I was writing an article for a website. As I worked, I kept looking down to check my resources and looking up track my words on the computer monitor. Several minutes later, I saw a flashing light in my right eye. Oh, oh. Was my retina detaching again?
Having laser surgery for retinal detachment doesn’t guarantee vision. Additional surgery is often required. I’ve had laser surgery for retinal detachment in both eyes. Despite a fall, that caused blood to drip in one eye, the surgery has held. Still, I have my vision checked yearly. The new flashing light was upsetting.
As I had been advised, I went to the eye doctor immediately. According to “Retinal Detachment,” an article on the PubMed Health website, retinal detachment “is an urgent problem that requires medical attention within 24 hours of the first symptoms.”
The eye doctor examined my eye with a slit-lamp. The lamp has a magnifying lens that enables the doctor to see the structure of the eye. Since I’ve had a slit-lamp exam before, I knew what to expect. While the light is very bright, it isn’t as bright as the laser.
The doctor put numbing drops in my eye and examined the back of my eye with a magnifying lens. “The laser surgery is holding,” he announced. What a relief! He asked me to be on the lookout for symptoms of another detachment — lots of floaters, which he described as a swarm of tiny bugs, sudden flashes of light, and a shadow or dark curtain that blocks vision. Blurred vision is another symptom.
Just because I’ve had laser surgery doesn’t make me immune from another detachment. Previous surgery is a risk factor, along with a family history of this condition. My brother also had a detachment and, like me, his corrective surgery went well. Most of my family members are gone, so I don’t know if any others had the same experience.
I have sensitive eyes and wear sunglasses even on cloudy days. Avoiding activities that could cause a recurrence is another thing I do. For example, I used to go cross-country skiing in the woods near the family cabin, but I don’t do that any more. Bike riding is also off my exercise list. However, I continue to walk to maintain good health.
Since my eyes tend to be dry, I lubricate them with artificial tears. I keep a bottle in my purse, a bottle in the kitchen, and a bottle in the bathroom. Staying aware of the symptoms of retinal detachment is the most important thing I do. If you have had laser surgery on your eyes, keep these symptoms in mind and do everything you can to protect your vision. You want to see and enjoy our colorful world.
Harriet Hodgson has been an independent journalist for 30+ years. Her 24th book, Smiling Through Your Tears: Anticipating Grief, written with Lois Krahn, MD is available from Amazon.
Centering Corporation published her 26th book, Writing to Recover: The Journey from Loss and Grief to a New Life and a companion journal. The company also published her latest book, The Spiritual Woman: Quotes to Refresh and Sustain Your Soul.
Hodgson has another new book out, 101 Affirmations to Ease Your Grief Journey. Please visit her website and learn more about this busy author and grandmother.