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[IP] Eye Questions

Julie asks:
> So I'm supposed to have panretinal laser surgery on Friday...

Just so you know I know of what I speak, I had endured all kinds of eye crap 
from 1990 to 2000 - if you want to write me off list, feel free.....a lot of 
 my posting about laser and vitretcomies and dumb-ass retina doctors, as well as
the praises I sing for the doctor-who-is-god and whom I love and adore and 
bring cookies to when I visit, are contained in the archives....

The following is written with some  humor - I am not mocking your fear by any 
stretch of the imagination - i hope you will be able to get a little laugh 
out of some of this - but trust me I UNDERSTAND your fear!!

You are most likely getting pan-retinal cuz your doctor sees "changes" in 
 your retina...you said you did the flourecine exam - where they injected you
dye then photograph your eyes looking for microaneurysms (small bleeds).  
That thing used to make me puke my guts out too, and I am not especially 
 squeamish about needles...it is just what is IN that crap that makes you

They do pan retinal when they see these tiny changes, hopefully to STOP 
 further damage....this could be considered a wake up call to tighten your blood
sugars up a little bit, BUT, if you have had diabetes for a while, don't beat 
 yourself up about it...blood vessel change happens...for some, it is in the
of gastro, some have foot nerve damage as the first sign of long term 
complications...for me, it was the eyes....it does NOT mean you are a BAD 
diabetic....(well not necessarily - in my case I WAS a bad diabetic.....).

>  They said I will have a shot to numb the areabeforehand.  

In my vast expereince, the shot hurts worse than the actual laser...  Even 
after the shot, you will STILL have a massive headache for a day or so.  I had 
more than 1/2 a dozen lasers in each eye, and only ONE with a shot....I about 
passed out when he leaned in with that 6 foot long needle and aimed it at my 
 EYE...no they don't actually SHOOT you in the eyeball with it, but it sure
like that is where they are aiming!!!  The laser itself does not actual 
 HURT...you don't feel repeated painful STABBINGS or BURNS. The first ocuple of
hits will take you by surprise, but after that, it is more like a never ending 
pounding of a sledge hammer on the back of your head....after the first whack, 
it isn't so much pain as it is discomfort....I find it best to distract myself 
by thinking what I will do to that doctor once i get my hands peeled off the 
 handles I have cemented my fingers around - whatever you do, don't try to count
the blasts...that just gets you depressed.

> eyes"might" be blurry for 3-4 weeks.  

might - might not...Most of the time I had someone drive me home after, but I 
have driven after it...in a few cases, I took the subway to get it done...and 
took the subway home....it affects EVERYONE differently, but I was never off 
work more than an afternoon...of course the first couple of times I milked it 
for a day or so, but your other eye will make up for it pretty quick...and you 
should be back to normal fairly quick.  I only had a patch the first 
 time....To look at it, you would never know you had surgery - looks more like
you were
up too late.. a little bloodshot, and maybe puffy if you get that way when 
you cry.....

> he doc said the whole thing is "no big deal" 

considering 20 years ago retinopathy led to blindness, the minor sledge 
 hammer pounding is truly a miracle...it CAN save your sight and not cause too
daamge, though you may  notice a lessening of night vision....AND if it keeps 
you from actually bleeding then great - it is fairly routine now...no big 

> putting my head on the chin bar.  

They have a velcro strap that can go around the back of your head to hold you 
in there...Make sure you dont get your hair caught in there...that hurts.  I 
have had nurses stand behind me and hold me there as well....like I was gonna 
freaking MOVE when he aimed a 10,000 watt laser at my brain....fear of zapping 
my cerebreal cortex alone kept me from moving...

I have never heard of them doing it laying down, but maybe....I honestly have 
never heard of them MISSING but I think there is something about the color of 
the laser or something that keeps it from hurting anything beyond the 
 laser....i don't think they would do it so often and it wouldn't be so standard
if it
was really dangerous.....

> you in pain afterward?  Will they give mepain medication?  

ehhhh mildly - no they don't give you anything - the 5 doctors i have had 
laser with all said tylenol would do the trick - nothing HURTS...you just will 
 have a headache...don't watch tv or try to read for a day or so...you will be

> We are currently trying to get pregnant but I 

I am not a doctor, and certainly not gonna tell you what to do, but if _I_ 
 was having eye troubles and wanted to get pregnant, I would get my eyes in good
shape before I threw another wrench into my body chemistry.  My endo said he 
would want to see no changes in my eyes for a straight 6 months, and normal 
a1cs that whole time before I should consider getting pregnant, otherwise it 
might be harmful for my eyes...(the minor detail of me not having a husband or 
 sperm donor did not seem to be an issue for him). I am not telling you not to
it, of course, you are the boss of you!

Bottom line....find some happy place to go to while it is happening.....look 
into the light...he will ask you to keep both eyes open and it is NOT 
easy...you won't be able to close the eye he is zapping, but you will want to 
 try.....and keep breathing...nice deep steady breaths...if you hold it, you
will pass
out and they wont just prop you back in the chair and blast away...they will 
make you come back another day and start the whole F#*&ing thing over again

let me know if you have any other questions

Sara Smarty Pants AZ
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