This girl who came to us a few months ago completely blind can now see again! Yes, Darla's cataract surgery was a success and her vision is restored. I took that photo of her at lunch on Sunday, where she was giving me the (new) stare-down over what she thought I should be sharing with her. (Share I did.)
It used to be that when I was finished eating and would have a treat or two left for her, I'd put it on a fork, bring it over to her, and say "gentle ... gentle" as I guided it towards her mouth. She would carefully open her mouth and gently take the morsel. I learned on Saturday, as she suddenly leaped up to grab the morsel off the fork, that I need to update the technique.
I went back to Burlington on Friday to pick her up at the eye clinic. I was in the exam room, going over the discharge instructions with the vet tech, Rachel, when the ophthalmologist, Dr. Jamieson, brought Darla down the hall and opened the door. I looked at Darla and called her name. "Darla, honey, it's me!" She looked up and her tail started wagging. I crouched down, and she walked right over to me and pressed her head into my lap. She stood there, tail wagging, leaning into me. I don't know what was going through her head, but my emotions were getting the better of me and my eyes started welling up. I just couldn't believe we were able to give this beautiful girl her eyesight back.
A short while later, Darla and I were in the van and headed back to New Hampshire.
After we returned to the farm and I let her out in the front yard, she went over to the water bucket and started drinking. Blind Sophie came over to check her out. Darla looked down at this long-haired, low-slung Dachshund, cocked her head, and stared at Sophie with this puzzled looked. You could tell she was thinking, "Oh, so that's what you look like! Who knew?"
You may notice Darla is not wearing a cone in the photo. The clinic staff found that Darla completely freaks out when you try and put a cone on her. (We'd never needed to do it before.) She gets so stressed and upset that the doctor decided to leave it off. Fortunately, Darla has not pawed at her eyes or rubbed them, so we have (so far) been able to leave her cone-free.
Darla had a pressure spike in her right eye after the surgery, which is why she's on glaucoma medications as well. Those meds have kept her pressure normal, but she may need to stay on them. I am fortunately able to monitor her eye pressure daily with our Tono-Pen, so we'll know if things start getting out of whack.
We're still getting used to Darla being able to see. The one time she ventured up the stairs when she was blind, she was too terrified to come down them. I had to carry her down. But last night, when I carried blind Widget up the stairs to her room, I heard footsteps coming up behind me. I looked down and there was Darla, happily following me. I thought, "Uh oh, how will she do with the stairs going down?" After putting Widget in her crate, I went back down the stairs, nervously looking over my shoulder. No need to worry: here came Darla, trotting right along behind me.
This morning, when I came upstairs to my office to write this post, Darla came with me. I don't think she was actually following me, however, but the oatmeal cookie I was holding. Satisfied that I had nothing left to share, she retreated down the stairs to her chair.
As I've said before, we don't often get the chance to restore vision, but when we do, it's a life-changer for these wonderful dogs. It's thanks to all of you, because it's your donations that make this kind of miracle possible. On behalf of Darla and the rest of us here, thank you!