As you may recall, I had to go for additional eye testing after a routine exam:
The results are in, and I do have to get laser eye surgery.
I have what is known as Narrow Anterior Chamber Angles. That’s fancy doctor talk for small eye holes.
Basically, the tiny holes in my eyes to drain the ocular fluid are at risk of being blocked due to my iris plateau. This is a common condition in people who are far sighted (such as myself).
In this condition, the iris is attached to the ciliary body too close to the trabecular meshwork, where drainage occurs. When the pupil dilates, the peripheral iris tissue bunches up in the drainage angle and can cover up the trabecular meshwork, causing pressure in the eye to rise quickly.
Beyond the Iris Plateau, I have other issues that compound the problem:
- Age. As we grow older, the lens inside our eyes gets larger, increasing the risk for pupil block. Also, the anterior chamber tends to become increasingly shallow, and the drainage angle may narrow as we age. (regular talk: the eye holes get smaller as you get older). The majority of people affected by this condition are senior citizens.
- Sex. Among Caucasians, angle-closure glaucoma occurs three times more frequently in women than in men.
Because of this I need to get a Peripheral Iridotomy (LPI).
The entire Peripheral Iridotomy procedure takes only 15 minutes with the actual laser part only taking a few seconds. The doctor will laser a teeny hole in the top-centre of each iris.
He bragged that he does one of these procedures nearly each day.
Well, I’m glad it’s not a big deal for him. He also promised to make the holes small because I am young.
Thanks….? Does he usually gouge giant craters into the eyes of his senior patients?
The issue and the solution all make logical sense to me, but I am having a hard time wrapping my head around the concept of preventative surgery, in general.
Hey, there’s nothing at all wrong with you, you’re perfectly healthy. So you need to get this surgery.
So, what if I don’t get the surgery? What if I say:
No, thanks. My eyebulbs feel fine and I don’t want you poking them with lasers.
Well then, I am at a pretty big risk for developing Acute Glaucoma.
Acute narrow-angle glaucoma occurs suddenly, when the iris is pushed or pulled forward. This causes blockage of the drainage angle of the eye, where the trabecular meshwork allows outflow of fluids.
When internal eye structures are blocked in this way, the eye’s internal pressure may spike and possibly damage the optic nerve.
Possible symptoms include: eye pain, headaches, halos around lights, dilated pupils, vision loss, red eyes, nausea and vomiting.
Acute angle-closure glaucoma is a medical emergency. If the high eye pressure is not reduced within hours, it can cause permanent vision loss.
Minor, preventative surgery sure sounds like a good idea when the alternative is blindness.
I am really disappointed that I have to get the surgery. I was certain they would say “hey everything looks great no need to come back, ever”.
Unfortunately, they said the opposite of that.
But there are few upsides:
1- the surgery is free because it’s considered medically necessary. Thanks for all the universal healthcare, Canada!
2- The chances of me getting acute glaucoma after the operation will be virtually impossible.
3- I won’t randomly go blind one day.
4- This is an ultra minor procedure.
Though this is one of the most minor surgeries ever. I am still stressed out, so wish me luck.
Hopefully I won’t be in the small percentage of people who have lasting side effects from the procedure (10%> of people report a glare or ghosting that lasts for months).
If you like doctor talk and want to learn more about this condition which affects approximately 0.01% of the population check it out here:
and you can learn more about the surgery here:
Here’s a (non-gross) pic of what my eyes will be looking like afterwards:
If you are grossed out easily, don’t google Acute Angle Closure Glaucoma.
According to the surgeon, it was a success.
According to me, it was surprisingly painful. For some reason I wasn’t expecting that… but I was getting a hole pinched into my eyeballs – and that’s exactly how it felt.
I do not recommend getting this procedure just for fun.
My vision was compromised for the day and my eyes ached for about 12 hours. But now all is good, and with the exception of no heaving lifting or exercise for the next week, I am 100% awesome.