"Cataract operation on left eye"

About: Queen's Medical Centre / Ophthalmology

(as the patient),

On the 2nd February 2009 I had a cataract operation. I had a pad over the eye to take off the next day and was given Maxitrol eye drops to use four times a day for 28 days (left eye). My eye watered continually but I thought it was the drops running out. On the 3rd March I finished the eye drops and noticed that both eyes were watering all the time and running down the face. Two days later I went for a check up and asked whether it was normal for eyes to be watering. She put yellow drops in and examined the eyes and said the left eye was healing nicely. She gave me a printed letter dated 5th March with the cataract clinic phone number to ring up for any problems. The next day the left eye was sore and both eyes watering. Over the weekend the eyes got steadily worse and I felt as if I had something in my left eye.

On the 9th March I rang the cataract clinic and explained over the phone my problem. They said that because I had been discharged, I should ring the emergency eye clinic instead. I rang them and was told to attend the next morning. At this point, I felt I should have been able to return to the cataract clinic for an examination. Why had I been given a letter with their phone number for help with problems? The next day I attended the emergency eye clinic. My eyes were examined and they said the left eye looked “gravely” (which is exactly how it felt). They suggested that the preservative in Maxitrol may have caused the problem. I was given single capsules of Prednisolone 0.5% to use in the left eye for up to five days. My eyes were more comfortable whilst using.

On the 18th March my eyes became really sore again. I rang the number for the cataract clinic and I was advised on the phone to go to my GP as they suggested I may have dry eyes. I saw Dr Langridge the same day who gave me Tears Naturale 1 drop in both eyes four times a day. On the 2nd April my eyes were still streaming so I went to see the doctor again. She advised me to ring the emergency eye clinic again. They saw me the same afternoon. I had to have the tear ducts of both eyes washed out. They said I have Blepharitis and it can happen to anybody and that it cannot be cured, only treated. I was told to wash my eye lashes four times a day with baby shampoo and not to use eye drops. I was then referred back to my GP.

On the 24th April there had been no improvement in watering eyes. I went to see the doctor again and she gave me more Tears Naturale. By the 30th April, I thought that the Tears Naturale was upsetting my eyes but that morning I was packed and ready to leave on holiday, but my left eye was bright blood red. I rang the emergency eye telephone line and they agreed to see me. I saw a lady who looked up my notes from previous visits and said that I’m allergic to preservatives in eye drops. I also had a burst blood vessel in my left eye. She gave me a prescription for preservative free eye drops (Hypromellose 0.3%) and told me only to accept those in single dose phials. Hoever, when I collected the prescription from the hospital pharmacy I got four dropper bottles in cartons. When I queried this it was pointed out that it said preservative free on the boxes. I immediately used the drops when I got home only to find on the actual bottle it said, “store in refrigerator after opening” and “discard 7 days after opening”. Fortunately I did have the use of a fridge, but we had booked two whole days out and the weather was warm and sunny. I packed the dropper bottles with e gel ice pack but it didn’t really work. Dr Langridge has now given me a few single dose phials to use when I am out.

All this has been very stressful and worrying. I wasn’t having any problems with my eyes other than I needed a cataract operation. I did get attention from the emergency eye clinic and the GP each time I needed it, but never saw the same person twice. I had to repeat the whole story each time, hence the notes kept! The end of the story sop far!

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