Latest on My Eyes

For the last several days, I was thinking about what I was going to write for this blog entry. My eyes weren’t going to be part of the post. One year ago today I started paying attention to what and how much I was eating. Through mid-summer, I lost about 80 pounds. I’ve been in maintenance mode since then, eating about 1800 calories a day. I will create a post dedicated to how I did it and a spreadsheet to track your daily caloric intake. For now, just know that this scale was instrumental in my weight loss. It’s $25 and you get free shipping.

The thoughts on my post changed once I went to see my retina specialist, Dr. Garg. I figured in the last couple of days, there might be a conflict on what to write about because of my appointment, but only if there was anything new with my left eye (the one that sees more than light.) Sure, I’ve noticed my vision getting worse over the past months. It’s been brutally frustrating, but when we left for my appointment I thought I’d get a, “Everything looks okay, I don’t know why you’re having these new troubles…” Today, Dr. Garg noticed three things that are most likely causing the decrease in my vison and only one of them has to do with my retina.

It seems that the only issue with my retina is from folds that developed from my pressure being low for a long period of time following a trabeculectomy (glaucoma surgery) back in 2003. Dr. Garg told me that even though my pressure has been in the “normal” range (for me) over the last five years, the folds will never go away (just like you can never get a piece of paper completely smooth again after it’s been folded.) This will slowly take my vision. Dr. Garg said if that were my only eye issue, it really wouldn’t be too big a deal. The other issues Dr. Garg saw today were both cornea related. One is corneal edema, or swelling of the cornea. The other issue has to do with the transplant I had two years ago. He said there was some cloudiness behind the new (to me, 69 years old to the original owner) endothelia. Dr. Garg stated he thought that happens in about 25% of transplants. I’ll know more when I visit my cornea specialist in about 10 days.

When we left the appointment, I said to Eliz that at least there was something there and I wasn’t imaging it. I was somewhat happy. It seems that the cornea issues can be handled with meds and a “procedure” (which makes me think of City Slickers – “You’ll have surgery, but call it a procedure…”) After we returned home and I thought about it, I realized that for the first time in my life, I can’t keep my vision from getting worse. From the time I was a young boy, I was always told ‘there’s no way to improve your vision, we’re just hoping to maintain it.’ Of course, I had hopes and dreams over the years that something would come along… Now, my vision can’t even be maintained. I hope it’s not a slippery slope.

This post is sponsored by the EatSmart Precision Pro Multifunction Digital Kitchen Scale. It has an extra large LCD readout (which means that I can see it when I’ve got my reading glasses on) and an 11 pound capacity. I’ve used this product since last December to lose weight. I weigh everything in grams, because, to me, it is easier using a whole number. If you want to drop some weight, this is a tool that will certainly help you.

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Everything Looks Fine…

I’ve been waiting for this appointment with my cornea specialist for weeks.  I have been having problems with my left eye since the middle of summer and both my local ophthalmologist and my glaucoma specialist noticed “folds” in my cornea.  Both thought that was the reason for my visual acuity dropping from 20/200 to 20/400 in my “good” eye.  My right eye has bothered me for the last day or two, so I wanted to have Dr. Ayers take a look there too.

I get called back and the “nurse” (she is more than a helper, but I doubt she is a nurse — please correct me if I’m wrong) puts up the eye chart.  I see the big E (20/400,) but not the SL (20/200.)  She drops the pinhole thingy over my eye and after some searching for the perfect pinhole, I see the SL line.  The OPLB line looks like some black blobs and I can’t make any of the letters out.  The “nurse” says, “Oh, that’s not so bad.  It’s only one line less.”  Really?  So if you are driving down the street, you don’t think seeing a sign with letters about 12 inches tall would be much easier to see than the sign with letters about six inches tall?  I’ve wasted a ton of money on signage then if it’s not that different.

After waiting an unusually long time to see Dr. Ayers (a total of about an hour fifteen minutes,) he finally came into the room.  We exchanged pleasantries and then discussed my eyes.  I told him about my left eye and not seeing as good as I had been and I am now having greater difficulty reading on the computer.  As I put my head into the applanation tonometer (the machine with the blue light on it,) I mention that my right eye is bothering me.  He took a look at the right eye and mentioned things like corneal edema, bullae, and some other things to the “nurse” who was writing everything in my chart.  I kind of knew that I had some bullae (small, fluid-filled blisters ,) because I’ve had sinusitis and been on antibiotics for the past two weeks.  (This is the third time I’ve had sinusitis in the last four months, could it be the mold at the store?)  The problem with the bullae now though is that when they pop, the pain isn’t going away and any kind of light brings additional pain.  I thought I might have an infection in the eye.  Doc said no and to use this stuff called Muro 128, which is basically a kicked up saline solution.  It also comes in a gel that I usually use.  I suppose I could also go to the kitchen and throw some salt in my eye…

As he checked out my left eye, he noticed the “folds” straight away.  He then said the “folds” are Haab Striae and I’ve had them for a long time.  He then (tried to) show me the sketches he’s done of my eye at every visit.  He realized I couldn’t see it and told me each one has them (the striae) there.  He said my eye looks good.  My IOP was eight in the left, 16 in the right.  Wow, so everything is good!  I am so relieved.  But wait, I can’t see as well.  There’s got to be something going on.  I do have a cataract in there, but the doc says he doesn’t think it is time to remove it.  Besides, by taking that out, it may wreck the endothelia that was transplanted in December.  Dr. Ayers says, “But we could just do another one.”  He said I might be able to 20/70 or 20/80!  Of course he said I’d get to 20/100 by doing the endothelial transplant.  I guess I’ve got to wait more than 42 weeks after the surgery to get there.  He doesn’t think the cataract is the problem though.  Dr. Ayers then adds, “Whatever it is, it’s not an easy fix.”  House!  HOUSE!  Where the hell is that guy…  Oh, he’s not real?  I thought that show was one of those reality shows.

Speaking to my dad about the appointment last night, he said, “What are they gonna tell you?  They can’t fix it, it is the way it is.”  I should have listened to him.  I’d have saved a few hours and the copay.  Not too bad for a guy that only spent two weeks in high school.

I’d like to thank Ken for transporting me to my appointment.  Since Ginny and Scott aren’t with us at the store, we don’t have coverage for Eliz and I both to leave store.  Between the mold, the economy, and my vision, it might be time to get into something else.

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