The life of an ordinary woman, who'd been given an extraordinary gift. The Gift of Sight. This is my story and my life.

Archive for the ‘sight restoration’ Category

“Normal”, I have arrived! *Update post!*… With great news.

Cornea transplant rejection has been reversed. NO needle injection to place medication in to the eye (thank God!). Down to four times a day on my steroid drops. Adding another drop once a day, starting next week.

I won’t go for another recheck for another four weeks.

Also, I was told that I am now on my Doxycycline pills for the rest of my life…. But the BIGGEST news of the whole day?

I can NOW WEAR MAKEUP again, after almost three YEARS of not being allowed to do so by the doctor’s orders. And that eye, even with a cataract and a small, partial flat area of cornea, is now seeing 20/20… He said that it is RARE for those like me that have had such a tight and flattened cornea sewn in that way, and especially with all the problems it has had in the past.

Now to teach my oldest child, my daughter, who is twelve (going on 25, haha!!), “Makeup Facts 101” where Mom is concerned. Which means NO SHARING of *anything*. As in NO TAKING MAKEUP FROM MOM. Ever. Or the application brushes/sponges.

With my condition(s), I cannot afford, nor do I want to chance cross-contamination. It can hurt the cornea graft. If not even make it so infected, it rejects.

Plus, I will have to get the tad-bit “pricier” makeups. Especially eyeshadow. Allergen-free (Almay) and in the Mineral Makeup type (light weight, less ‘crap’ ingredients).

NO eyeliner or mascara. Fine by me. At least I can have some color on my lids now.

It’s really funny how the tiniest of things can seemingly add up to be the biggest thing in your life. Especially when it was taken for granted, and you were banished from it for so long, wishing you could have it back.

Over the last two and a half years, I have gone out so many times on “dates” with my husband, and SO badly just wanted to “pretty up” and hide the red splotches when my Rosacea flares up (and zits that come with it at times). I don’t wear it a lot. Only during special occasions and “date” outings.

It has been my LAST goal to reach to get back to “normal” since my transplant. And now, it FINALLY has arrived and I can say that it’s ALL over (for the most part) and my life can be completely as it once was, only with a few minor tweaks and adjustments.

Normal Life, it’s nice to have you back and nice to know that we can once again live in harmony. Because, Normal Life, you have been away for WAY too long.

And thank you to my Donor, for they are my PERFECT match. We have been through a lot together. In a “spiritual” way of course. But physically as well. Because without them and their gift, this day of COMPLETE “normalcy” would never have been possible.

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Corneal Stitches

Also known as “Corneal Sutures”, they are sewn in as to ensure that the newly transplanted cornea stays in place and attaches well to the rest of your eye as it is supposed to do.

After the surgeon carefully and skillfully lays the cornea in to position, he/she will thread a specialized sewing needle as to begin the suturing process.

The following is a picture of one of the types of needles that they will use on the cornea. It is called a Kalt Corneal Needle.

They will use the claw-like needle to thread the corneal stitches through to attach the new cornea in place.

There are a couple of different variations as to how the stitchings are done. And every doctor has his or her preference. Plus it also depends on the patient and their needs as well.

One is called “Interrupted”. Which means that instead of a “zig-zag” effect, there is one line stitchings that kind of resemble the lines around the sun from a child’s drawing.

The other suture possibility is called “Continuous”. That type of suturing looks (to me) something like a drawing (yep, I’m stuck on kid pictures lol) that a child made, using the old drawing toy called a Spirograph.

Then there are some cases where the doctor uses BOTH of the techniques. In the same eye. Again, it’s done on a case-by-case basis.

The following is an example drawing of the sutures that I had described above.

Post transplant, over time as healing progresses and all is well, the Corneal Specialist will look over the eye and eventually decide that it’s time to start to remove stitches. But not all are out at once. It’s a gradual and even a bit of a tedious process.

When it’s time, the doctor will ask for his Nurse Assistant to go grab the removal kit. It will have two things in its sterile packaging. A forceps tool and a blade tool.

These are called a “Meyerhoffer Chalazion Curette”. They help (as long as I do indeed have the correct blade) to cut the stitch(es) that the doctor wishes to remove.

