Jim Dozier, J.D.
- Posted on: Jun 16 2017
As with many baby boomers, I wore glasses to read. In the past, God had blessed me with fine eyesight. That is until I reached the age of 40. One fateful morning, I noticed I needed larger print or longer arms. So, my first reading glasses were purchased. That was almost 15 years ago. As aging marched on, it seemed each succeeding five years I needed more amplification. I wanted another choice, not more glasses. My search began.
For a few years RK, PRK, Lasik, and other methodologies were helping those with vision problems, particularly those that were nearsighted. All my inquiries regarding my problem were met with, “Sorry, it is a natural aspect of aging.” That is until recently when I read about the potential of Conductive Keratoplasty (CK). Thus begins my diary.
One morning the newspaper ran an advertisement about a new treatment for those that were over 40 and with reasonably good vision, but needed glasses to read. It was called CK. After perusing the internet and reading about the procedure, I sought out a doctor.
Several phone calls led me from some that did not know what I was inquiring about to others that claimed to be the best in town. From these calls, I assessed one that appeared to be professional and competent. I made an appointment and was off for my first office visit. After arrival, I was given a through eye exam. I hustled from one person to another. It reminded me somewhat of an assembly line. I never did see a Medical Doctor. The facility was nice and the people friendly. However, the final person I saw was non-medical office staff. I was told I was not a good candidate for CK, but could be helped with Lasik surgery. It was explained, afterwards, I would have a type of mono vision. After receiving the financial details and a pretty package of materials, I walked out with out scheduling my surgery. This was not what I wanted or turns out, needed.
From what I had researched, I thought I fit the perfect profile for CK. So, back to the internet I went. A few weeks passed until I found another source that met my stringent requirements of qualifications and experience. March 18, 2003, I visited Slade and Baker Vision Center. I again received a through eye exam and was told, unlike the other clinic, I was an excellent candidate for CK. The visit and personnel at the Slade & Baker impressed me and exceeded my expectations. It was not the hustle and bustle I witnessed in other offices. It was not the cheapest, but not totally out of line with other prices I had obtained. Besides, when considering surgery on my eyes, I wanted the best, not the cheapest. I believe in the old saying, “you get what you pay for.” My surgery was scheduled for March 20, 2003.
There exist many accounts of the experiences of Lasik and other procedures. I could not find details of people experiencing CK. Therefore, I decided to write of my personal observations of CK, up close and personal. Here are the details of my experience.
I arrived for surgery at 11am. My wife was with me as designated driver. You will need one. After preliminary paper work was completed, another consultation and eye exam was conducted by Dr. Baker. I then returned to the lobby and waited a few minutes until I was called for post operation instructions. You will be given a belt purse containing a few medications and a pair of inexpensive, yet stylish, sunglasses. ( Note: When you schedule your surgery, you are given a prescription for antibiotic eye drops. The drops cost approximately $35.00) you are also asked to wear cloth booties over your shoes and a hair net while in the surgical suite.
Immediately prior to surgery, you will meet with Dr. Slade in an office for a final eye exam and review of the procedure. You can then ask any other questions or address any concerns you may have. My wife was welcomed in the consultations. Then you are off to the surgical suite. Your family can actually watch your procedure via a plate glass window and up close TV monitors. Wear comfortable clothes.
In the suite, your eyes are treated with drops that numb your eyes and your eyelids disinfected with an iodine solution. You are offered a valium to help you relax during, and or after the treatment.
You are asked to lie on a comfortable table. The doctor directs a red light towards your face. You are asked to look the light. There is no feeling of claustrophobia as you are in an open area. A device is then placed on your eyelids to keep them open. I should say now, neither this, nor any of the procedure is painful. After you look at the red light for a few seconds, the doctor places a pattern on your eye to follow during the procedure. As you continue watching the light, the operation commences. You see a few blurring moments, but no sensation. It is over in a very short time. No more than a few minutes. If necessary, as it was in my case, the procedure is repeated on the other eye. Then you are done. Painless!
When you sit up things appear blurred. Shortly, it clears. I said it is painless, but not with out a little discomfort. That comes with the feeling you have sand in your eyes. For those of you that have worn contacts, it is also like having a contact inserted improperly. My eyes watered and were sensitive to wind and bright light. On went the furnished sunglasses. I was done. From the time I walked into the office until I departed was approximately 2 hours. My wife and I went to lunch.
