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Category Archives: Recovery

New Lens In!!!! Binocular Vision! The World is in 3D Now!

Everthing was in 3-d today!

A very big day on this long journey.  Today, I inserted the mini-scleral lenses in my grafted eye at Dr. Koffler’s office…and, for the first time in 15+ years, I had clear vision in my left eye.  My brain and eye muscles are not sure what to do with the new information so the crispness came and went, but here are my unfiltered first impressions:

  • Wow.  I can read the doctor’s diploma across the room.
  • The world is sparkly!
  • Everything’s in 3D!
  • Look at the birds!
  • Look at the clouds!!!
  • I don’t want to take this out!

I was only at a 3-hour wear limit today, so pulled them out mid-morning.  I’m looking forward to inserting them again tomorrow.

The removal was touch and go because I’m out of practice, and the eye is just slighly “dry-sore” tonight.  Nothing bad at all.  Totally expected.

I got a ‘care package’ with new plungers and other solutions, etc from the office.

NEXT UP!!!

Postscript:  Day 2, 3 of lens were tricky.  Eye was a bit sore from lens and insertion / removal was difficult.  I’m clearly out of practice on this.  Still feel a lot of anxiety about damaging my graft with lens effort.

 
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Posted by on April 24, 2012 in Recovery, Surgery-Story, Vision Improvements

 

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Contact Lens after Corneal Transplant – Trying a Mini-Scleral

Well, after a fair bit of anxiety and dread, I found my visit to Koffler Vision Group* for the fitting of a new mini-scleral RGP contact lens on my grafted eye to be quite uneventful.  We tried several diameters and shapes until one felt, well, like it wasn’t there.  (*My choice for contact fitting in Lexington.  I’m still Dr. Holland’s patient.  I would link to their site but it is not great and crashed my browser twice.  I will link to their Google Place page though)

Turns out the one with most comfort was a mini-scleral.

I hadn’t considered mini-scleral for my grafted eye, but it makes sense.  It forms a “helmet” over the graft and rests well outside my cornea.  It keeps the corneal hydrated and provides good vision.  I think I had put mini-sclerals out of my head after my less-than-stellar experience with them before my graft.  But that was not due to the lens, it was due to the cone and abrasiveness.

Anyway, I have my lens ordered and will post again when I get it in.  As usual, the Koffler staff were terrific.  By the way, Dr. Koffler was my second choice for my graft – but I just clicked better with Dr. Holland’s attitude about DALK options.  I feel confident either would do a great job, especially on a PK or other surgery.  I did apologize for being such a grump during my last visit to them 2 years ago (I was frustrated with trying to find a contact lens with a steep cone.)

Oh yes, they did a new topography.  Said it was “beautiful.”

 
 

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New – DALK Transplant Chronology

Quick post to let you know that I just made a new page which covers the chronology from my first Dr. appt to one year after the surgery.  Same posts, but in chronological order.

http://corneanews.com/about-kerataconus/chronology/

 

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DALK Transplant – One Year On

photo by Celia Clark

March 9th is the anniversary of my DALK transplant in my left eye, the subject of this blog.  I’m posting a bit early as I have a few moments.  As of one year, I am thrilled that I had the surgery – and forever grateful to the donor and their family.  I’m certain that the posts will slow down now unless I have good reason to post – changes, vision, etc. but I want to thank you for being a part of my story.  I will still monitor for comments and do my best to offer a layperson’s response.  When reading the story – try to go back in time and read the older posts first.

I will be returning to Dr. Holland in a month or so, and I think he’ll be asking me if I was fitted for contacts.  Thus far, I have not built the courage to put anything on my grafted eye.  Soon I will.  I am going to get a new glasses prescription first from my regular eye doctor.  It will be amazing to be able to see with glasses, and I’m thinking that will prompt me to move forward with a RGP lens (Dr. Holland’s recommendation.)  I’m in the primary rejection period for DALK – so am extra vigilant for the RSVP symptoms.  So far, all’s well.

One little aside:

Sometimes we all just forget how precious life is.  How precious love is.  My DALK eye has not forgotten how to shed a tear.  I’m sure those tears are a combination of my own and the loved ones of the donor.  Take today and give someone in your life a hug or a thank you.  It’s easy.  Sign your donor card.  That’s easy, too.