The above set of “tweezers” are called “Arruga Curved Capsule Forceps”. And hopefully, I do have the correct pair. Once the appropriate stitch(es) have been sliced loose, then the tweezers are used to (gently) pull the stitch out from the cornea and eye area.

Anyway you slice it (get it?? lol) they must use a blade and tweezers to cut and remove the sutures. They are not dissolve-able. So removal is indeed a must.

There are VERY rare occasions though, that do warrant stitches to stay in place for the patient’s life.

But before that, they will place in some numbing eye drops and use an eye separator. This way, there is no pain and no chance of you closing down the eye as it is being worked on.

The Eyelid Speculum Device is usually metal and looks like the following…

And your eye looks like this after placement….

And no, it does NOT hurt to have it placed under the lids, nor is it painful as it is within the eye area. Cold. That’s about it. But then you have the drops placed in and all is well.

One of my awesome pals from Twitter and Facebook (we initially “found” one another through a friend of a friend on Twitter) has recently had a corneal transplant done, due to having Keratoconus (cone shaping of the cornea). Brooklin (ItsBrooklin on Twitter) is also a professional photographer who does great work with picture-taking.

Earlier in the week, while on a shoot, Brooklin had a buddy take a picture of his eye where all of his stitches were in. For Brooklin’s case, he had BOTH the Continuous, as well as the Interrupted suturing performed on his transplant eye.

First of all, THANK YOU Brooklin for letting me use your eye as a prime example of explanation for this post. You couldn’t have timed posting the picture really any better. And also, dude… You have BEAUTIFUL brown eyes. They are like Amber Brown. My favorite shade of brown.

Well, I hope that this will put your mind at ease, as well as help you to better understand the process of having stitches both placed in, and removed from your eye once you have had a Corneal Transplant. It looks scary to go through. But really, it’s not too bad. Personally to me, the worst part is honestly the speculum.

"I’m A Survivor"…. My Cornea Donation PSA Video.

Because of my own stupidity and having probably the world’s biggest brain fart, I had to start a new YouTube account. To view it and (hopefully you will) subscribe GO HERE.

It had taken me most of one evening, and a majority of an afternoon to piece together a video that is just over four MINUTES in length. To say I put all of myself in to the project is well, a bit of an understatement. But, here is the finished product.

It’s not as good as some people’s videos/PSA’s . But I think that I got the point across.

The "Founder" of Sight Resorative Services.. A History Lesson

Richard Townley Paton, M.D. was a man with a mission. A mission to retrieve and safely keep cornea tissue at the ready for doctors to use of their patients in need of the Gift of Sight.

In 1944, Dr. Paton had founded the Eye Bank for Sight Restoration in Manhattan, New York, along with his partner, Dr. John McLean of New York Hospital. A place that would help with harvesting, testing, readying, and transporting viable corneas to doctors and the patients in need of help in regaining their sight through corneal transplantation.

Dr. Paton also did some of the earlier works of helping to perfect the surgical procedure, before Founding the wonderful and now American-wide acclaimed, eye bank.

Some of his corneal donations came from those within the prison settings of convicts whom had consented to the donation of their eyes after their death by execution in Ossining, NY.

The Eye Bank, which is on East 64th Street, was the first organ/tissue banking system to accept eye donations. And it was a joint-effort institution between a total of twenty-one New York hospitals.

From that point on, more eye-collective banks were beginning to open throughout the country. Slowly but surely, more banks opened, and more people had their sight saved, and their lives more enriched due to the thanks and ingenuity of two men who forged a path to a positive means to restore sight to those that otherwise had little to zero chance of ever seeing again.

Medical advances of today in the world and works of sight restoration have made them to be THE most successful transplant of all transplants done in the United States and around the world.

At the age of eighty-two, on February 27th, 1984, Dr. Paton sadly passed away. But not before completing his mission of giving the Gift of Sight to as many people as he could. Thanks to him, myself and MILLIONS of people around the world are seeing things that most of us take for granted.

(initially posted to YouTube on April 27, 2011)