No pain, no discomfort but by Xmas day it had become larger. By Boxing Day I had a black crescent blocking over half my sight so my wife and I reluctantly decided not to go to the drinks party we had been invited to and instead drove the thirty miles to our nearest eye hospital.
To our astonishment I was told that I would have to undergo an immediate operation to repair a detached retina otherwise I risked losing the sight in my left eye.
I came round from the anaesthetic with my eye heavily bandaged and extremely sore. Apparently the surgeon had to make an incision in the eyeball and stitch the retina back. UGH !
Over the course of the next 18 months I had a further detached retina in my left eye and another in my right eye. Fortunately one was repaired by laser which was a virtually discomfort free procedure but I still had to have another surgical repair.
Why surgery was necessary?
The reason surgery was necessary was that the retinas had become detached on the side of the eye and a laser beam could not reach the damaged area at that angle.
I was told that detached retinas could occur in middle age amongst the short sighted as the fluid in the eye undergoes a change in density and composition making the eyes vulnerable.
Since my teenage years I had become progressively more shortsighted and about which I was extremely sensitive. I was, and still am, very keen on ball games and as a young man excelled at fencing and was a keen boxer.
Despite the short sightedness I have been blessed with excellent reactions that have allowed me to carry on playing tennis.
In my thirties and early forties I used contact lenses but after getting grit under one lens and the accompanying pain which was worse and longer lasting than the later surgery I went back to ordinary spectacles.
As time went by my eyesight got worse complicated by the fact that I could no longer read with my every day spectacles and found that bifocals did not suit. It was easier to read without spectacles but by holding the book or paper very close to my face. Thank goodness I was still able to play tennis, golf and cricket.
As a result of my detached retinas I had to attend hospital every year for an eye check up and field of vision test.
From that day to this I have had to administer drops to both eyes very night and morning.
Then five years ago I was told that there were signs of a cloudiness on the lens of one eye. In other words a cataract was forming but might take a number of years before action would have to be taken.
Having regular eye check ups is always a good decision
Obviously I still had to have regular eye check ups so by sheer chance I booked an appointment with an eye specialist whose nameplate I happened to have noticed in passing.
It ranks as one of the best decisions I have made.
The specialist was in his thirties, Spanish and had trained in his own country and in Germany. He speaks excellent English and Spanish and has the most up to date equipment and facilities.
Most importantly of all he makes the time to discuss in detail his diagnoses, treatments and outcomes. It was while doing this that I asked if I could have the lenses in my eyes replaced even though there was not yet a sign of a cataract in the other eye.
Not only could I have both of them replaced but he told me that I would have an excellent chance of perfect vision in both eyes and if I needed a slight correction after the ops this could be done by laser.
I now have perfect vision, can read the smallest print without glasses and my distance vision is spot on. I didn’t need the laser and was able to see the very next day.
The operations, which came four weeks apart, were completely painless both during and afterwards. In fact during the second operation I could hear a monotonous but vaguely musical sound so I remarked that I didn’t think much of his music. I was gently informed that it was the sound of the machine sucking out the lens I had from birth.
I am back to playing a good standard of tennis and can make out the ball even against a white advertising hoarding while playing under lights. Even golf where I always had difficulty tracking the ball is no longer a problem. I feel fitter, look better and have more enthusiasm for my pursuits than I have for years. My only regret is that I didn’t have this op years ago, I could still be playing cricket and putting up with the British weather.
Even after three years I still appreciate the miracle of perfect vision.