I haven’t been posting much about myself lately. This would be one of the uncommon exceptions. In about 12 hours, I will undergo surgery for cataract in my left eye. I don’t know how it will go (and I know more than most what can go wrong in this procedure! :D), so I can’t say when I will be back to posting. Hopefully by the weekend, or even earlier?
Forty is not the usual age to develop such a condition. My cataract has a long and chequered history. In a way it’s ironic that as an eye-surgeon I underwent so many issues with my own eye.
It started with a viral conjunctivitis; simple enough, one of the hazards of my erstwhile trade, no matter how many precautions I take. Unable to check my own eye of course, I went to one of the leading personages in the field, and came back satisfied.
When it refused to get better in a couple of days, I suspected it wasn’t this simple. So I stood in front of a mirror and examined my own eye. Lo and behold, bacteria had followed in the virus’ foot-steps. There were thick membranes under both lids. With no option, I heat-sterilized an eyebrow plucker and strippped off those membranes from my own eye, using the mirror as my assistant. Quite a bloody procedure it was!
With modified therapy,the infection came under control and eventually subsided. But it left in its wake small, white spots on my cornea. Sub-epithelial infiltrates, the little dots played havoc with my vision. Any light passing through these was refracted all over the place and I could barely open my eye in sunlight. Reading a screen became a nightmare. Driving was even worse.
The only treatment for these was steroid drops, so I started those. My stroll through Kanski’s chapters wasn’t over yet. I turned out I was a steroid responder, which means that every drop of prednisolone acetate sent my intra-ocular pressure through the roof. I felt this vague pain and heaviness, turns out I was clocking at 35 mm Hg (normal pressures are 10-21). This was steroid-induced glaucoma. I tried all anti-glaucoma medicine (I was quite an expert in the field back then), but even oral therapy was only able to bring my pressures down to the mid-20s (as an example, pressures around 35-40 continuously for 7 days can irreversibly damage the optic nerve and permanently reduce your vision). Having tried all combinations of steroids and anti-glaucoma meds, I reluctantly gave up all therapy. My pressures came back to normal, but the spots re-appeared.
Over the past year or so, I made my peace with reduced vision in one eye; life carried on. It was frustrating to have to turn my head to glance left, and at times the strain was too much, but I adapted. What else was there to do in any case?
A month or so back, I went to get my glasses checked. I realized that my left eye was functionally blind! I had no idea when this happened, my right eye compensated and I was used to not using the left one anymore.
Turns out the steroids had one parting shot, they’d given me cataract, something that would outlast their use.
So here I stand, a cataractous eye at 40, due for surgery and a prosthetic implantation, a procedure I performed uncounted times. It should be an interesting experience and I aim to tell all about it, if it goes well!
I should end my ramble here. Hope to see you guys binocularly, and soon!