Saturday, January 8, 2011

Eyeballs- Week 1

Well, I was definitely in for more than I bargained for! I've learned plenty this week, saw MANY procedures (who would have thought ophthalmology would be known for procedures), managed to terrify myself, and looked at lots of eyes.

I'll start with the things I've learned:
1. Take care of your eyes- there really is a point of no return. Pay attention to your vision, and if you note changes, call your eye doctor up. There are treatments within a reasonable time frame.
2. Contact lenses are really not that great for your eyes if you don't wear them the recommended way. I'll be honest, I definitely don't wear them the recommended way. You can get a corneal ulcer and then you won't be wearing contacts for months. I have been lectured by more than one of the docs already. For example, wearing them for 24 hrs a day, is bad. I don't do that now, but during residency I was pretty much planning on keeping them in since I'll be awake. Wrong. Apparently, I'll need to update my prescription so my glasses can be updated (they're circa freshman year of college). I'll be making a visit to these guys before I leave for residency.
3. The cosmetic side is very interesting. Botox, Juvaderm, facial laser treatments, and the surgeries. I'm seeing a blepharoplasty (eye lid tuck/brow lift) on Monday.

Ok, onto the things I've seen. If you are squeamish or hate eyeballs, consider yourself warned.
1. On my first day I was floored at the amount of things I saw. For starters, a man came in with a retinal detachment. This is BAD. Think of it as the back wall of your eyeball (on the inside) coming loose off the wall. The symptoms are a black curtain coming over your vision. The treatment is not nice. To start, the eyeball had to be numbed with lidocaine. This meant an injection onto the eyeball. The lidocaine made a bubble on the eye. (My mouth was hanging open). Then he froze the back of the eye with a cryotherapy technique, by basically shoving this thing alongside the eyeball. Then he injected a gas bubble inside the eyeball so that it would push the retina back up against the wall. This means that for 4 days, the patient has to lay in a position forcing the retina back where it should be. For him, it was his left side. Worst case scenario- laying on your face for 4 days. And yes that does happen.
2. Eye surgeries do not mean that the patient will have general anesthesia. For somethings, they just get a valium beforehand. In other cases they get some Versed. This means they can talk to you and move their eyes while operating. Very strange.
3. For wet macular degeneration, the only treatment is an injection into the eyeball. Some patients get these monthly. I was pretty disgusted by the first one, but they are SO common, that I now think it's a normal visit.
4. Lasik is pretty quick. It's not as scary as I thought it would be, but I'm still not interested for myself. I'll continue the road of cornea eating contacts.


  1. I just read this during my lunch - and had a friend with retinal detachment last year who had described something similar. Yum-yuck.

    Any experience with eye muscle surgery yet? that was me when I was 5 and again last year. Lots of fun :-)

  2. I have not seen any eye muscle surgery yet! I'm hoping too!