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Yearly Archives: 2011

Little Things: Holiday Lights without Keratoconus Halos

Keratoconus distortion at night - goneMy latest observation about the little things that are different since my DALK corneal transplant surgery comes this holiday season.  This year, I’m seeing holiday lighting as it’s mean to be seen – with pinpoints of color.   Not only were they hard to see with Keratoconus, but I was unable to drive around at night to look.   If I close my right eye, I still get the slightest echoing of pinpoints, but with both eyes, my brain filters that out.  I think the blurring that remains is because I’ve no corrective lens yet on the left eye.

Coming up:  I will be halting steroids in a week or so.

 
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Posted by on December 23, 2011 in Little Things That are Better

 

Tip for Corneal Suture Removal Antibiotics – Saving a few bucks

When you are in recovery from corneal transplant, your doctor will begin removing sutures – a few at a time each visit (providing everything is going well.)  Each time you leave you’ll be asked to drop antibiotics for 3-4 days several times per day.   A tiny amount, all in all.

The tip I have is this… ask the doctor or assistants if you can have a sample antibiotic (left by drug reps) rather than a prescription.  The samples have just the right number of drops for 4×3 or 3×3 and are meant to be given away for free.  This can save you the cost of the antibiotics and a trip to the drug store.   Even ask them to give you several bottles to be used on the subsequent visit (they have a decent shelf life.)

The doctors can get more, trust me.

This might save you $30-40 per visit.Antibiotics for Corneal Transplant Suture removal

 
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Posted by on November 20, 2011 in Surgery-Story, Tips

 

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Corneal Transplant Surgery – 8-month Follow Up – Steroids to Stop in 6 Weeks.

Post Corneal Transplant Topography 8 monthsToday I went in to Cincinnati Eye Institute for my 8-month follow up with Doctor Edward Holland.   The visit followed the same routine as before – corneal surface scan, vision check, pressure check, doctor chat, and suture removal.

My vision is not changed much – and the topography showed that my astigmatism has shifted axis, and Dr. Holland adjusted his suture removal strategy.  I had two sutures out today, which was quick and painless.   My eye pressure was in the normal range and my optic nerve looked just fine.   He told me not to worry about the eye pressure as long as the optic nerve looked good.

The only big news is that in 6 weeks, I’ll be stopping my steroid drops!  This is a bit early and reflects the fact that my cornea is “crystal clear.”   I’m to watch for inflamation around the graft, but none is expected.

I hate late morning appointments.  I left Lexington at 8:30 and wasn’t back until 2:30.  My next appt is at 7:55 AM.  I’ll probably be back in Lexington by 11:00.

 
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Posted by on November 17, 2011 in Dr. Visits, Recovery, Surgery-Story

 

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Anime, Manga, Pop-Star Contact Lenses – A great way to damage your cornea

My daughter is totally into Anime and Manga characters, so I’m going to pass this through to my readers…  Please share this with those you know with tweens or teens.

Postscript:  Apparently these lenses are now making their way into the child pageant circuit.  Unbelievable!!!

FDA issues warning about decorative contact lenses

Silver Spring, MD – People who use decorative contact lenses as part of their Halloween costumes should consider risks such as an eye infection, cornea damage, vision loss and blindness, according to a consumer update released Oct. 12 by the Food and Drug Administration.

Classified as medical devices, decorative lenses must be specially designed and fitted to a patient’s eyes and are not “one size fits all,” according to FDA. The agency warns consumers to be wary of vendors that do not require a prescription or provide thorough instruction for the lenses.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H45GYPAuTdg]

FDA recommends the following for people wearing decorative lenses this Halloween season:

  • Schedule an appointment with a licensed eye doctor, who can properly measure your eyes and provide a valid prescription.
  • Follow up with a doctor if you experience redness, pain or a decrease in vision.
  • Practice proper usage and storage instructions.
  • FDA also warns consumers about anime-inspired lenses, which typically are larger than normal contact lenses and not FDA-approved.
 
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Posted by on October 22, 2011 in Interesting Stuff

 

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DALK Checkup – A Few New Nuggets of Info

Lexington Farmer's Market

Well, today was a routine checkup.  Topography, pressure check, eye test.  Pretty much the same as the last time.  Dr. Holland removed two sutures as we continue “suture roulette.”   The graft looks great, and we’re right “on track.”

I did learn a couple of things today:

  • Peak rejection time is 8 months out from surgery.   This is for PK or DALK.  I thought it would be earlier.  This means that I must be extra diligent for RSVP symptoms between now and early next year.
  • The first sign of rejection will be redness and light sensitivity, not pain.   You should never wait for the pain if redness and pain are present.
  • When Restasis is part of your post-op drops routine, you should usually use it last.   So, for me, it’s Steroids, Pressure Med, then Restasis.
  • He suggested that I might go ahead and use Restasis in my right eye if allergies get bad again.  I think I’m through the worst of Fall allergies, however.
That’s it.
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Oh, I really do appreciate all the messages I get about how much people are enjoying the blog.  Thanks much.
 
