Diary entries and photographs for the two operations

I recorded diary entries, photographs and drawings to document the recovery, the changes to the vision and the difficulties which I encountered when recovering from the first and the second operations.

I had the left (my less dominant eye) done first, and was reliant on a contact lens in the right. By the time I had the right eye done, the left eye was fully recovered.

LEFT EYE: Operated on 06/11/14

Operation no.1

Day 1

Immediately after the operation, I notice that I have some focus. It’s sore, red and very watery but there is an immediate difference. I can tell that my close-up focus is gone and I can see some lines and edges. There is already a level of focus which I didn’t have before without glasses or contacts.

However, the eyelid is swollen, very sensitive to light and isn’t opening properly, most of the white of my eye is red/pink, it’s also pretty mucky, I’m having to clean it every couple of hours with cooled boiled water. Because the eye is so swollen, getting the drops in difficult – I can’t do them myself – and it feels pretty uncomfortable.

(In all of the photographs I have forced my eyes to open more than they were naturally.)

Day 2

My eye is already much less red and I have some focus, though I’m keeping it shut a lot of the time. Although still watery, I can see the tv menu with this eye alone, from a distance of 4 metres, which I couldn’t have done before the operation. Despite still being a bit blurry and like I am looking through the wrong prescription, I have noticed some immediate differences.

Through the operated eye, (compared to my vision with contact lenses/glasses) textures and colours feel like they are in high definition. Still very sore and achey. It’s not a high level of pain, but it just feels uncomfortable. I’m not taking pain killers as a sudden change in pain can signify high pressure/infection and I prefer to be aware of what’s going on.

Day 3

There isn’t much of a decrease in redness. Stitches make it feel quite ‘tight’ and having to clean it when I wake up and frequently throughout the day as it’s mucky. Very weird waking up and being able to see things in the distance with the left eye. (Right eye still dependent on contact lenses/glasses so perspective is all a bit all over the place.) It’s very difficult trying to see with one uncorrected eye and one which is recovering. My eye still isn’t opening properly.

I can’t wear my old glasses because of the change to the vision in the left eye. Relying on a contact lens in my right eye, but the two eyes aren’t working together.

Day 4

The eye is opening more now – still sore in corner – redness going but still pink/yellow and bit misshapen. Looks very swollen when compared to other eye. Can’t see any immediate difference in vision – sharp edges (some focus) but it’s still distorted and watery. Still swollen and I’m feeling pretty tired.

Day 5

It’s difficult not knowing what the end result will be. It’s like having a sore throat. You eat well, go to bed and just hope it’s better in the morning. This is pretty much what I’m doing. There are small improvements to the vision each day, but I still have black dots (floaters) in my vision and I’m getting double vision when I try to wear glasses. Having to stick to a contact lens in the right eye, but the operated and non-operated eyes definitely aren’t working together.

It’s hard because I’m not sure how good the vision should be at this point, or what it should look like, or how much longer it will take to recover. It is a bit scary as you just have to wait/hope for it to settle and for the vision to improve. Also tedious trying to struggle with one operated eye and one non-operated eye as I don’t currently have binocular vision.

Day 6

Increasing focus – still watery and sore where stitches are. Can read things in mid-distance and the colours are sharper and more sparkly than when looking through my contact lens.

I still have lots of moving black spots across my field of vision (floaters). I called A+E at the eye hospital and they told me to come in for a check. Bit scary as this can be a sign of retinal detachment, but they said this it’s just iris pigment/blood in my eye. They were impressed with how quickly my eye had healed after only a week.

Day 7

The white of my eye nearest the iris is starting to look much clearer. Looking at me straight on you can’t see much of the redness. When I look to the side you can see that the edge of the eyeball, particularly where the stitches are is still red/pink, and the eyelid still looks a bit swollen, but it’s looking much better.

Day 16

After about two weeks the vision had settled up pretty well.The eyelid still looked a bit swollen when compared to the non-operated eye. Managing ok with a contact lens in the right eye.

I’m still relying on vision in right eye still as this is my dominant eye, so I’m having to wear my contact lens pretty much all the time as vision in the left eye alone isn’t good enough on its own. Back to work and still administering the drops.

Selfies are for the purposes of medical documentation only. It shows well the difference between the two eyes, and the recovery time. Hover over the images for captions.

RIGHT EYE: Operated on 20/01/15

Operation no.2

Day 1

Second time round, my eye looks less swollen because it wasn’t lasered. (With my left eye my surgeon lasered the back of the retina as a precautionary measure to decrease the chance of retinal detachment, as the laser causes scar tissue which strengthens it.) This time, the actual eyeball and eyelid looks less swollen than my left eye was on the first day. It’s also less painful to look around and the vision is less watery and more focused than before. My eye is also opening far more than my left one did on the first day.

