Veronica With Four Eyes

Eye Surgery, Part 1


Exactly one week ago, I had eye surgery on both eyes for strabismus. My vision has been declining for a long time and I needed a prism of ten in each eye, plus a temporary prism of five, for a total of 25 prism. Since my eyes would just continue to need more and more prism, my ophthalmologist and I made the decision to have muscles strengthened or weakened in each of my eyes to prevent my eyes from getting worse.

This was not my first eye surgery. In 2008, when I was eleven years old, I had one muscle eye surgery in my left eye after I had relentless double and blurry vision following a volleyball to the eye a few months earlier (long story short, don’t encourage the person with no peripheral vision to join in for class field day). I woke up from the surgery not needing bifocals anymore and I rode a bike for the first time eight weeks later. It was amazing!

Fast forward eight years, and I’ve been in prisms for the last six years and am back in bifocals. Due to sensitivity to light, I’m wearing very dark glasses full time and also have to use a blindness cane because I can’t tell the difference between flat ground and a pothole. I walked in to see my ophthalmologist of six years right before school started, when the double vision was so intense and blurry that I couldn’t read anything more than three feet ahead of me.

“Well, young lady,” he told me, “you’re a mess.”

He wrote me a new prescription and we started discussing the possibility of surgery to help prevent from my eyesight from getting  worse. We made the final decision for surgery about three months later, after I finished my semester at college.

Fast forward to surgery day, and I was more than ready to get this over with. Because I wasn’t able to wear anything that went over my head after the surgery and I don’t like button down shirts, I was wearing one of these tank tops, which I could just step into or stretch the neckline to fit. For the surgery, I was allowed to wear yoga pants and fuzzy socks in addition to a hospital gown. I received pain medication and anti-nausea medication pretty much immediately after I was taken to the preparation room, and before I knew it, I was getting the anesthesia and loudly singing “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” which probably embarrassed my mom to no end.

One hour after surgery, smiling with my sunglasses
One hour after surgery with my sunglasses

After the surgery was done, I woke up feeling no pain from my eyes. In my mind, I thought I had just woken up and, based on the size of the twin bed I was in, I must be in my dorm. I then asked myself why it felt like there was something in my arm, and then I realized I was in a hospital, and I’d just had my eye surgery. Apparently, I talked to the nurse for a few minutes afterwards about The Beatles and then asked where my mom was.

Instead of putting on prescription glasses, my eye doctor requested I wear reading glasses for two weeks following the surgery while my eye muscles relax and the swelling goes down. Because I am sensitive to light, I went looking for a pair that were tinted and that could be sent to my house reasonably fast. These glasses were everything I was looking for and more, and I have worn them very comfortably for the last week. They are $20 for one pair with Amazon Prime shipping. While wearing them, I can read large print and see things about eighteen inches in front of my face.  With these glasses, I could easily read screens of my devices without a problem, as these are more tinted glasses than actual sunglasses.

24 hours after my eye surgery.  My eyes are half red and still crossed.
24 hours after eye surgery

Following the surgery, I spent the rest of the day in bed and light hurt me a lot, but I was not in pain from the surgery. I was able to eat pancakes later that night at a restaurant with my mom and brother, but the lights over our table had to be turned off so I could concentrate on eating.

One week after eye surgery and six days after steroid drops.  My eyes are clearer
One week after eye surgery

Right now, I’m now on day 6 of steroid eye drops three times a day. They feel like acid being dropped into my eyes, but my eyes are starting to clear up more and look less gross. I have left the house maybe twice since I came home, and I went outside for five minutes and came inside feeling like my eyes were on fire because of the air. I get measured for real glasses next Wednesday, and we’ll assess how my vision is then.


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