicians.

For those who attend professional fireworks displays and/or live in communities surrounding the shows:

  • Respect safety barriers at fireworks shows.
  • Do not touch unexploded display (show) fireworks; instead, immediately contact local fire or police departments to help.

If an eye injury occurs, don’t touch or rub it, as this may cause even more damage. Also, don’t flush the eye out with water or attempt to put any ointment on it. Instead, cut out the bottom of a paper cup, place it around the eye, and immediately seek medical attention!

 
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Posted by on July 3, 2013 in Tips

 

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