This is a follow-up to my initial blog post about the trabeculectomy eye surgery I had on March 6, reported on in "My eye surgery went well, though not a load of fun."
As a Johns Hopkins article about trabeculectomy says, this surgery is aimed at controlled eye pressure in people like me with glaucoma, when eye drops or laser surgery either aren't doing a good enough job at lowering eye pressure -- the only viable way of keeping glaucoma from doing more damage to the eye -- or someone can't use those other methods.
In my case, Dr. Young, a Portland glaucoma specialist, felt that I needed this surgery because I'd lost so much peripheral vision in my very nearsighted right eye, while my left eye is only very minimally affected by glaucoma.
My eye pressure was in the low to mid 20's when I was first diagnosed with glaucoma. Prescription eye drops had lowered the pressure to 10-12 in both eyes, but Dr. Young wanted to get the pressure in my right eye down to 6-7.
When I asked him why laser surgery wasn't an option for my right eye, Dr. Young told me that given the seriousness of my vision loss, and how slowly glaucoma usually progresses, he didn't want to wait a couple of years to learn how well laser surgery was working -- perhaps because I'm 74, and want to preserve as much vision as possible for the rest of my life.
So I had the surgery. Which then involved five follow-up appointments.
Those weren't convenient for me to get to, since Dr. Young practices in Tualatin, Oregon and I live a ways south of Salem, about a 50 minute drive from Tualatin. But mostly I didn't encounter the dreaded Portland-area freeway traffic, so the Trabeculectomy God must have been smiling upon me.
Dr. Young kept telling me that my eye looked fine, but when he pressed on the trabeculectomy site the pressure in my right eye would drop to zero, or one time 2, which isn't a good thing. In fact, it's a bad thing.
This meant that while I could stop using an eye shield, and phase down on the post-surgery eye drops I was prescribed, Dr. Young wanted me to keep on not lifting heavy weight. At first the limit was ten pounds. Then twenty pounds. Than thirty pounds. Three weeks ago I was given the OK to lift sixty pounds.
That enabled me to use the weight machines at our athletic club, albeit some of them at a considerably lower weight than I was using before the surgery (120 pounds on four of the eleven machines).
Today, though, I got my trabeculectomy graduation notice, three weeks after my previous visit with Dr. Young where he'd said that my eye wasn't forming scar tissue very quickly. My right eye pressure was six, an excellent pressure and right on what Dr. Young had hoped for.
(Further, Young has told me that there's reason to consider that a low eye pressure following trabeculectomy is a "higher quality" pressure, since it doesn't vary much, whereas lowering pressure via periodic drops in the eye has more ups and downs during the day.)
And, yay!, Dr. Young said I could do away with any weight-lifting restriction -- though I told him that I'd gradually ramp up the weight on the machines where I was using 120 pounds.
Time will tell whether the trabeculectomy is as successful in preserving the vision in my right eye as it seems to be doing at present.
My next appointment with Dr. Young is in four weeks. I have to wear glasses for the foreseeable future, after quite a few decades of contact lens wearing. I want to ask him when I can wear contacts again. This might relate to when I need cataract surgery, which so far I've avoided.