My New eyes!

I hate wearing glasses! I forget them when I go out, never remember to clean them and wonder why I can’t see properly through the fog, leave them in other people’s cars and houses, sit on them…….

However, it was getting so I couldn’t  read a thing without them, and my distance eyesight was growing less sharp. When I found a leaflet about laser eye treatment, I immediately headed off to find more about it at Médipole Sud Santé, Cabestany, for a consultation with Doctor Serge Zaluski, English speaking eye specialist.

It turned out that I am not suitable for laser vision correction – too old and too ugly (not his words, it is only fair to add) but am a perfect victim for crystalline lens implants, hinged implants which replace the natural crystalline lens. The crystalline lens hardens as we age and consequently the ability to focus up close and at middle distance disappears. Implantation of a new crystalline lens improves distance, middle and reading vision and works with the muscles of our eyes.

Day 1 – right eye

Crystalline eye implants

I had my first eye done this morning. The Medipole staff were fantastic and unphased by the fact that I am such a wimp.

I arrived around 11h, and was taken through to the pre-op  block, a word which strikes fear into my heart! However, it was just a pleasant, light and comfortable room, with several relaxed looking people sitting around, waiting for the effects of their eye drops to work. I paced up and down, shattering the zen atmosphere, nervous, imagination running way ahead into permanent blindness, eye patches and shoulder parrots, death on the operating table……

In fact, it was all so easy that I felt VERY embarrassed about being such a fussy old bird.

Sitting in a nice comfy chair, I had drops put into my eye by a lovely and reassuring nurse. Twenty minutes later, I was taken into a changing room, asked to remove clothing and jewellery but keep underclothes, stuck on a stretcher, and wheeled in. I didn’t even have time to start shaking or to cry, as I usually do when faced with a needle!

And faced with a needle I was! An anaesthetist stuck one into the back of my hand, slipped a little something into it, and I sung Bohemian Rhapsody to the whole room. Honest! Felt great, wide awake, not drugged or nervous. Five minutes later, doctor Zanuski put a kind of loose bag over my head, (photos to come next week when second eye is done) with easy breathing oxygen, opened a window over my eye, messed around with it for five minutes…. then I heard in English “OK That’s finished!” and it was over!

Wow, I was just congratulating myself on feeling well prepared for what was to come! And it had already gone. Straight back into civvies, flooded with offers of coffee, juice and biscuits, big kiss from hubby who pronounced me his ‘brave little thing’ and his ‘little soldier’ (if he’d only known that the hardest bit was the drive there) and here I am back home at 13h30!

It was quick, painless, all staff were wonderful, to a man,  (well, to a woman really) and I am now typing away,  with my left eye, as vision in my right eye is not good –  still very blurry, a little gritty and watery, but not painful at all.

In the photo, you can see the size of my pupil directly after the op. Luckily, I wasn’t stopped and tested for drugs on the way home, as I do look as if I’ve been on the weed! I so wish I’d plucked my eyebrows before Olivier took that photo.

I will follow the progress daily, so that those of you who are considering having similar treatment can regard me as your guinea pig!

A demain!

Day two – right eye

My right eye is still feeling a little wierd but my reading distance has already improved, and if I hold my hand in front of my ‘old’ eye, I can already read more clearly than I could before the op – still a way to go though I think. The scratchiness has almost gone completely and now all I feel is that slightly swollen eye thing, like when you’ve had a good cry and your eyes are still a bit puffy. Feel well enought  to go to my step class this aftenoon. There was nothing post op that they told me I shouldn’t do, apart from rub my eyes. More later, as my vision (hopefully) improves.

Next week, as I will not be so nervous, I will take photos of each stage…. but will make sure I pluck my eyebrows first!

Day three – right eye

There still hasn’t been the massive improvement that I was hoping for, although there is no doubt that my right eye is clearer than my left. My eye feels completely normal now, scratchiness gone, but my problem is that my glasses only work on one eye, and are no longer suitable for the operated eye, so the unoperated one has to compensate when I wear my glasses. Went for a post op check up yesterday with Doctor Zanuski who said that all is well, but was a little surprised that my vision hadn’t improved more in the 24 hours since the op. Everyone is different. Hoping for great things over the weekend!

