Friday, January 20, 2012

My Eye Surgery and Post Script Comments

Next week, I am going to have eye surgery to my left eye at an ambulatory surgical center in Albuquerque.  I have Fuchs' Dystrophy and will be having a partial corneal transplant to improve my eyesight.  The procedure is called Descemetís Stripping and Automated Endothelial Keratoplasty (DSAEK) and is a replacement of the innermost layer (endothelium) of my cornea which has been damaged as a result of a genetic disorder that results in a hazy view of the world and eventually total blindness.

The cells that make up the endothelium of the cornea "pump out" water in the eye so your vision is clear.  With Fuchs' Dystrophy, the cells are destroyed and your vision gets blurry and cannot be corrected by glasses.

Diagnosis and staging require a cell count of your endothelial cells and examination of irregularities called "guttae"

Currently my left eye's vision is 20/40 with corrective lenses and my right eye is 20/25 with corrective lenses. As my right eye gets worse, I will probably have the same procedure done for it in the future.

I was diagnosed with this disorder in 2010 after several years of problems with my vision and the primary diagnosis was "dry eye syndrome".  Because the symptoms of Fuchs' Dystrophy mimic the symptoms of many other eye disorders, it usually is not diagnosed for several years.  It is a genetic disorder affecting about 4% of the population over 40 years of age.

I found the following video thoroughly (and graphically) illustrates the procedure I will undergo. The doctor says there is a 10% chance of complications up to and including the loss of my eye.  My doctor successfully completed cataract surgery on my left eye last May and I am feeling positive about this procedure and hoping to recover within a few weeks.  There are no stitches and the tissue is held in place with a gas bubble for a couple of days. The main complications are infection and rejection or the dislodging of bubble and the transplant.  I'll be taking a couple of weeks off work while I recover.   I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Postscript:  1/25/12. Day One after the transplant. Post Op meeting with doctor went really well, my air bubble and graft is still in tact.  No real pain, vision returning although still somewhat blurry, I could read letters with pinhole cover at 20/50 uncorrected!  The colors, now I see what I've been missing!  Color had been fading the past few years and now it's bright and beautiful!  No more patch during the day, no more lying flat on my back (yeah!). Just watching out for pain or redness and taking it easy for the next week and come back in one week. I feel great!!! 
1/25/12. 12:30 PM. I panic. Some fluid has come from my eye and a gray disc appears above my pupil.  The graft has been dislodged.  I show Ron.  We call the doctor and are routed to a message machine with the triage nurse.  We don't wait for a call back as we are nearly an hour away from the doctor's office.  We go to the office and he sees me.  "The graft is fine.  It is still in place.  That gray dot is the gas bubble (used to hold the graft in place).  I told you it would move around the eye for a few days.[No, he didn't.]"  We go home feeling better, but now I have an irritating feeling there like something in the eye. There's more blood in the white area.  I lay down for the rest of the day.
Day 3, 1/26/12. 7:30AM. Here's what my eye looks like two days after the surgery:

The gas bubble that caused my panic is situated just above my pupil

Day 4 after the surgery. 1/27/12. 8:15AM.  The swelling and redness are beginning to subside,  The vision is less blurry, I think the bubble is shrinking. There's a slight irritation like something in the eye (perhaps the stiches?). Here's a picture of the eye this morning:

Day 5 after the surgery. 1/28/12. 8:15AM. The bubble is gone.  There is no more scratchy feeling.  My vision is getting better although still blurry. Here's a picture from today:

 Day 5. 1/28/12 7:00PM. My eyesight is clear and I can see better with the left eye than with the right (without glasses).  My left eye which was over 20/400 uncorrected, is now quite good without glasses and I can read signs and print that are clear but that are blurry with my right eye that is about 20/200 uncorrected.  This is better than I ever expected! 


  1. wishing you all the best in the procedure, hope you have something lovely to look at when you are allowed to take the bandages off

    will be thinking of you :-)

  2. Thanks Vicki. I like Zen, write, paint, play bamboo flute... So my blog is that :D
    I'm Vietnamese Writer. I wish that Vietnamese literature can fly out my country... to you :-)

  3. I once knew a lady who got a piece of glass stuck in her eye during a car accident. It was a super scary time anyone who knew her, but luckily she was able to get it out and miraculously she still has perfect vision. I think our bodies are amazing and can do such incredible things!