Hey everyone! It’s been a little while since my last blog post. I was really hoping to post more for April, but work got a bit busy and I had some personal events that made me less motivated to make a blog post. I’ll talk about one event now, and the other one later.
So I finally got around to seeing an optometrist back in March! And my originally scheduled 45 minute appointment stretched to an hour-and-a-half after I told the doctor about my eye losing control whenever I got tired, had a few drinks, or had to look off into the distance. I had originally been calling it a “lazy eye,” but that is incorrect. It’s actually called an “eye turn,” and mine is specifically called “esotropia” because my eye turns inward towards my nose. And it’s my right eye that does this, not my left! The doctor was really concerned because I told her that I wasn’t born with it – it was something that I developed sometime in college and had been getting worse/harder to correct over the years. Since the eyes are neurologically connected to the brain, she was really worried of possible damage or a brain tumor. I kept my cool though and didn’t worry too much, which is honestly surprising for myself as stuff like that usually makes me a little panicky!
So the optometrist referred me to see an ophthalmologist at the Polyclinic. They were booked a few weeks out, so it took a while before I could actually come in. When I get in, the nurse tells me I might not actually be referred to the right place because the notes faxed from the optometrist wanted me to see a neuro-ophthalmologist as opposed to a regular one. I had the choice of leaving and going back to the optometrist, or see the ophthalmologist anyway and get referred to the correct place and doctor. So I chose the latter and the ophthalmology doctor says my eyes are nice and healthy, confirmed the eye turn, held up a few prisms to my right eye to see the severity of my eye turn, and then tells me surgery is going to be needed to correct it.
So THIS is when my heart drops and my palms get sweaty. Not at the possibility of a brain tumor or neurological damage, but at the mention of surgery! He gets me my neuro-ophthalmologist information to make a new appointment, tells me the brain tumor possibility is highly unlikely, and sends me on my way. I’m reeeeeling from the news and text my boyfriend and friends about it. I never had surgery done before and I was worried about the cost after insurance coverage. I already spent so much to fix up my cavities with the dentist, and was worried.
I make an appointment to see the proper doctor the next week at Northwest Eye Associates in First Hill. During my appointment, I cracked a lot of jokes (it’s my way of coping and staying calm) and she actually laughed at them! 🙂 But she gives me more details about what esotropia is and how correcting eye turns even in adults is her specialty in ophthalmology. She tells me eye turns that need about 10-15° prisms can usually be corrected through exercises and physical therapy for the eye. My eye turn needed a prism with a 35° angle, which is considered pretty severe. She said she was impressed that I just dealt with it for so long, but is definitely glad I’ve finally come in. She gives me the choice of either getting prism glasses that I can pop on whenever I need them, or minor corrective surgery. She tells me about the surgery process and that she will be the one performing it, and that anesthesia will be used. That to me is a relief, though I have become more desensitized about stuff coming toward my eyes with the use of contact lenses and after all these appointments examining my eyes up close.
I see this doctor again tomorrow for her to take measurements and to get me prescribed for glasses with a prism lens melded to the right lens. I’m to wear the glasses for at least 2-3 weeks straight on a 24/7 basis so that my eye muscles get used to the proper alignment needed to see straight. Then the surgery will occur and I’ll have to take a week off from work to let my eye rest. The surgery to correct esotropia involves either shortening or stretching my weakened eye muscle, which does involve detaching it and then suturing it back to my eyeball in a new spot. I believe tomorrow’s appointment will help my doctor determine which is needed! I will have a red eye and a feeling of scratchiness for several weeks post-operation. But I’ll at least be able to see straight!
I’m very happy to have a solution for my eye turn, even if it does require a minor surgery. I spent a few hours last week on the phone with both my insurance company and the eye clinic to figure out what the estimated cost would come around to. Without insurance, the surgery costs around $850. My insurance covers a portion of it but I haven’t hit my out-of-pocket deductible of $500. So my bill is estimated to come out to $517 or so. I was afraid of the surgery costing me thousands, so even the $517 estimation is a relief to me!
I’m very happy to finally have a solution to my eye problem. I still find it comical how much I made fun of myself. When the eye turn would happen after a few drinks and people wanted to take photos, I would hide the turn by winking. Sometimes the photo looked fine and the wink was cute. Sometimes, I was winking way too hard and it was a baaaad photo which made it even funnier to me. The eye turn though has gotten to a point where it’s starting to get hard for me drive because looking at street signs or even the traffic light is too far for my eyes to stay straight. It also happens when I try to model because sometimes the photographer is just a tidbit too far and my eye gives up for a second. I’m relieved that I have a long-term solution and can’t wait for surgery day! It’ll likely be sometime in late July or early August. Here’s to another 2021 resolution getting completed!