Day five – right eye

Still can’t read very well, or for long without needing to put my glasses on. I feel as if I am in no-man’s land, waiting for the second eye to be done. I can see  better than before but not yet well enough. I am going back to see le doc tomorrow afternoon, to check that this very slow improvement is normal. I am very impatient – it’s one of the many flaws in my character – and a doctor’s nightmare I’m sure.

More as soon as I have more to tell. Eye very comfortable by the way – no irritation, in fact it feels better than the waiting-to-be-operated eye.

Day six – right eye

Went to see the specialist today just to reassure myself that all is well as my eyes are not as good as I hoped at this stage. I am  typing this without  glasses but it is a struggle. I think I’m beginning to get on his nerves a bit! Anyway, he said that usually after the first eye, most people are on 8 or 9 (10 being perfect vision) but I am on a 7!! Reckons the second eye should improve everything as my little brain probably hasn’t adapted yet! It is true that it is getting better every day – just not as well or as quickly as I had hoped. Would I recommend it to others hoping the ditch the glasses? Absolutely. A week ago, I couldn’t see what was on this screen without my glasses. Now, I  can even read instructions on the back of bottles and packets in the supermarket! Haven’t been able to do that for years and have  come home with all kinds of cr-p!! Tomorrow will be the decider.  I’ve plucked my eyebrows ready for some graphic photos of the op – Wish me luck.

Day 0 – left eye

I have had my bettadine shower, red antiseptic wash for hair and body, and I look like the wild and wicked witch of the west with hair ‘à la electric shock,’ and am ready to head off for Medipole. Watched telly last night without glasses – yee ha!

Day 1 – left eye

Another op that was totally painless. It is literally a matter of looking into a brightish light for a very short time – and it’s over. I do have a couple of photos which I will put on later when I have a couple of minutes, but I couldn’t take my camera in to the operating theatre as it isn’t sterile, which was a bit of a disappointment.

Left eye already fairly comfortable and am reading and typing without glasses, although I feel as though I’ve lost my security blanket and keep reaching for them, forgetting that I can’t wear them any more.

Another weird thing is not wearing glasses on my head most of the time – I forget they’re not there and I don’t need them.

My sight is still a bit glazy and sensitive to light, very similar to the first one, but no pain or discomfort – just a slightly puffy feeling once again as if I’ve been crying.

More later.

Crystalline eye implantsDay two

Still pick up my glasses when I sit down in front of my computer, then get a shock when I can’t see through them! Both eyes now feel completely normal, much more  comfortable than before the op because I realize now that I was probably squinting quite a lot. Hasn’t done anything to improve  the bags under my eyes or the ‘laughter lines’ around them. Might have to sue!

Seriously though, I have coped without glasses for two days now, and it is getting easier every day. In daylight, I can read anything, no matter how small.  False light is still a bit of a struggle – I can read OK but do have to focus, at which time I long for my glasses back, just to give me that extra little bit of security. Drove to Laroque to meet a friend today and didn’t hit anything, and my eyes are already less light sensitive!

Crystalline eye implantsI couldn’t take any photos in the bloc operatoire but here are a couple before the op. The first is the lovely lady who puts drops in the eye before the op – the anesthetic is ‘topique’ (topical) so for those of you who are worried about a needle in the eye… nah, just a few drops and you’re anesthetized. The second is Nelly who is in charge of admissions, all things administrative, and calming and reassuring short, shaking blancmanges!

I am so glad I had this done. I really would recommend it to anyone who dislikes wearing glasses. It is liberating. If you want to find out more, give Nelly a ring on 04 68 67 67 67 – I’m sure she won’t mind although I’m not sure how fluent her English is!

Day Three

Am doing everything without glasses now. Eye felt blurry this morning when I woke up and reading is still a struggle in dim light ie when I am not in a direct beam of light. Outside in natural light though it’s a doddle! I’d forgotten what it was like to be able to glance at my speedo when driving and actually know how fast I am going!! Haven’t driven at night yet but with such a willing chauffeur free and available, I don’t have to do much night driving, and am happy to keep it that way.

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