Eye Candy Blog Pages:

Monday, August 31, 2009

In the spirit of making lemonade out of lemons, check out my new site: www.little-bear-productions.com.

My new site with designer eye-patches

My new company, Eye Candy eye-patches, is live on the internet!

Be sure to stop by www.little-bear-productions.com to have a peak at the designer eye-patches, and don't forget to forward the link to anyone who wears an eye-patch.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Good news! Surgery still-on for September 8th: http://ping.fm/nUeQX

hurry up and wait...

Okay, so today has turned out well in the end and we’re going ahead with the eye surgery on September 8th. Thank goodness, because I don't think I could wait until November. Driving & functioning with an eye-patch -- even a stylish one -- is draining & more difficult than it appears!

There was a lot of debate this morning at UCSF with one of the technicians about whether or not the tests she was performing would have enough time to properly measure my eyes for surgery. To start my day, I had to wait over an hour for the technician to realize that I was waiting for my appointment, then I was told that the test wouldn’t be accurate because I was supposed to go 3-weeks without my contacts in both of my eyes (I had taken out my left contact only for 1 week, as I had been instructed). If I indeed need to wait two more weeks to do the scan, I would miss my surgery. And the surgeon’s schedule has only a tentative gap in October. The only definite choice is to wait until his next appointment in November. Boo.

The scan today was to measure my current lens in my eye via ultrasound so they could make sure they have the correct replacement lens in-stock for my surgery. Apparently although a Toric contact lens is technically a soft lens, it changes the shape of my cornea, which could give them an incorrect reading. For obvious reasons, the surgeon needs as accurate a reading as possible, because once the replacement lens goes in, it’s in. We had much discussion about whether or not the three weeks measurement is absolutely necessary, whether both eyes need three weeks (both of which alternatives would cause my surgery to be moved), whether they could do the scan the day of surgery (my preference), whether coming in next week would make a difference (only 2 weeks w/o a contact in my left eye & one week w/o a contact in my right eye), etc. My concern was making sure the lens is accurately measured & available the day of surgery. Dr. McLeod was in with patients, so I had to wait a bit more before the ultrasound technician and his surgical consultant, Maricris, could speak with him for his opinion. Fortunately the initial scan revealed that my lens is fairly standard, so they do not have to special order a lens to fit. And Dr. McLeod said we can do the scan the day of my surgery, I just have to come in early. Yeah! I love it when things come together! So we are proceeding with my eye surgery on September 8th.

A lot of people are asking how I’m doing? And honestly, I think I’m doing pretty well, all things considered. I'm in a good space emotionally & physically (despite the headaches). I also think I'm doing well because I dealt with the fear of going blind so many years ago when the champagne cork accident first occurred. Plus, the myriad of daily headaches & physical strain have been so intense, that I'm eager to get this over with.

My most difficult part recently was when one doctor said she couldn't adjust my vision & I would have to settle for not seeing. THAT was a bad day because I was thinking I was going blind based on an earlier doctor's prediction. Then I decided not to take that as fact & started digging further & got hooked-up with the right doctors. Thanks again to all of my friends who helped me find the right specialists through their networking efforts! Now I'm actually excited to have the eye surgery! I'd much rather have a bionic eye than lose my vision; who wouldn't!?! ;-)

A lot of people have also been asking if I’m scared? Honestly, I’m not afraid at all. Perhaps I should be, however I’m not! I feel positive and hopeful. I figure my surgeon is a type-A personality who likes challenges, right!?! While your (healthy) eyes are boring to him, I’m banking on the fact that he LOVES that mine is a mess. Type-A’s are by nature competitive, and like to rise-to-the-occasion. So he can be my guest to open it up & get ‘under-the-hood’ and do his thing!! I've seen three specialists and four surgeons who specialize in retinal & corneal stuff at UCSF, so I feel really confident with the whole thing, and particularly with Dr. McLeod. I’m not allowing myself to be afraid of what ‘could’ go wrong. Right now I’m too focused on staying positive and being healthy in all aspects of my life.

Thanks to everyone for their encouragement & support. And a million thanks to Nina Morse & Bradd Haley for helping me get safely to-and-from the hospital for all this testing!

