Buckle stabilizing retina called ‘excellent’

The “buckle” holding the retina in place on my left eye the past 30 days looks “excellent,” Dr. Ali Zaidi announced Wednesday. What’s more important, my vision has improved, and there’s hope for more improvement before I’m to get a new corrective lens prescription, following a detached retina operation Jan. 22, 2010.

You mean I can’t tell anyone I’m legally blind?” I comment to an intern at the Veterans Administration Hospital in Philadelphia. If I was going to have an eye problem, I was hoping for that legal status that might offer a veteran some extra benefits like a “seeing eye” dog, a hospital-issued lighted magnifying glass, or some disability rating increase.

All I’m getting out of this is an inexpensive, but cool-looking, black eye patch. (And, I had to buy that myself! At CVS.) 

Most of the “sutures” have disappeared from the buckle implant, according to the eye doctor. Virtually all redness is gone and the “gas bubble” originally inserted to apply “pressure” to the retina for healing has also dissipated. I am to stop using  steroid eye drops as of  tomorrow.

What’s called a “scleral” buckle — a piece of silicone semi-hard plastic — was placed against the outer surface of the eye and “sewn” onto the eye to keep it in place. It circles 360 degrees of the eyeball. The “scleral” is the white substance of the eye. The buckle pushes the scleral toward the middle of the eye. This relieves the “pull” on the retina, according to medical sources, and allows the tear to settle against the wall of the eye. I’m told that the buckle will “outlive” me by a couple hundred years.

I still suffer from headaches, some dizziness and feel “disorganized” at times. One doctor told me that my brain is trying to adjust to the impaired vision, and is probably causing problems with my depth perception. I stumbled and nearly fell while standing up from a table where I  had sat, ate breakfast,  and had a long talk with a friend the other day. (Boy, did I feel “old.” The word “elderly” cropped up, and I immediately straightened up, and walked briskly just like a soldier.)

Have not had a drink the past week or so. Admitted to the doctor that the last glass of red wine caused the mild throbbing pain in the eye to “pulsate” and spike the level of pain to that of what a person who suffers a migraine might feel.

Can’t remember the last time I read a book. “Completed reading” a book, I should say. Get tired moving the bad eye back and forth, up and down. Lose interest quickly.  I’ve purchased more than a half-dozen books this year alone and look forward to quality time with them.

Exercise? Dr. Zaidi told me “no heavy lifting.” He told me that before, but it did not sink in. Had I recalled this medical advice, I would not have dug out the parking space for my snow-covered car, or lifted shovel after shovel-full of snow the past two weeks of this record Winter of 2010. 

Meditation? Now you’re talking about something I am doing well, and hope to continue to practice daily. Excuse me for now. Just let me find a pillow, a mat, and “take a seat.” For the benefit of the retina buckle, you know, as well as for all other sentient beings.

2 comments on “Buckle stabilizing retina called ‘excellent’

  1. kim says:

    Once again, sorry about the eye. I haven’t been through it myself, but a coworker coincidentally developed the same thing and has been waiting for the bubble to go down. It’s important to take care of it. Kim


    • contoveros says:

      It’s part of the aging process.

      I wonder if the Buddha, who noticed the suffering in people as they aged, had ever come across someone with a detached retina? It would lead to blindness some 2,500 years ago.

      I am grateful that science has progressed far enough to help save the vision of someone like me.

      And that we can still show the type of compassion practiced a couple of milleniums ago.

      Thanks for your giving . . .

      michael j


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