Friday, December 9, 2011

Journal - Progressing Nicely

On Thursday, December 8, I had my monthly follow-up with Dr. Feilmeier at the Kearney Eye Institute. My eye has been looking and feeling great so I was expecting another good report. On this visit, I was particularly looking forward to seeing the Institutes ophthalmologist, Dr. Von (or Vaughn or Vaughan, I’m not sure about the spelling). During my November visit with Dr. Feilmeier, I asked him when we could start thinking about eyeglasses, expecting him to say “after 6 months” or something. To my surprise, he said we could go ahead anytime, as long as I understood that the cornea is still healing, and the prescription I get will probably need to be changed after about 6 months. So anyway, we made an appointment with Dr. Von; to see him on the same day I would next see Dr. Feilmeier: December 8th. I had Dr. Von at 10am and Dr. Feilmeier at 11:15.
There was still quite a bit of snow on the ground from last Saturday’s snowfall, but the roads were in pretty good shape. We got to the Institute right on time; just as a few small flakes began to fall.
Dr. Von’s nurse took me through all the usual tests and dilated my eyes. Then Dr. Von came in and took a look at the results. He told me right up front that based on the tests, he wasn’t sure if glasses would help me enough at this point to be worthwhile. The first thing he did was take a look at my cornea through the microscope to see what kind of shape I was in. He remarked several times that the cornea looked great. He said he often sees transplant cases a few months after to refract them for glasses, and he had seen very few that looked as good as mine, especially considering my surgery was only two months ago. He went ahead and refracted me then, and just as he thought, my best vision with glasses was somewhere between 20/50 and 20/70: an improvement to be sure, but perhaps not worth doing yet. He made out the prescription and said we could talk to Dr. Feilmeier about it to see what he thought.
As Dr. Von was looking through the microscope he also mentioned that the transplanted lens, not the cornea but the inner lens where cataracts form, was beginning to cloud up a bit. He said this is not uncommon, in fact it occurs in about 70% of cataract removals. As it turns out, when they remove the cataract, they actually leave an almost microscopically thin layer of membrane from the backside of the lens. This helps the eye respond more favorably to the implanted replacement lens, but they often cloud up a few months after surgery. Dr. Von explained that this is not a problem at all, all they have to do is laser the membrane to punch a small hole through it, but they will typically wait a few more months when the cornea is more fully healed. He explained that part of my blurriness right now is due to my new cornea, but it is also partially the result of that cloudy membrane. I should note that my vision does not seem cloudy at all, but Dr. Von said that’s one reason why glasses won’t me very much right now.
Anyway, then it was on to Dr. Feilmeier. In between doctors we looked out the window and saw that the snow was now falling quite heavily and really beginning to cover things again.
Dr. Feilmeier took a look at my eye, and once again said that it is doing very nicely. By this time I had already pretty much decided not to bother with glasses yet. As we talked with Dr. Feilmeier however, I got the impression that he really wanted me to get some. He finally came right out and said that he liked the idea of glasses just to have something over my eye to reduce the possibility of injury from bumps and the like. I asked about the strength of the prescription and if that was something I might be able to pick up at Walmart or Walgreen’s. He thought that was a good idea and said if I could get some over-the-counter reading glasses with a strength of +4 or +5, that would still give me some improvement. He dialed up a +5 on the eye tester thingy to show me what it would look like and it did help some. He said Walmart or Walgreen’s might not carry anything as strong as a +5, but if I asked, they might be able to special order it. Sounds like a good deal all around: I will get some improvement in my vision, get a little protection for my eye, and only have to spend about $10 or so. So that’s what I’ll do. By the time we left the Institute the snow was really coming down and the streets were completely covered so we decided to just head home and shop for glasses some other time. It was a slow, careful trip home, but we made it safe and sound at about 12 o’clock.
So I was really looking forward to getting the glasses and having almost normal vision, but it didn’t quite work out that way. Am I disappointed? Not even a little bit. My eye is progressing very nicely, and I’m still happy just to be seeing at all. Dr. Feilmeier’s nurse said something that really struck me; she said she wanted to show me to their patients who complain that their vision is only 20/25. She told us about one lady who brought in her daughter, I can’t remember the girl’s age, about 12 or so I think. The woman actually broke down and cried when she found out that her daughter would have to wear glasses. It’s just sad the way our society puts so much pressure on us to be “normal”. The nurse said she wondered how that lady will react when something REALLY happens to her daughter. And that poor girl will probably grow up thinking that her glasses are something to be ashamed of. People spend so much time worrying and complaining about what they don’t have or what they can’t do that they completely forget about all the good things they have.
So that was our exciting trip to Kearney! Dr. Feilmeier’s next trip to Kearney will be on January 12 and I have an 11am appointment.
Until then, do me a favor…spend a few minutes thinking about the good things in your life. Oh, and don’t forget to tell God how glad you are that you have them!

Isaiah 44:3 For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground;
I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. ESV

John 1:16 And from His fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. ESV

1 comment:

  1. It is Dr. Vaughan, but pronounced Von, so you're good.

    Snow, snow snow...gotta love Nebraska!
    Thank you dear sweet Jesus for SNOW! And watching over me during this difficult time in MY life.
    Praise God!

    I love you, honey! :)