Onward & upward! ;-)

still waiting for 1st pre-op appt @ UCSF. May have to postpone eye surgery to November... Unhappy. :-(
Prosperity tries the fortunate, adversity the great. ~Rose Kennedy

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Continuous effort - not strength or intelligence - is the key to unlocking our potential. ~Winston Churchill

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

lens replacement surgery scheduled!

Great news! I just returned from the University of California, San Francisco, (UCSF), and we've finally scheduled my surgery to replace the lens in my left eye for Tuesday, September 8, 2009! This is fantastic news in that optic nerve damage has now been ruled out.

Today I met with Stephen D. McLeod, MD, who is the Chair of the Department of Ophthalmology in the UCSF School of Medicine. I feel really good about this because UCSF is rated among the top 10 ophthalmology programs in the USA, and it has the largest surgical eye care program in Northern California.

Ready for a biology refresher? So, the LENS of the eye helps focus light onto the RETINA, which sends visual signals to the brain. Retinal problems are delicate, however as long as the OPTIC NERVE is okay, then things are good. A TRAUMATIC CATARACT occurs after blunt force trauma to the eye. In my case, the champagne cork struck my eye directly which caused a CHOROIDAL RUPTURE (a rupture in the layer of blood vessels and connective tissue between the SCLERA (the white of the eye) and the retina), and a RETINAL CONTUSION. I only had the slightest bruising on my brow-bone, so my eyeball took the full impact! Dr. McLeod suspects that my MACULA was likely damaged in the accident, too. The macula is a central area of the retina with a lot of CONES that mediate clear detailed vision. This is likely why doctors were only able to adjust my vision to 20/40 after I started regaining my vision after the accident.

Way back when the champagne cork struck my eye, I was grateful to have 20/40 vision in that eye, believe me! Immediately after the accident I was blind in my left eye for about 2 weeks until the blood from the bruising reabsorbed. Then I endured severe migraines for the next two years, particularly when it was sunny. I hated wearing an eye patch, however I needed to then, particularly in winter when sunlight would reflect off the snow in Michigan. Some jerk even made a nasty comment about my eye-patch. I had recently cut my hair shorter, and he had the nerve to say to me, "You used to be so pretty, what happened to you?" Needless to say, I put him in his place.

While my vision hasn't ever been perfect since the accident, I noticed it getting progressively worse about 5-6 years ago. I went to an Ophthalmologist at that time, however he wasn't able to do much other than give me a new eyeglass / contacts script. Now my left eye is so blurry that I get constant headaches from eye strain. I also have severe double vision in my left eye, and extreme sensitivity to light in that eye. While I still hate eye-patches, it actually feels a lot better to wear one than not. The largest draw-backs of wearing an eye patch for me are: loss of depth-perception, motion-sickness, loss of peripheral vision on my left side, and people staring. Having been an artist most of my life, I'm getting a kick-out-of creating designer eye-patches. It helps lighten-up the fact that I have to wear one, and makes some people less uncomfortable when they see someone wearing an eye-patch. There are still the jerks who visibly recoil when they see someone wearing a patch, however that's their problem, not mine!

Although I initially requested to be considered for a multi-focal lens (such as Crysalens), Dr. McLeod ruled it out today. According to Dr. McLeod, multi-focal lenses only work well when the patient had 20/20 vision to start with. In addition, there may likely be additional damage within my retina that will only be visible once he opens it up, that only a more stable lens can be supported in.

So I have two pre-surgical appointments on August 26th, and then will have my lens transplant on September 8th, 2009. Dr. McLeod only performs surgery twice a month, and his Practice Assistant, Maricris Macalalag, was fantastic about getting me in so quickly (just shy of 3-weeks from today); his next surgical appointment is in November. Since I'm wearing an eye-patch and having to drive on the US-101 daily, it's definitely preferable to get the surgery over with!

My traumatic cataract is relatively small, however it is in the center of my lens. Dr. McLeod doesn't think it's the sole reason for how bad my vision is in my left eye, however it does explain some of it. Tramatic cataracts frequently have a STELLATE or ROSETTE-shape, which explains my extreme sensitivity to light and possibly the double-vision. His plan is to replace my lens with the vision set for reading. Since I'm not a good candidate for a multi-focal lens, he has to determine in advance what vision to re-set my eye to. He feels that because my right eye is healthy and in good shape, my brain will be able to adjust to having my left eye focused for reading, and the good eye will compensate. Otherwise, if he sets my bad eye to distance vision, I will have to wear reading glasses. This way I will no longer need to wear a contact lens in my left eye, and I may be a candidate for corrective eye surgery in my right eye in the future! Cool! Twenty-two years ago I was told by my Neuro-Ophthalmologist -- with no uncertainty -- that I would one-day go blind. Today I was told for the first time ever that I may not need glasses in the future! Hard to fathom since I've worn corrective lenses since I was ten-years-old!! Yeah Dr. McLeod!!!

