Today I had a procedure done on my right eye – the eye doctor removed a conjunctival cyst that had grown big enough to obscure my vision a bit. It was not a big deal; it took about five minutes, max, and no stitches were necessary. Basically, the doctor snipped the cyst, which looked like a clear bubble, and removed it from my eyeball. Then he cauterized the blood vessels. But in the process, I had to have my eye numbed with drops, and then they put a white drape over my face, with the eye area open, and inserted a speculum in my eye to hold it open. This is where it started to all go wrong.
They didn’t tell me about the drape, or the lights in my eye. I really thought I was going to die for a moment. I thought of prisoners of war, and how they often are subjected to questioning under hot, bright lights. This was like that, probably.
I’m terribly claustrophobic, and I started to panic. The doctor and the nurse both apparently knew this was a typical reaction. They were obviously watching for it. The nurse told me to breath deep and relax, and the doctor told me it was almost over, but I thought I was going to die.
After I came home I surfed the web, looking for evidence that this is something that happens to people. I found nothing. Maybe I am not looking in the right place. But surely I’m not the only person who freaks out during eye surgery. Now I’m wondering what will happen the next time, should I decide to have cataract surgery down the road. If anyone reading this has ever had eye surgery and freaked out, please respond. I’d like to know about your experiences and compare notes.
As a postscript, I have to say the the procedure was successful. I can’t even see any real redness – a little, but nothing major. I can see well, and the eye doesn’t even hurt. The doctor prescribed antibiotic drops for two weeks, but I can see better right now than I’ve been able to see in years. I guess it was worth a little scare.