We now have a firm date for Ryan’s tarsorrhahpy operation. He will be the first one in the operating room on a date in early August, just a few weeks out from today.
This procedure will stitch both his eyes partially shut — into slits — to give the protection to the cornea that Ryan is unable to achieve on his own. He never closes his eyes. Ever. He doesn’t do complete or consistent (partial) blinks either. This means his natural tears are not washing over his eyes, requiring hourly eye moisturizer. This is a mix of liquids, gels, flushed, washes, and ointments. When they get especially inflamed he must go on drops of steroids and antibiotics. Under Dr. Hinkle’s (a.k.a., the nicest man in the world) care we have taken him as far as he can go without the risk becoming too much.
We had hoped that this tarsorrhaphy procedure might lessen the frequency of the hourly eye care, but this likely isn’t the case. This will remain part of his eye protocol forever, unless he begins closing them on his own in the future. I suppose if Ryan ever does get to this point we could consider reversing the procedure and letting his eyes open fully again. Anyhow, the hope is this operation will offer the added protection to avoid the use of steroids and antibiotic drops.
Here’s a photograph that I found through an internet search of an individual with only the right eye receiving a partial tarsorrhaphy. Again, Ryan will have it done on both eyes.
I’m hoping the person in the photograph is under the effect of a local anesthesia and this is why the face is so asymmetrical. It certainly appears as though the right side is numb and relaxing the facial muscles on that side. It’s going to be tough enough to see Ryan with his eyes in slits.
In many ways, it’s de-humanizing. Although necessary, it doesn’t mean I hate it any less.