Onward & upward!


Tuesday, August 18, 2009

drum role...

So I'm getting ready to go back to UCSF to meet with the surgeon, and I noticed I'm in a great mood! In part because I'm hoping the doctor will rule-out optic nerve damage & schedule my lens surgery, and in part because I don't have to go back to work until tomorrow at 10:30am! When you're more excited about scheduling surgery than going to work, I suspect it's time for a vacation!


Monday, August 17, 2009

Control your own destiny or someone else will. ~Jack Welch

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more and become more, you are a leader. ~John Quincy Adams

Sunday, August 9, 2009

When you're young you find inspiration in anyone who's ever gone and opened up a closing door... ~Neil Tennant & Chris Lowe

Friday, August 7, 2009

Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it. ~Ferris Bueller

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So, when I was 19 I was hit in the eye by a faulty champagne bottle, and suffered a nasty contusion. I lost vision in my left eye temporarily for a couple of weeks, and suffered severe migranes for a couple of years after the vision returned. The neuro-ophthalmologist I saw at Northwestern University in Chicago actually told me I was going to eventually lose vision in my eye when I got older. He also told me that I was losing vision in both eyes (due to a psycho-symptomatic reaction) and would never graduate college. Not exactly what a 19-year-old wants to hear. That aside, while I've never been able to have 20/20 vision in that eye, I've been able to make do with 20/40 rather well. And I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1991!

As Geoffrey Chaucer said, 'Time and tide wait for no man'. And now that I'm in my early 40's, I 'see' what he means -- pun intended!

I went to a new eye doctor a couple of weeks ago for a new eyeglass prescription, since my vision has been blurry for a while. Unfortunately she wasn't able to do anything to help with my vision, except suggest I take fish oil capsules. Since I've been having headaches for the past few months, and have recently been getting concerned about driving because of blurry vision in my left eye, I asked around with various friends to determine a good eye specialist to consult with.

That led me to UCSF's Ophthalmology Department. What an impressive place! Their 'Retina, Pediatrics, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery' Ophthalmology Department is located on the 7th floor and overlooks San Francisco. Their offices have floor-to-ceiling windows with amazing views due West & due North. It's beautifully ironic to cast your gaze out over such lovely landscape as-far-as-the-eye-can-see. You can see the Pacific Ocean with freighters coming-and-going through the Golden Gate; the DeYoung Museum peaking through Golden Gate Park, and all sorts of vistas throughout The City. Marin County (my home) lies quietly to the North looking majestic, too.

So on Monday, August 3rd, I went for my first consult. After way too many hours being examined they found that I have a 'traumatic cataract' and some possible scar tissue on my retina in my left eye. Residual from the champagne accident. Today, Wednesday, August 5th, I went back for a pre-operative surgical consult. I was optimistic & eager to have surgery scheduled to fix my vision; yet a little scared, too.

The two surgical specialists I saw today both agreed that while I do have a cataract on the center of my lens, the rest of the lens is still in pretty good shape. They don't think that the cataract alone is causing the blurry & double vision, so they want me to have optic nerve damage ruled out. The surgeon said that while she could replace the lens, it likely won't correct the vision.

So now I have an appointment on August 19th with the chair of the department to investigate further. The good news is that he's a neuro-ophthalmologist, and he specializes in CrystaLens transplants (a flexible lens that would offer better vision in the long run since I'm still relatively young for a cataract -- Thanks to my good friend, Dr. Kevin Toppenberg, for turning me on to that!).

I've adjusted my mindset from initial disappointment to realizing that if there is something else going on it's better to figure that out before having eye surgery.

Oh, and the nurses LOVED my rhinestone eye patch & think I should start making them for sale, in particular for children who need to wear eyepatches! ;-)

Onward & upward...

To fly, we have to have resistance. ~Maya Lin