Friday, November 27, 2009

ICL Surgery Update: I have glasses

My post(s) about my ICL surgery back in December 06 (see My ICL Eye Surgery Experience, Part I and My ICL Experience, Part II) have had longevity. (In fact, do a Google search for ICL surgery and my blog is the third result, yikes!) I occasionally get requests for updates about how things are going, usually from people considering the surgery themselves, and since it's been almost three years at this point, I think I should probably oblige.

So if the dog-oriented followers will bear with me...

ICL (implantable contact lens or intracorneal lens), also known as IOL (intraocular lens), is essentially a contact lens that is surgically implanted into one's eyeball in order to correct vision. ICL is an alternative to Lasik when Lasik isn't possible because a person has extreme near- or farsightedness.

Before I had the ICL procedure done, I was -11D in my right eye and -12.5D in my left. If I had gone with Lasik, I would have had to have it done twice to get to 20/20--and unfortunately, my cornea wasn't thick enough to handle Lasik twice.

You can read more about the procedure and my early impressions of the surgery at the links above. I came out of the surgery with 20/20 vision that lasted for about two years. (My left eye was not quite 20/20, but my right eye made up for it.)

Three years later, my vision has shifted somewhat. This wasn't unexpected. First, my vision is eternally creeping further into the negative Ds, especially in my weak left eye. And second, even the slightest shift of the implanted lenses can cause blurriness.

But the change is minor. I don't need glasses for anything except driving. Even then, I'm not legally required to wear the glasses. I just feel a little more comfortable with them on when I'm in a strange place trying to read street name signs, or when I'm driving at night.

It was actually sort of neat to walk into an Eyemasters and buy a pair of basic frames and basic lenses for $50. I've never gotten glasses at that price before. With my old prescription, I used to buy special lightweight lenses, special frames for the lenses, special non-reflective coating, special frosting on the edge to cut down on refraction, and on and on. The cost was always around $400+. And I had to wait 2 weeks turnaround, because everything had to be special ordered. Now, my prescription is so tiny, I can get the cheapest possible option and it works great.

I do still have halos around light sources in many situations. This is a result of a misplaced hole in my left iris during the initial preparation for the ICL (the YAG iridotomy). It's not a big deal for me, though it makes nighttime activities, movies, and laser tag a little challenging.

Would I do the surgery again, even knowing that I'd have to use glasses to drive three years down the road? Even knowing I'd have halos forever?

Yes. Absolutely.

I spent twenty years trapped in glasses and/or contacts. The freedom I gained from the ICL is difficult to describe. Some nights I still reach for my face to put my glasses on the bedside table, only to grasp air.

Not everyone will feel the same way, I'm sure. But I'm pleased with my results--looking back with the benefit of three years' retrospect.

Monday, November 02, 2009

Always on the job

The scene: Sunday evening. Our living room. Byrd and I are sitting on the couch discussing what to eat for dinner.

Byrd [shifting uncomfortably]: Hmm, something in my front pocket is stabbing me in the thigh.

Me: Yeah, it's probably your keys.

Byrd [digging in his pocket]: I don't think my keys are in my pocket.

Me: Possibly it's the corner of your cell phone, then?

Byrd [stands up, still digging]: Hang on, I found the culprit.

Byrd pulls a wrench, three screwdrivers, and a handful of bolts out of his front pants pocket.

Me: . . . !

Byrd: Ah, much better.