Ten days ago, I lost almost all vision in my right eye.
What started as a dark spot in the center of my vision, grew outwards until I functionally could not see.
If I stood in front of a car on the sidewalk, I would not be able to see the car.
It was scary and disorienting.
When I visited the ophthalmologist, he said “You have a detached retina.”
They take detached retinas very seriously. My retina, he explained while holding a cross section model of an eyeball, is like wall paper on the inside of a spherical room. The edge of the retina had a small tear leading to fluid flowing in behind the retina and detaching it from the back of the eye.
“I’d like to get you into surgery today.”
Within two hours, I was hanging out in a surgery room ready for a vitrectomony.
The surgery went well.
In a vitrectomony, they replace the liquid in your eye with a gas bubble. The gas pressure pushes the retina back to where it belongs.
The bubble slowly gets absorbed over a period of weeks.
“It’s like a sling for your retina,” the doctor helpfully said.
Post-operation, it means two things, when I look out of my right eye, it’s like I’m wearing googles that have filled up with water.
Because of where the tear is in my eye, I have to be lying down on my left side for 23 hours every day.
(Fun fact: did you know that the image on your retina is backwards and upside down? So the tear that I see on the bottom left of my eye is actually on the top right of retina.)
My prognosis is good for restoration of most of my vision. I have great healthcare through my employer. My team at work has encouraged me to take time off to heal. I have paid medical leave. I have a spouse who cares for me. I have children that are self-sufficient.
Still, it sucks and I’m worried about my vision long term.
I never realized how much ones senses are interconnected. A loss of vision means a loss of depth perception. It means vertigo and occasional bouts of nausea.
I’m simultaneously grateful and grieving, which is not an unusual set of feelings that many have been experiencing lately.
Oh if you ever find yourself needing surgery in Oakland Kaiser, ask for the Snow White and Lightning McQueen room.