Simon Pearson - minor9th.com

Archive of posts tagged with Life


LASEK diary: one year on

April 9, 2013

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This is the last in a series of posts describing my personal experience of having laser eye surgery in February 2012. To start at the beginning, go back to the first post in the series.

Fourteen months after my LASEK surgery, I have mostly forgotten about it. Which is to say, my vision is at least as good as it was before the surgery (with glasses). It’s a great outcome – the one I’d hoped for but feared might not happen.

My last contact with the clinic at Moorfields was back in November for my 6-month check-up. They did a sight test and I could actually read slightly more of the chart than I had been able to with my glasses on previously. This is a major result for me, especially as my eyesight with contact lenses was never as good as with glasses.

If I had to sum up my experience in a tweet, I’d say this: the procedure is quick and totally painless, it look much longer than I thought to heal (acceptable detailed eyesight took about 3 months) but LASEK has been brilliant for me.


The Development Section

March 28, 2013

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Thanks to my parents who relented and gave in to my pleadings for piano lessons when I was six, I became quite familiar with Sonata form. Learning classical piano means playing a lot of sonatas. In Sonata form, the development section starts in the same key as the exposition (the first section), and uses the same themes (or subjects), but breaks them down and modulates them to different and sometimes surprising keys.

I rather like this description of Sonata form by Peter Madsen which also includes some examples in pop music:

“As you’ll remember, sonata form basically looks like this:

Exposition – Exposition – Development – Recapitulation

Or, using letters:

(A B C) – (A B C) – (OMG!!) – (A B C ish)”

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I’m leaving BERG today, a place where the OMG!! development frequently happens, weaving together the themes and interests of the people in the room to make truly thought-provoking work.

During my two years in the studio I’ve shepherded a myriad of projects borne out of great minds, from web prototypes for BBC, to AR toys that communicate with each other, a comic book with an invisible ink subplot, always-on video connections to other places, projection technology combinations which turn any surface into an interface and, of course, a printer that creates personalised newspapers and prints its own face. And much more secret stuff besides.

To say I’ve learned a lot from BERG would be a gross understatement; working with some of the most creative and inquiring minds in the world has been a privilege (and at times a challenge). It’s demanded a form of project management that’s incredibly light touch during the research phase, or what BERG calls ‘material exploration’, and very hands-on during the delivery (often using new or emerging technology or processes). I’ve learned to appreciate what it means to really research the meaning of something in depth.

It’s a very satisfying place to work. It doesn’t leave my brain with many spare cycles of an evening.

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Eleven years ago whilst studying my undergraduate degree I wrote this:


[Bells, 2002, performed by me and Catherine Lee, Recording by Ryan Searle]

Written as a homage to the Guildford Cathedral bells that I lived directly beneath, this piece was written before I’d listened to any Steve Reich or appreciated the depth and scale of minimalism and its context in the massive diversity explosion in twentieth century music. It is what it is, because deadlines were short and composition was worth 10 credits per year, out of 120. But I remember ideas would come regularly and with force and I didn’t get to let them all out.

A year or so later I wrote this:


[To Scale, 2003, Performed by members from Sax Collective, plus Erica Sprigge]

I have an itch to start writing music again, possibly since joining the Pink Singers last year. I need to see what happens when I put pen to paper again, now I’ve had a few more years of life and listening experience, plus the time to create something more substantial.

So I’m going to do that a bit more. And watch this space for evidence of that, because one of the things that Matt Jones taught me was that chatting is lying – and he’s right. It’s better [and harder and therefore more valuable] to make something than hypothesise about it.

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I’m also available for contract project wrangling on a part-time basis too. If you have any projects lined up – let me know or keep me in mind! I’ll be working for some/most of my week with the mighty FutureLearn team for a few months starting in early April, helping build the future of education.


LASEK diary: three and a bit months in

May 12, 2012

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This is the twelfth in a series of posts describing my personal experience of having laser eye surgery in February 2012. To start at the beginning, go back to the first post in the series.

It’s now three months post surgery and I was rather hoping that the last 10% of my eyesight would come into crisp focus, but it’s still not quite as good as it was before with glasses. I had my three-month follow up this week and my left eye is now +1.25 and my right eye is +1.00 (I was previously -7 in both). It means my distance vision is OK but my close-up vision is still a little bit poor (especially in my left eye).

I’ve been prescribed a cream and some drops which may well stimulate my eyes to completely heal, but it may take another six months or so according to the surgeon. For LASEK patients with severe myopia pre-op, it’s normal for the surgery to slightly overcorrect the problem as when the eyes settle the effect is to become more short sighted, apparently, so hopefully I’ll come back in to 0 or nearabouts in both eyes.

I’m not really having any problems apart from sometimes using my computer at night when my eyes are tired. Driving and normal day-to-day life is totally fine.

Will update again in a few months.


LASEK diary: two months in

March 31, 2012

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This is the eleventh in a series of posts describing my personal experience of having laser eye surgery in February 2012. To start at the beginning, go back to the first post in the series.

It’s now eight weeks after my LASEK surgery and I can happily report things improved a lot since the last post. Around three weeks after surgery, my right eye became pretty clear, although my left eye was still experiencing some double vision. That is still ever so slightly true, but my overall vision is now probably about 90% of what it was with glasses before the procedure. That is to say: I am no longer struggling to see things at all, thankfully.  They may well continue to get a little better over the next few months.

I now regularly forget that I’ve had the procedure (apart from when I’m tired and think I need to take my contact lenses out, only to remember they aren’t in!). I’ve experienced absolutely no dry eye (but sometimes I put drops in late in the evening if I’ve had a long day). It’s great now that they have settled down enough for me to use my computer at full resolution again and I’ve started taking / editing pictures with my SLR again.

