Over the last year or so I’d noticed a slight blurring of my vision in my left eye. A visit to my optician confirmed what I suspected: Posterior Capsule Opacification (PCO). This is a condition which makes it seem as if the cataract is returning. What actually happens is that some of the cells left from the cataract surgery grow on the back (posterior) of the lens capsule causing vision to become cloudy (opaque).
Luckily the treatment for this is quick and easy. My optician referred me to the eye clinic at my local hospital and the consultant there arranged for the treatment, this time at Watford General Hospital. The ophthalmologist used a low power laser to remove a small area on the rear of my lens capsule, just enough to allow light to pass through clearly. The entire procedure took no more than 10 minutes!
Afterwards, my sight was a bit blurred (partly due to the eye drops they use to dilate the pupil) but 24 hours later my vision was back to how it was after the cataract op. Brilliant! In fact I’m amazed at how clear my eyesight is now and how much detail I can see, especially at distance, e.g., when driving. The only drawback, if I can call it that, is that I am back to using reading glasses. I hadn’t realised that the PCO had enabled me to read without them!
So, hopefully, my vision is pretty good now and it will stay that way with no further laser treatment being required. With a bit of luck that really is the end of the story.
If you’d like to read more about Posterior Capsule Opacification, please see the RNIB.ORG.UK website for more information.
So, yesterday: my last trip to the eye clinic, where they pronounced themselves happy with the work they’ve done on my cataracts and signed me off. This has been the culmination of two years (almost to the month) of (sometimes scary) surgery, numerous clinic visits and two years worrying that I wouldn’t be able to see properly again, ever.
The transformation from myopic blurriness has been astounding and I can’t thank the NHS enough. Well, I can, actually. Thank you Luton & Dunstable Hospital and, specifically, my consultant Ms. Sandhu for giving me my sight back.
Thanks too, to Mr. Newman and the team at Addenbrookes for the amazing retinal surgery on not just one but two occasions, without which I would have been well and truly f****d.
Yesterday was the end of the forth week since the second cataract op. So, today, no more eye drops. Vision is gradually improving. Happy with that.
The patch came off the following morning – pretty good vision from the start. Today was a little better, plus my eye wasn’t so sore as yesterday. I’m back on the 4 week regime of eye drops (Dexamethasone & antibiotics) but that’s almost normal for me so it’s not really an issue. What isn’t normal (if you know what I mean) is that I can already see pretty well and… I’m not wearing glasses !
I do find I need to wear sunglasses some of the time especially outdoors but that’s to be expected. I also made a pre-emptive purchase of (off the shelf) reading glasses as I wouldn’t otherwise be able to see anything close up. The strength is a guesstimate but it will do for now, I won’t be visiting my optician until after my post-op review.
Then something which really brought home how much of an improvement this has been: tonight I was lucky enough to see the International Space Station pass overhead, now that’s something I haven’t been able to see for a long time. Brilliant!
So today I was back at Luton & Dunstable for the cataract procedure on my left eye.
This time the anaesthetic procedure wasn’t so uncomfortable, they used a cannula rather than a needle (may cause some bruising!). Furthermore the cataract procedure didn’t seem to take quite as long as last time.
At the moment the eye is covered by a patch, I can remove this tomorrow morning. Looking forward to seeing how much I can see.
Back at L&D for the post-op check. Everything looking good, although they’ve extended the Maxidex drops for another 2 weeks. The slight blurring I experience in the morning and the “glare” I get under certain lighting conditions are normal for this stage as the eye continues to heal. Things will continue to improve over time.
So just over 3 weeks in and the eye is gradually improving. First thing in the morning they eye is at its most blurry but it improves as the day progresses. To be more accurate, it’s not that the vision is blurred, the effect is more like glare on a lens; it’s as if I’m looking through a dirty pane of glass.
Also, I’ve now stopped the antibiotic eye drops, now it’s just Dexamethasone twice a day for 2 weeks. Nowhere near as onerous as the post retinal regime!
In the morning my vision is a bit blurry, or rather it’s like looking through a dirty window. Also, the white of the eye is very red, bloody as opposed to an ‘infection’ redness. This looks similar to before (post-retinal surgery). I’m guessing it’s mainly the result of the poking and prodding that the anaesthetist did. I’ll give it a few days, see how it goes.
This morning I was able to remove the dressing.
Wow. I can see! This is a surprise to be honest, as I wasn’t anticipating being able to see this much so soon. Objects are quite clear and fairly sharp, plus colours appear more saturated.
So, obviously it is very early days and far too soon to judge how successful this procedure has been, although I’m really pleased with what I have already. The information I have from the hospital advises that it can take up to four weeks for my vision to improve to the maximum that it is going to get (I’m not expecting perfection as the macula was slightly damaged by the retinal detachment, what the surgeons call a guarded outcome).
Until the left eye gets the same treatment, I’m in a sort of temporary situation where I still need glasses for the left eye. To make life easier, I’ve removed the right lens* from my current frame. That will do for a week or so, I’ll see how I get on before deciding whether I need to visit my optician.
* About the spectacles hack: I sought the advice of a optical lab tech I met through geocaching, who gave me some tips for removing a lens. Turned out to be a real easy job!
Back to Luton & Dunstable today, this time to the Day Eye Surgery Unit where I had the cataract in my right eye removed. The replacement lens is the correct power to give me ‘normal’ long sight. Hopefully I should be able to see something out of it in a few days.
I’ve also got another month of eye drops. Been here before!