Eye Update One Year Later

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 going to need at least a couple extra weeks of healing. 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.

Eye Sutures

Eye Sutures

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.

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4 Responses to Eye Update One Year Later

  1. Patti says:

    Oh, Frank, so sorry to hear that the eye is taking much longer than expected. I know you are an impatient man that has LOTS to do and SEE I this world. Maybe there are bigger lessons for you in all this, ones that will make you a better person in some way (its also teaching you a lot about eyes and contacts!). In the meantime, I’ll join you in being thankful that it could have been much worse, and continue to hope for better news. Best wishes!! (PS: I’m sure Gerard would just give you a funny quip, but I’m the contemplative one 🙂 !)

  2. nanag says:

    I am so sorry that your eye has not healed yet. I am thankful that you can see much better now. Please just continue to follow your Dr’s orders. Our prayers are with you and Karen, and we especially ask for healing of your eye. Much love to both of you.

  3. Kai Ekdahl says:

    I just read about your eye. What a mess. And all because a grain of sand and a lens. Hopfully it will turn out to the best in the end. But expensive I think.
    I just stumbeled on your blog by a coincidense while reading about voyages around the world. Im originally from Sweden but now I have been living in the Philippine archipelage for 8 years, selling purified water to the natives here. I noticed that almost no sailboats coming here while traveling arround the world. In spite of its a paradise for boating and diving. Perhaps you are familiar with Boracay ? That’s next door to us. Boracay is voted into the top 10 beaches in the world.
    Anyway, have a great trip . Kai

  4. Virginia Edwards says:

    Hey Frank,
    I have been following along with the eye situation and hoped for better results for you, however, one step back this month, maybe wo steps forward next month. Here’s hoping the next visit is better news!! I continually enjoy your pictures and writings! Wishing you well in your healing and your journey with Karen. Take care.

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