There’s one more check-up in late April at the three month point, but then I’m done. All in all I’d recommend the procedure. Aside from a few weeks of frustration whilst I was healing, I think it’s been a total success. If I were to go through it again, I’d have it done in a break between jobs to have a proper four week break to recover.


LASEK diary: three weeks in

March 11, 2012

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This is the tenth in a series of posts describing my personal experience of having laser eye surgery in February 2012. To start at the beginning, go back to the first post in the series.

Thursday 23rd February: at the beginning of this week I decided to take it as easy as I possibly could. I I was kindly allowed to take some extra holiday at short notice so worked half days this week in order to properly rest my eyes from the computer, I stopped cycling and running in order to give my body a chance to heal, and have been eating super-healthy and no boozing.

It seems to have paid off – suddenly my right eye is pretty clear, overnight. My left eye still has double vision but suddenly I’m able to read things close up much more easily, which is great.

I’m still finding that my eyesight is best in the morning or just after eye drops, but at this point I’d be confident enough to drive a short distance in the day time. By evening my night vision is still a bit rough and I’m getting flare and ghosting (only from the left eye now) around lights.

So – three weeks in, and getting there. Thankfully the eye drop regime has now dropped to just FML (like the hashtag) every four hours, which I have to take until six weeks have passed.


LASEK diary: two weeks in

March 3, 2012

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This is the ninth in a series of posts describing my personal experience of having laser eye surgery in February 2012. To start at the beginning, go back to the first post in the series.

Two full weeks in after surgery and things have improved a tiny bit this week, but I’m still getting headaches using a computer for long periods of time (which my job requires, unfortunately) and going back to my usual routine of cycling to work, doing a couple of runs per week and working full days doesn’t seem to have done me any favours.

I’m keeping going with the dexamethasone drops every other hour, and refresh at least once an hour. I suspect that the dexamethasone is making my skin more sensitive and scratchy than normal, which is odd, but these things happen.

Both eyes are still a bit blurry, and though eye drops bring some comfort and clarity it’s pretty short lived. If my eyes stay at this level I’ll be disappointed in the outcome.

I know I need to be patient and that this might take up to three months to be back to similar pre-op vision.


LASEK diary: day 10

February 27, 2012

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This is the eighth in a series of posts describing my personal experience of having laser eye surgery in February 2012. To start at the beginning, go back to the first post in the series.

Monday 13th February: went back to work for the first time today, which I was nervous about. Yesterday I went along to rehearse with a choir I’m hoping to join and sight reading music was a challenge – my eyes got very tired very quickly and went from blurry to blurrier.

Unfortunately something similar happened at work. I need to use a screen for most of the day, so I battled through with my text size bumped up significantly (much to the amusement of my colleagues who could see every email I was writing from a distance of approximately five miles) but still my close up vision was quite doubled, although distance vision was OK. Determined to get back to my normal routine, I struggled on, cycling to and from work and going for a run (which my legs were pretty happy about after 10 days off) but by late evening I could barely see the television and my eyes were strained and I had a headache. This was the first time since the surgery that I’ve had any real pain. My vision at the end of the day was noticably worse than at the start of the day so I tried to spend the evening resting as much as possible.


LASEK diary: day 7

February 25, 2012

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This is the seventh in a series of posts describing my personal experience of having laser eye surgery in February 2012. To start at the beginning, go back to the first post in the series.

Today I went for my post-op checkup back at Moorfields. I was able to get myself there fine, although the eyesight was a bit variable. I had struggled to find chickpeas in the supermarket the previous day so was feeling a bit flat. It was encouraging to be told that my eyes were healing normally by the optician, and that I was ready to have the contact lens bandage removed from my eyes – this was done with a pair of special tweezers and didn’t hurt at all. Following this I had some small plugs fitted to my tear ducts to help keep my eyes moist during the healing process.

I then saw the man who did the procedure itself, along with two trainees who all had a good look at my eyes, and told me to be patient as the recovery can take a long time with LASEK, especially for patients who previously had a high prescription. They offered to fit me with a temporary contact lens to help me get back to work but I decided  to go without.

 


LASEK diary: day 6

February 22, 2012

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This is the sixth in a series of posts describing my personal experience of having laser eye surgery in February 2012. To start at the beginning, go back to the first post in the series.

Six days in – Wednesday 8th February. Today my sight has deteriorated a bit. After some delight yesterday at being able to use my iPhone close up without having to bump the text size up, that has become difficult again, and distance vision has deteriorated.

Apparently vision is quite variable (and mostly quite poor) to begin with as the epithelium, the surface layer of cells on the cornea, begins to heal. The damaged cells need to be replaced, which can take a month or more. I’m still a long way from having vision good enough to work and I certainly wouldn’t go driving.

Today’s medication routine is still…

  • anti-inflammatory every other hour
  • refresh every other hour (alternately)
  • anti-biotic four times a day
  • vitamin c (500g twice a day)

No painkillers, though.

Getting a bit bored of listening to French podcasts now.


LASEK diary: day 3

February 22, 2012

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This is the fifth in a series of posts describing my personal experience of having laser eye surgery in February 2012. To start at the beginning, go back to the first post in the series.

I got up at about 8:30am after another fine night’s sleep, and am rejoicing as I am now down to one set of drops per hour (instead of one set every half hour or fifteen minutes as it has been). Washed my hair this morning using comedy goggles, which snapped mid-way through causing a sort of awful shampoo-in-eye-post-op-first-world-problem crisis.

Eyes were much more comfortable today – no noticable scratchiness at all – but sight is still blurry. When squinting it’s possible to read the small digital clock on the oven from a distance of about 2m. Before the procedure I would have needed to be about 5-10cm from the clock to tell the time, so this is still quite exciting. Using my phone or computer is very difficult though.





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