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Loving first sight
Feb. 19, 2021
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by Ivan Raconteur

Last week I got my new scleral contact lenses.

This was the latest step in a journey toward better vision that began months ago, and has involved numerous appointments with specialists (who present bills that are pretty special, as well). I’m grateful for the assistance of Dr, Stephen Kaufman at the University of Minnesota. He is a cornea specialist, and he and his team paved the way for what came next.

I’m also fortunate to have worked with Dr. Cheryl Zabrowski, also at the University of Minnesota. While some people may have the attitude that “close is good enough,” Dr. Zabrowski treats every patient as an individual, not just a name on a chart, and she is committed to achieving the best vision possible for each of her patients.

She was able to get me 20/20 vision for the first time in ages.

There was much joy and celebration at the bachelor estate this week. There was also a fair amount of adjustment.

As with any new medical development, I have had to navigate a learning curve.

Unlike “ordinary” contact lenses, scleral lenses are larger, and are inserted with saline solution between the lens and the surface of the eye.

This is important for a person with my condition, but it also poses some unique challenges, particularly since I have limited use of my right hand since suffering a stroke last year. The lack if feeling in my hand limits my dexterity.

After some initial frustration (yes, inserting scleral lenses is frustrating, because one has to do it without spilling the saline), I fashioned a modified insertion device using one of my stainless steel drink straws.

The problem I was having is that I am unable to hold my eyelids open with my right hand, but using my left hand and inserting the lens with my right made it impossible to see what I was doing.

By fabricating an extension, I made the process easier. It is still going to take a lot of practice before I can do it as quickly as the people in the helpful educational videos, but I’m on my way.

I did run into one mysterious setback, however.

After a long day, I was removing my lenses, and one of them got away from me.

With the aid of a flashlight, I searched the desk at which I was sitting, and the surrounding floor to no avail.

Next, I methodically removed each item on my desk as I searched for the missing lens.

Finally, when I was about ready to give up hope, I chased Rylee the cat out of her basket, which was located under my desk.

There, in the epicenter of the basket, under where the cat had been the whole time, was the missing lens.

I can’t imagine how it is possible to drop a lens under a napping cat, but I was delighted to have it back.

I suspect there will be more mysteries and obstacles along my journey to better vision, but for now, things are looking pretty good to me.


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