As we drove from the office, my eyes felt like grit was under the lids. However, I could see. The worst part was my tearing. My eyes watered and I had to blow my nose, but no pain. At the restaurant things were still a little blurry, but I did fine. You are given some eye numbing drops which you are to use only the first few hours after surgery. I only used them once. That was at the restaurant.
After lunch we went home, I took the valium and napped. When I awoke, I started the antibiotic eye drops and placed a cool compress over my eyes. It was scratchy and not comfortable, but no pain. It was as if you went to the beach and a gust of wind had deposited grains of sand in the eyes.
At bedtime, I was still tearing. My eyes were also swollen. It appeared as if I had been crying for a long time. I placed the eye-shields (provided) over my eyes and fell asleep. Once during the night, I placed more of the artificial tears (provided) in my eyes. I highly recommend you obtain some eye drops, of the same brand, that are thicker and suited for night time use. I slept well.
The Follow up -Day 2
When I woke, my eyes were bloodshot and still gritty, but no pain. There was mucus on my lashes that easily cleared with water. I went to obtain my morning coffee and the newspaper. Although my eyes were still a little teary, I was able to read the paper for the first time in fifteen years unaided with glasses! I admit the eyes tired quickly, but it was a fantastic feeling.
I showered, dressed and drove myself the approximately 75 miles to the clinic for a 9:15am appointment. I could see fine. My eyes did not focus perfectly at a distance and I was light sensitive. However, this did not affect my ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. I was reminded of my new reading vision as my cell phone rang and I saw the number calling me without fumbling around for my reading glasses.
The visit at the clinic was short. It amounted to a simple eye test and a look in the eyes by both Dr. Baker and Dr. Sloan. Within the hour I was out and about. I spent the remainder of the day shopping. It was a bright day, so sunglasses helped reduce the glare. I did fine.
After arriving home about 5pm my eyes were fatigued. I had utilized both the antibiotic drops and artificial tears during the day. They did feel good on the eye. A cool compress placed over my eyelids as I rested on the couch did the trick. In about 30 minutes I was feeling much better.
As the evening wore on, I noticed the scratchiness was easing. Instead of an eye full of sand, it was feeling like only a grain or two. The whites of my eyes were still red, but the swelling I had in the eyelids was greatly reduced. I put in my last antibiotic drops for the evening, placed the shields over my eyes, and to sleep I went.
It was a Saturday. My wife and I had a full day of errands. With the eye drops and sunglasses, it was no problem. There was still redness in the eyes and a scratchy feeling. It was much improved though. I was well on my way to recovery. The distance blurriness I had been experiencing was getting better, as was my sensitivity to bright light. It was an easy day.
I was off to church and for the first time in years did not need my glasses. I was reading unaided! I was almost normal. The redness and irritation was virtually gone. You can tell your brain and eyes are working to coordinate focusing, but it is working. I needed the drops less and only needed the sunglasses when in full sun.
You could not characterize my eyes as perfectly normal, but almost. I can definitely state my recovery is well on its way. My next doctor’s appointment is four days hence. I assume they will just assure the eye is healing properly and no infection is evident. As far as I can tell, I am doing very well.
Things are excellent. My eyes feel normal. My ability to function without glasses is beyond my expectations. The distance vision took a little time to adjust, but it is no problem. I experience no glare while driving after dark. My reading vision is really good except in fine print, low light conditions.This surgery was a great choice for me.I do not believe further entries in this account are necessary. I have been told it may take up to 3 months to experience the full benefit of my CK. From my personal perspective, it is good now and can only get better. In the event problems arise I will update my journal. However, I do not anticipate any.
Eye surgery is nothing to take lightly. It is serious business. Do your research. Be informed as to what to expect and what not to expect. Choose your surgeon wisely. Do not be “A penny wise and a pound foolish.”
As for me, I am delighted both with the results and the professional staff at Slade & Baker. Would I recommend you undertake this option (CK) if you are an appropriate candidate? Only you can answer that question. I can tell you this. As soon as we save the funds for another surgery, my wife is scheduling her CK. I will be her designated driver and also will be glasses free!
It was my desire to give an honest and open evaluation of my experience with CK. I hope you find my diary of interest and use as you seek better vision.
Jim Dozier, J.D.,