In the morning I kept it closed as it was blurry and interfering with the vision in my left eye, but by lunchtime the eye was opening and I was starting to look through it properly. Still soreness where the stitches are, they feel scratchy and it’s achey, but not an excessive amount of pain. Its consistent, but fairly low level. Not taking any pain killers again. Because the focus is better and the eyelid is less swollen, I’m able to see well enough to administer all my drops myself. These sting a bit when I put them in as my eye is still raw.

Whilst having the right eye operated on, I had the stitches out of the left, which made my eye a bit stingy and red. It settled after a couple of hours and I think, once it settled, there was a slight improvement to the vision in the left eye. The next morning my consultant checked both eyes and was happy that the surface of my eye had recovered nicely overnight since having the stitches out.

Day 2

Bit yucky when I woke up, but the vision – only 2 days after the operation – is amazing. The eye is still very sore, but the clarity of the vision is almost as good as the left eye, which has now had 2 months to recover. The actual white of the eye is far whiter than the left one was at this point. Still looks bloody, but there is definitive contrast between the red and the white, rather than just being all pink.

I’m also noticing that, because both of the eyes have been operated on, they are already starting to work together. I also have less black dots (floaters) than I did in my left eye at this point. It’s a lot easier to cope with the change this time round, because the left eye is already corrected. I’m not having to try and wear a contact lens or half a pair of glasses (as I did when my I had the left eye done.)

Recovering from the second eye operation feels easier. The second operation was still (if not more) daunting and watching a youtube video of the procedure – whilst interesting – did make me feel a bit ill… but, knowing that I don’t have to have another one done is a relief and it’s exciting to see the two eyes working together now.

Also it’s less worrying this time round as I have an idea of what to expect in terms of the vision and recovery. Having both eyes operated on, means I have completely lost the ability to take my contact lenses out and look super closely at things. The new fixed level of focus means I’m starting to rely on reading glasses for close up vision, but this is really sharp with reading glasses and definitely worth being able to see things at mid-far distance without any glasses or contacts. (First pair of ‘off the shelf’ glasses I’ve ever bought!)

Started to dawn on me that I won’t ever have to be as dependent on them again which is really exciting. Not ever having to worry about having someone knocking my lenses out is mad.

It’s quite overwhelming that – for the first time ever – I can actually see pretty perfectly, I have to keep remembering that I haven’t got contact lenses in.

Day 3

It’s still achey and watery, but the vision is amazing. After getting the second eye done, they are starting to work together. With one eye operated on and one contact lens, they didn’t fully work together. Whilst it was interesting to have a comparison, now that they have both been operated on the vision is much better.

I can read things at a distance, with both eyes, that I couldn’t read with one. The right, which has always been my dominant eye, although only 3 days into the recovery is already giving me incredible clarity and is balancing and enhancing the vision already achieved in my left. I’m really starting to get the benefits of having the artisan lenses in both eyes. My mid-far range vision is sparkly and super clear. Close up (reading/computer) is difficult without reading glasses, but really crisp with them.

Day 4

My eye is still watery and sore (especially in the outside corner) and I still have a few floaters in my vision. It looks very bloody and not quite opening fully – the eyelid is looking more swollen today – but the reality of my new vision is fantastic. I keep thinking about how much easier everything is going to be. I can’t wait to go in the sea and not worry about glasses or lenses.

Day 5

Feeling a bit bashed up. The bruising is coming up on the eyelid and the eye looks a bit yellow – still have some small floaters in my vision – but having my dominant eye operated on has made a huge difference. The vision in my right (dominant) eye is already better than in my left. Together, the vision is all sparkly, edges look crisper, colours are stronger and textures are more defined.

Day 6

Still getting used to not wearing glasses! Having to put them on for close up and not for distance is completely backwards to what I’ve been used to. Night-time vision is also better than it was. I still have some distortion/streaks around lights, but the clarity of the vision is definitely better.

Day 7

Eye is feeling really scratchy where the stitches are – feels like I have got grit in my eye all the time – and eyelid is still a bit swollen. Also, although I have been through all of this so that I don’t have to wear glasses, I’m quite looking forward to getting new reading glasses. I’ve never had glasses with a normal prescription before!

Day 9

Still scratchy but eye is looking good. Eye is red under the eyelid and near the edges but the rest of it is pretty white. I think the swelling is starting to go down.

Day 14

Binned my contact lenses! Back to work. Still finding it strange being able to actually see without lenses or glasses. I can’t quite believe it – it’s so exciting.

Day 20

Went for the routine check at the Eye Hospital today. For the first time, my answer to the nurse was no, I’m not currently wearing glasses or contact lenses.

AND With my right eye I read ALL of the eye chart – even the smallest line! I could never do that, even with contact lenses.

Check-ups confirmed that my eye is recovering well and I’m scheduled for a check up in 4-6 months. Stitches are going to be left in place and drops have been reduced to only 3 of each.

The gallery…

Hover over the images for captions

More detail on the recovery.

The views expressed here are my own and are not intended to represent those of any medical body or authority.