Just over one year ago, I got a bit of sand in my eye while enjoying the beach with a bunch of sailors. It managed to make a tiny scratch on my eye and the bacteria from a contact lens (read this if you wear contacts) I had in the eye dove in and multiplied. A day later I was in agony. Two days after that we got me on a plane from an island off the coast of Australia to go to a hospital in Cairns. I was immediately admitted in the hospital and spent four days of intensive anti-biotics there. I was within hours of losing the eye permanently.
I ended up spending 9 weeks in Cairns getting treatments under the supervision of eye doctors there. After that, I was told we could continue sailing and continue the medications, be careful, and in another month I could swim. But, my eye had permanent scarring on the cornea (I wasn’t sure of this until months later). My vision from the eye at the end was just cloudy indistinct objects.
In March, I had surgery to put a new cornea on the eye. It was expected it would take about 6 months of gradual improvement before the eye healed and the vision stabilized and should be correctable to 20-20.
It’s been four months. Early this week I went to see the doctor for a checkup. The eye tests they conducted showed my vision had actually gone backwards a bit since the previous test a month ago. It can not be corrected to 20/20 at this stage. The doctor said the eye isn’t healing at the proper pace. He said some eyes go at different paces than others. I may need a change in treatment if it doesn’t progress. He’s changed the medication – reducing the drops. I’m probably at least a couple extra months of healing (four months from now). This also probably pushes back the date for when I can swim again. I also have a developing cataract (scarring on the lens) – which is normal in cases like mine with lots of trauma. I may need a procedure next year to fix that.They took some new photographs and I was able to see the sutures for the first time. They let me take a shot of their computer screen with my phone. You can see two separate sutures around the circumference of the new cornea. You can also see the pupil is not round – this is because of the early trauma that caused some of the iris to stick on the eye wall. It doesn’t hurt the vision, just looks weird up close.
I’m very glad that I still have the eye. I can see far better than before the surgery even now. But, it is frustrating to have been having treatments (mostly eye drops) for a year now and still not have clear vision from the eye. I’m a very visual person and to not have good vision is a challenge for me. Normally, I heal very quickly from illnesses and injuries. Not this time.
Meanwhile, life goes on. I’m hoping we can get back to more fun on the boat in the coming year. Although, with my not being able to swim, it severely limits my activities.