Header Image (book)


Sunday, January 26, 2014

Personal Update

(If you must have politics, please scroll down)

Until January 13, when I last saw my retinal surgeon some three months after surgery, I didn't know how much in peril my eyesight was because of a retinal detachment.

The detachment that I had affected the macula! Often, detachments involving the macula can be improved only to a 30% restoration of sight.

I was lucky — “very lucky” according to my ophthalmologist.

More than luck was involved, of course. I had a retinal surgeon who consistently obtains excellent results, particularly if patients follow his post-op instructions exactly.

Is my vision perfect? No. Right now, I have good visual acuity correctable with an eyeglass to 20/30, which could improve or worsen. I do have some visual distortion: straight lines are significantly wavy. This waviness might get better — or it might get worse. Time will tell.

My retinal surgeon explained why waviness is inevitable after a retinal detachment involving the macula: “When the retina detaches from the macula, it's as if blades of grass have been cut. The reattachment procedure pastes the blades of grass back on, but they don't line up exactly.”

I still have some eye discomfort, and various stresses affect my vision adversely from time to time.  I also have occasional attacks of ache and stabbing pain.  Refresh Plus Lubricant Eye Drops, which FreeThinke advised me to try, help me to get through the bad patches.

I may face another surgery to reposition the intraocular lens placed during my 1984 cataract surgery. But for now, all is stable. I'm so grateful.


  1. Before I got my eye put out –
    I liked as well to see
    As other creatures, that have eyes –
    And know no other way –

    But were it told to me, Today,
    That I might have the Sky
    For mine, I tell you that my Heart
    Would split, for size of me –

    The Meadows – mine –
    The Mountains – mine –
    All Forests – Stintless stars –
    As much of noon, as I could take –
    Between my finite eyes –

    The Motions of the Dipping Birds –
    The Morning’s Amber Road –
    For mine – to look at when I liked,
    The news would strike me dead –

    So safer – guess – with just my soul
    Opon the window pane
    Where other creatures put their eyes –
    Incautious – of the Sun –

    ~ Emily Dickinson (1830-1886)

  2. Hi AOW - Long time, no comment...

    I'm sorry to read that you are having problems with your eyes. My wife had cataract surgery in both eyes several years ago, and is still having problems seeing. She is one of the few people that the surgery has improved her vision, but did not correct everything wrong.

    I hope and pray that you will be healed.


    1. Tom,

      Today's cataract surgery has much fewer risks than in times past. But the risks are still there.

  3. "In Emily Dickinson's Vision, James R. Guthrie argues that Emily Dickinson's optical illness, which forced her to retreat indoors and to come to terms with the loss of light, visual beauty, and her own hopes, remains central to the poet's understanding of herself and thus to the subject matter and method of her poetry. Dickinson apparently suffered from strabismus, a deviation of the cornea, which lingered for several years and compelled her to keep her eyes bandaged for long lengths of time, thus threatening her physical and imaginative collapse. ..."

    Emily Dickinson's Vision: Illness and Identity in Her Poetry. By James R. Guthrie. Gainsville: University Press of Florida, 1998. 208pp.


  4. STRABISMUS (/strəˈbɪzməs/, from Greek strabismós[1]), also known as heterotropia (and including the three variants cross-eye, lazy-eye and walleye),[2] is a condition in which the eyes are not properly aligned with each other. It typically involves a lack of coordination between the extraocular muscles , which prevents bringing the gaze of each eye to the same point in space and thus hampers proper binocular vision, and which may adversely affect depth perception. Strabismus can present as manifest (heterotropia) or latent (heterophoria) varieties, and can be either a disorder of the brain in coordinating the eyes, or of the power or direction of motion of one or more of the relevant muscles moving the eye. ...


  5. Glad to hear that things are thus far progressing well!

  6. Sooner or later we all must come to terms with life as it is, and not as we wish it could be.

    If we are very fortunate, we are born clearly either male or female with four limbs, a brain capable of functioning, and five physical senses intact. As we grow, we learn. What we learn and how much depends on our environment, but even more on our innate intelligence and degree of curiosity. Understanding of our moral responsibility as an individual, and our intelligence, itself, develop independently, as do whatever degrees of cleverness and creativity we may possess.

    After we reach maturity (usually by age 25) life becomes a continual, though very gradual process of ATTRITION. Even though we may continue to learn and grow mentally and spiritually for decades, our bodies start to deteriorate. As we grow older we suffer a continual loss of bodily function that affects each individual somewhat differently.