I want to thank my wonderful wife Heather for all of her support, both before and after the surgery.  She was my crutch when I was in pain and always was there to give me the support that only a truly caring wife could give.  She was awake with me that night after surgery when I thought everything was going wrong.  We went on a date recently – at night – and I could see her clearly in the dim dinner light.  Candle fumes used to burn like fire.  Not this time.   I drove there and back – dark outside.  The eye didn’t even come into play.  It was just our date.  This is the combined gift of the donor and my good fortune for meeting her.

 
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Posted by on March 4, 2012 in Diary Entries, Recovery, Surgery-Story

 

11 Month Checkup – Graft Clear, Pressure Down – “Go” for Contact Fitting

Had a good appointment with Dr. Holland today.  Especially amazing was the clarity I got on the vision test.  We went through the usual blur-blur-blur series as the technician flipped lenses and asked “now?”.. “now?”…”now?”   Here we go again… but then, almost startlingly, she flipped a lens and the eye chart snapped into focus.  “Whoa!” I said.  “Ah, we found the sweet spot” she said.  In 15 years I’ve never seen so clearly through that eye and any correction device.  It was almost overwhelming.

Dr. Holland examined the graft and said it was completely clear and that my eye pressure was down.  I’m reducing the pressure medicines to once daily, and staying off the steroids.  I’m reminded that I am at the peak rejection period for my graft (many, including me, thought that the rejection period peaks right after surgery, but it doesn’t.)

I have bad nearsightedness, even with the astigmatism getting resolved, so vision correction will be part of this plan.  It’s time you could get fitted for a RGP lens….   that scares me.  I have this graft which I have been treating like a delicate piece of crystal.. and now I’m to put a lens on it?   I’ll have to get over this.  Will schedule my fitting in the next couple of weeks.   There is still a possbility that I’ll go with PRK if recommended.

No sutures out this time – and the ones in there now may remain a while.

Next Appt, early Spring.

 
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Posted by on January 27, 2012 in Diary Entries, Dr. Visits, Recovery, Vision Improvements

 

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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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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Post-DALK Transplant Topography – Graft

This is what my corneal topography looked like after 2 sutures removed, and led to the removal of two more.

Corneal Topography - Graft

 

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Managing Intraocular Eye Pressure Issues with my Corneal Transplant (and… 2 more sutures out!)

Topography - to map the surface of the cornea and guide suture removal

Well, I just returned from anther follow up with Dr. Holland post-corneal transplant.  The graft and optic nerve look good, but my eye pressure is still too high – a condition known as “steroid-induced intraocular pressure.”  I’m among a small number (8%) of people who seem to have steady, ongoing eye pressure rises with use of steroids.

We’ve adjusted the type of steroids I’m using, and I’ll be taking a drop to reduce eye pressure as well (the drop is normally used for Glaucoma patients.)   I was also relieved to learn that there were no other reasons my eye pressure was rising (such as tissue or structural complications from surgery.)   Apparently that can happen with full-thickness graft, though rare.  I will be happy when the pressure is moderated – as I don’t like the sound of Glaucoma one bit!   What I think is going on is that I will be using a tiny amount of steroids – far less than most people.   This means I must be alert for any irritation symptoms.

Vision was stable, not that much better.  They claimed astigmatism was down, but I’m not seeing it.  I worked hard to see eye chart numbers.   I wish I’d brought my glasses so they could have evaluated those.  I think it will show I can see pretty damn good through them (despite the old prescription.)

But in terms of graft recovery, things looked good enough to remove a couple more sutures.   This time, the removals had a bit more of a pinch and I was slightly sore afterwards.   Tylenol and back to work.  Next time I might ask them to delay the numbing drops until right before the process itself.   There is this unpredictable delay between numbing drops and when Dr. Holland actually does the removal.   Last time, it didn’t hurt at all.    This is similar to how it went during surgery – my pain meds started wearing off before the procedure was done.  Ouch!

One Niggle… I’m consistently impressed by the Cincinnati Eye Institute Staff, but sure wish they’d dump the blaring TV’s in the waiting room.   It’s not just them, it’s everywhere.  Doesn’t anyone else like to pull out a book to read anymore?

 
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Posted by on July 1, 2011 in Dr. Visits, Recovery, Surgery-Story

 

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