Saturday, February 12, 2011

My Very First Collagen Implants

If you read my blog, or have talked to me much at all in the past month, you've probably already heard me whining about my most recent struggles with living above sea-level.

Yep.  It's been tough.

Finally, I was driven to do something semi-drastic. 


Not these.

Image from Google Images: Seibel Vision Surgery
Behold.  The Punctal Plug.

That bad boy is perched on the head of a matchstick (in case you can't tell from the thumbnail image I snatched from the 'net).

Not exactly the first thing to come to someone's mind when they hear the word "implant."

And it goes someplace most people would not aspire to or dream of having an implant.

Like here:
Image from Google Images: Seibel Vision Surgery

It's a bit hard to tell from the above image, but what you're seeing there is that itty bitty plug being pressed down inside the eye's punctum.  (The punctum is that minuscule dot on the inside edge of your lower eye lid.)  Go on and check it out in the mirror.  You know you want to.

And see if you can work the word punctum into at least one conversation this week.

So at this point, dear reader, you are wondering what on earth would possess one to allow such a thing to be jammed inside one's eye?

Behold.  My BFF.  The eye drops.

When I finally broke down and went into a local eye doc for help, he inquired how often I was using said eye drops.  "Frequently."  I told him.  "So, what's the frequency," he asked me, distractedly messing with my chart, "once, twice a day?"  "Um, about every 20 minutes," I told him.  His head jerked up with mouth dropped open and - ta da - we began the journey toward tear duct implants.

But dry eye, right?  Why clog up the tear ducts?  Sounds counterintuitive, I know.  The itty bitty collagen plug actually goes down inside the punctum (the eye's drainage port) and forces excess tears to remain in your eye, rather than being tossed out.  It's forcing my body to be sustainable.  Recycle those tears!  How smart.  And a bit sociably trendy, no?

Now getting anything - even something that fits comfortably on the head of a match stick - jammed into any part of your eye is no fun.  But desperation allows you to do all kinds of things you never, EVER thought you could do.   (Childbirth, for instance).

I won't say it was comfortable.  And I won't say it wasn't just a bit psychologically distressing to have someone coming at your eye with a needle a wee bit thinner - but just as long - as a knitting needle.  And I won't go into how I involuntarily scratched my fingernails against the cold, painted metal of the area you're supposed to rest your chin on while the doctor presses a knitting needle into the corner of your eye.  (Random: we watched Shutter Island the evening after the procedure, and it was uncanny the way that lobotomy tool resembled the plunctal plug insertion tool.  Pretty glad I saw the move afterward.)

But, I will say - all in all - I'm glad to have had the procedure done.  I'm now beginning to entertain high hopes of once again wearing contacts without one eye continually blurring, or me fishing for my BFF to give my eye another nip of the good stuff.

All in all, I hope that the results far outweigh the experience.  And I dearly hope that my next implant experience might just be, if not more rewarding, just a bit more fun. 

But probably not this.


Sarah and the Gentlemen said...

Ooooo. You'll have to let us know if the opposite-approach-plug-up-the-underactive-ducts procedure works for you.

And.... don't most people go for a smaller nose?

Rebekah said...

This was an excellent read! Great voice. I was laughing at points.

Jen Rouse said...

Love how you say they're your very FIRST collagen implants. Maybe your next will be something a little more visible, for all the rest of us to admire :)