Optical Illusion

I had a consult with a plastic surgeon. More specifically, he is a oculoplastics specialist. The reason I wanted to see him was to find out if there is any way I can get my “winking eye” to look more normal again.

He’s a kind and soft spoken but straight forward personality. He first asked me, “what are you hoping to accomplish here?”.

“Really I would like to make my right eye look more like my left again.”

We went on to talk about my history with Diabetic Retinopathy, my four surgeries, several laser treatments, every eight week injections, and the fact that my right eyeball has shrunk, etc.

Then he took a good long look at my face and eyes, really studying things. He used a tool to take measurements and comparisons  between my two eyes. He had me follow his finger with my eyes.

“It’s really all just an optical illusion.” He said as he reached for a blank piece of paper and pen.

He drew diagrams as he explained to me what’s going on with my eye and what my options are.2016-04-21 10.32.11

My first option would be to have a lid lift, but I don’t really qualify because I don’t have any drooping of my eyelid. The perceived droopiness is because my eye has sunken into it’s socket due to fat loss around the eye from inflammation caused from my surgeries. Apparently fat cells are very sensitive to inflammation and get destroyed by it. So my eyelid looks droopy but is actually working just fine.

The second thing he explained to me was that although my eyeball has shrunk, it really hasn’t shrunk too terribly much. What is making my eyeball look smaller and my eyelids look like they are droopy is that my eyeball has sunken farther back into the socket. It is set 2-3 millimeters farther back then my left eye. This was probably caused by the fat loss, and the trauma of all the surgeries I’ve had (all the pushing, pressure, etc. during surgeries) . He said he could do things to bring my eye forward but it would be a very invasive surgery and involve some reforming of my socket and cheek bones.

The third thing he covered was that I have a slight lazy eye due to my vision loss. A lazy eye is when the muscles weaken (in my case due to vision loss) and the eyeball drifts to looking outward, causing it too appear as if each eye is looking in a different direction. He said he could fix it, but my scleral buckle would complicate the surgery because it lays right over some muscles he would need to work on.

He said all of this was probably not noticeable to anyone. “In fact, you look just fine.”

“My family and friends say they don’t really notice anything with my eye at all. They think it looks pretty close to the way it always has.  But I notice it. It looks super obvious to me”

He went on to explain that he could do an ultrasound and CT scan to see if there is anything more he can learn, but in reality my issues aren’t even close to serious and I would be better off waiting and seeing if they worsen before I do anything at all.

In other words, it’s not worth it to do anything.

“You look good. I’m sure nobody notices it as much as you do.” He went on to suggest I look on the internet for makeup tricks that can make the eye look bigger, more open.2016-04-21 10.30.56

I completely understand where he’s coming from. I’m sure my insecurities cause me to be much more self-conscious than I should.

But when I look in the mirror or see current pictures of myself, I just can’t understand why nobody else see’s how massively different my right eye is from my left.

In the end I felt both better and a bit disappointed. I was reassured that I really don’t look bad, but nothing will be improved upon either.

Every time I see my own face now I think I look like the kid from The Oblongs, Milo.


One thought on “Optical Illusion”

  1. Wow who would have thunk it? That is a Hoosier expression meaning palm on forehead. I have not had Diabetic Retinopathy or the laser, but now I understand why that happens sometimes.

    I referred your article to the TUDiabetes blog page for the week of April 18, 2016.


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