    Try though we may to avoid it with additional prayer, diet, exercise, yoga classes, transcendental meditation -- whatever -- this dismal process still gathers momentum as time wears on, and we continue to fall apart with gathering speed the closer we get to the end of our allotted time on earth.

    Oh yes! Some people are truly marvellous in their eighties and nineties. Artur Rubinstein, the great pianist, performed the Chopin F-Minor Concerto -- to PERFECTION -- when he was NINETY. Miecyslaw Horszowski, another great pianist, played a solo rectal in Carnegie Hall at the age of ONE HUNDRED. Leopold Stokowski was still conducting great symphony orchestras in his nineties. My very own Great Aunt Lurlene worked full time as a CPA for a firm in Manhattan till she was EIGHTY-EIGHT, and only stopped because she felt uneasy about climbing the steps to the elevated subway in the snow and ice, and feared she might not be a dependable employee anymore. (That is the God's honest truth, I swear!) She lived to age 99 fully independent and on her own till the very end.

    HOWEVER, though increasing numbers of magnificent octogenarians, nonogenarians and even a few CENTENARIANS live among us, they are still the exceptions that prove the rule.

    As the late Katharine Hepburn, who lived triumphantly to the age of 96, said in an interview some time in her eighties, "Would you like to know what happens to you when you get old?" she asked. "I'll tell you," she said impishly, "You ROT."Uttering this with a wicked smile on her still-striking face, she then chuckled. She did not wink, but I felt a wink was implied.

    1. Give me Audrey Hepburn any day over that old vinegarpuss with the same last name. Audrey was a lady. Katie was a lefty who always had too much to say.

      __________ Pharisee T. Birnbaum

  7. Best wishes for continued improvement. Growing old isn't for sissies!

  8. I am happy for you, AOW.

    You guys needed a break.

  9. AOW, I do hope your eye will improve and your sight will not be unduly compromised. Get well! You are a good friend and all of us here care about you very much.

  10. Dear Lord Jesus, please give relief and healing to AOW and thank You for the results so far.
    Just in case I forget to pray later.

  11. Thank goodness, AOW...glad to hear good news........I'll be praying against the pain and that everything continues to go so well.
    xxx Z

  12. Thanks, everybody.

    Just a few years ago, the kind of retinal detachment that I had would have led to immediate and permanent loss of sight. The surgeon that I had is a ground breaker and a pioneer in the field of retinal disease. A modern-day miracle worker! He's young and already at the top of his field.

    I'll never be "out of the woods" and must be forever vigilant because there is always the possibility of more tears in the retina of the operated eye.

    The other eye is at risk too.ANY significant worsening of vision between doctors' appointments (6-month intervals) demands an immediate visit to the ophthalmologist or the retinal surgeon.

    I have noticed that the waviness improves by baby steps -- as the epithelial cells of the retina regenerate and realign. Furthermore, the brain attempts to compensate (thus, the headaches, which respond well to ibuprofen).

  13. One of the hardest things to do post retina work is following orders. It appears that you followed the directions of your surgeon and allowed the retina to re-attach. Slow process but worth the effort, or non effort since you can't do anything.

    You are correct, you will never be out of the woods but if careful should be fine. You may have to give up tackle football and skydiving :<).

    1. All that time lying down and even walking and riding in the car face down was stressful -- and expensive. We did hire a dear friend as caregiver so that I could comply with the surgeon's orders and not be tempted to violate the strict orders I had been given.

      I didn't cook a meal for weeks! Instead, my caregiver prepared something, or the homeschool family brought us meals.

      Once I was allowed to return to work, on every break during my teaching day, I put my head down on my desk.

      I plan to give up boxing. **wink**

  14. Very lucky (very blessed) to have good people around you, good doctors, and hopefully God was guiding their decisions and hands. I hope you continue to improve and the discomfort goes away or gets better.

    Right Truth

    1. Debbie,
      I have good days and bad days. Yesterday was one of the best days -- no pain at all. Today is good so far, but going outside in the cold will likely make me more uncomfortable. Alas! I must go to work today in these brutally cold temperatures.


We welcome civil dialogue at Always on Watch. Comments that include any of the following are subject to deletion:
1. Any use of profanity or abusive language
2. Off topic comments and spam
3. Use of personal invective

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.