29 January

Reprieve! Meet My Eye: Next Week, Laser Surgery

by Jon Katz
Portrait Of My Eye

The specialists at the Retinal Consultants outside of Albany, N. Y., Maria and I got up early – she was good enough to drive me as I had been warned my eyes would be so heavily and powerfully dilated that it would not be safe to drive. I really hate it when she has to miss any of her work to drive my anywhere, but she pooh-poohs that as just life. I suppose it is.

The doctors weren’t kidding – 10 hours later my vision has still not returned to normal, but I can blog now, and I’m still peeing a bright yellow stream from the dies they injected into my blood to scan the circulation in my eye. (A swelling over the summer had temporarily obstructed my vision.)

It was frightening for me to notice one day that when I tried to read, the top half of all the letters were missing or blurred. I thought about my photography, my blog, my reading. The doctors were grim and alarmed. So was I.

The good news was that the swelling – you can see the aneurysms (yellow dots surrounding) above. That is the dangerous part. Thanks to the potent eye drops I’ve been taking, the swelling has shrunk and moved away from the retina (the octopus like orb on the left.) But it’s still  there.

I was at the doctor’s for more than three hours, and was much relieved to learn that my eyesight is excellent.  I am also relieved to know this is treatable, which it wasn’t until fairly recently.

I don’t need regular injections into the eye itself, as was first thought,  they recommended laser surgery next Monday. They said I should be fine, at least for now, they are using lasers to create a grid around the aneurysms so that they can’t spread.

They don’t like swelling anywhere near the retina.

I have been anxious about this new issue in my life, I wanted to put it behind me, I’ve have six or seven trip to the eye doctors and I wasn’t sure where it was going.

I was mesmerized by the photographs they took of my eye and put up on a big computer screen. The techs were surprised, but happy to comply when I got excited and asked to take a photo of my eye with the Iphone X, they were happy to accommodate me.

I e-mailed the above photo to my daughter, who messaged me right away: “gross but beautiful.” Maria, ever the artist, loved the lines. She is nothing if not direct. The photos of my eye were quite mysterious to me, the arteries and deep red color.

I actually found the pictures of my eye quite  beautiful and mystical. When I started the blog, I promised to be open and share my life, so here you go. You even get to see the inside of my eye. I’m not kidding about the  blog being a living memoir. It is all of the small parts that make up a life.

The laser surgery is not a big deal, it is painless, takes no more than 10 minutes, and I can go back to work right away, unless my pupils are dilated again and I am peeing more bright yellow streams.

While I’m at it, I haven’t mentioned the voluntary subscription payment program for months, As the economy soars, I feel better about asking people to consider paying me for my work, if it is meaningful to them. You can cancel any time and no one controls your account and your money but you. If you don’t have the money or wish to spend it, the blog is free and will remain free.

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  1. having had laser retina tacking surgery to prevent detachment (right eye), I thoroughly disagree with the doctors that it is “painless”.

    While there will not be long term pain (ask me about have full bore, cut the eye open retinal reattachment! (left eye) -a fate I would wish on no one not even an enemy) — the laser tacking felt for all the world like being jab with the eraser end of a pencil,

    Hopefully, you won’t feel a thing. But……..

    1. Dear Philip, I am sorry for you troubles, but your experience has nothing to do with me or mine, one way or the other. I’m not quite sure I get your motive for sharing it. If I feel pain, I will deal with it, if not, I’ll consider myself fortunate. I’m not sure what this has to do with your own surgery. Many people I know have had the surgery with no pain, some have pain, so that’s life. Whats your point?

  2. It is fascinating to look at a picture like this and know that the lines in my own eyes are allowing me to see it. It always awes me to think of how it all works, regardless of if it was created by an Almighty, or by random chance.

    I hope your surgery go well, with a quick recovery.

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