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Posted by on September 29, 2011 in Dr. Visits, Surgery-Story

 

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Allergy Season, Ughhh!

 

 

The eyes are itching something awful right now.    I think the Restasis is helping my grafted eye stay less itchy than my ungrafted one.  Eye rubbing has been partially implicated as a cause for Keratoconus, so those of us who suffer with allergies must remain vigilant – possibly even wearing glasses as a reminder – to avoid rubbing the eyes.   Lucky for me, it happens only a couple of times per year for 2-3 weeks.

The view from my iPhone allergy system:

20110902-014305.jpg

 
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Posted by on September 2, 2011 in Diary Entries

 

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Corneal Transplant Grafts and Autumn Allergies

Lexington, KY AllergyWell, I looked at my iPhone Allergy App today and it says 10 out of 12 “Very High” for ragweed pollen – my nemesis.   Lexington is the Allergy Capital of the USA (at least in Spring,) and ragweed is the worst.  I take a daily Zyrtec which helps a lot, but several weeks out of the year it’s overwhelmed by the environment.

One interesting thing I noticed this Fall (my first with a corneal graft) is that my grafted eye doesn’t itch.   My ungrafted eye is itching like crazy.  I’m guessing it’s the nerves on the eye making the difference?  Or something about the surface that is dispersing the allergen?   Whatever, it’s a real blessing.

No matter what, I will always avoid rubbing.  Even though my right eye is past the highest risk for developing Keratoconus (I’m age 45) I still know that my corneas have a genetic weakness somewhere in there.

Everything is going great otherwise.  I’ve had a few headaches and some throbbing on my left eye.  I’m hoping it’s not eye pressure but as of the last visit that was on its way down.  I have another appointment in a couple of weeks.

 
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Posted by on August 26, 2011 in Diary Entries, Surgery-Story

 

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Little Things #3: Ability To Really Get Back into Mountain Biking

Mountain biking in Kentucky is generally called “Cross Country” riding.  The terrain is made up of undulating hills usually 150-200 feet maximum.  A good 10 mile ride will take several hours and offers a tremendous upper and lower body workout.  It’s more like cross country skiing than downhill skiing for lack of a better example.  The reward for a long climb is usually a roller coaster ride through a tunnel of vegetation, airborne some of the time, making split-second decisions on how to manage what’s coming at you.  You’ll encounter wildlife and get away from the city in a very special way.

The wooded trails require depth perception.  Things come at you and you must make a decision, react and adjust your “line”  to overcome it.  Branches can be low, rocks can be loose, and alternative paths through difficult terrain can make the difference between a thrill and a spill.  It’s definitely possible to ride with one bad eye, but you must ride slowly and carefully or choose “open” trails like the fire-roads I rode in CA.   Kentucky has very limited trails compared to most states (go figure) and most are of the wooded variety, so this is great for me.

I’d say ride wherever and however you can, good eyes or not, and adjust your pace and path.  As my surgical eye gets better and better, I crossed a “binocular” threshold where I am comfortable on cross country wooded trails again.  When I stop in the woods to enjoy a babbling creek or to watch a white-tail deer , I’ll say “thank you” again for the priceless gift that my donor gave me.

<photo by trailsource.com used under CC license>

 

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5-month DALK Follow Up – 20/30 Corrected Vision – 5 sutures out!

Had a very good 5-month visit today where 5 sutures were removed.  We’re playing “suture roulette” now, chasing the astigmatism around my cornea.

My astigmatism went from 9 diopters to 4 diopters, which is excellent.  I’m now seeing 20/30 corrected!   The graft is also healing very well.  My steroidal dose was cut in half and my eye pressure is now stable/managed.

For the first time in 10+ years, when they adjusted the settings on the eye testing optics, I reached a 20/30 level of vision.  It used to be a pure blur.  They used to flip the lenses around and I’d say “same, same, same”…it never got better or worse.  But now, it’s like it should be.

Dr. Holland said if I was in a hurry, I could possibly get fit for contacts, but I’m going to wait and let the graft heal as long as possible.

It couldn’t have been a better visit.    Back in 8 weeks.

Roulette Wheel Photo by Photo: Heather Rai

 
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Posted by on August 5, 2011 in Dr. Visits, Recovery, Surgery-Story

 

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Another Appointment Friday

This is a really short update to let everyone know I’m doing fine.  I have another appointment Friday with Dr. Holland when I assume he’ll do another topography and remove more sutures.   I’ll report back then with a usual update.  My only concern is eye pressure, but I’ve been diligent at meds and hope it’s stable.

 
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Posted by on August 2, 2011 in Diary Entries, Recovery, Surgery-Story

 

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