Retina Check

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted. We’ve had a bunch of things going on that took (and still take) priority. Friday afternoon I visited Dr. Garg for an appointment. He is my retina doc. I was hopeful that Dr. Garg would spot something that could be corrected. My vision has been mired around 20/400 for the last eight months or so.

Unfortunately, Dr. Garg didn’t notice anything new. When I asked him his opinion on why my vision has deteriorated he told me that the multiple issues of congenital glaucoma, cornea and cataract surgeries, and a retina that was “pooping out” (his words,) were the reasons. He explained that while he didn’t notice any problems with my retina he said that age and everything going on with my eye causes it to “wear out.” He said that, like a favorite shirt that you wear often, each time you wear it and then wash it, it starts to wear out over time. He told me to take zinc and extra vitamin C (along with my current multivitamin) to keep the cells in the retina alive and healthy for as long as possible.

I was obviously disappointed that he didn’t find something that could be corrected which would then give me improved visual acuity. On the bright side, if there is one, I will cut back on all the specialist appointments to twice per year for each. If there is a problem, I’ll first try my local ophthalmologist.

As I continue to look for things to help me see stuff I can’t, I’ve found an app for my iPhone that is a great magnifier. It is the only app I’ve ever paid for and bought it after trying most if not all of the free magnifier apps. It is Magnifier – Capture the Micro World! by Game Lingo. I tried it the other day when I was home alone and wanted to know the serving size and calorie count of walnuts. I was very excited when I was able to use my iPhone rather than take the bag into my office and put it under my reading machine. I’ve been hoping for a good app for the iPhone because I just didn’t want to carry something else in my pocket. I’ve been looking for a good hand-held magnifier, whether it be a regular magnifying glass or a digital device like the Pebble from Enhanced Vision, for the last six months or so. Once I use the app more, I’ll post a more in-depth review.

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It’s Not Cuckoo Bananas, But It’s Not Good Either

It has been a busy week, so I haven’t had a chance, until now, to post an update on last Fridays appointment with Dr. Garg, the retina specialist.  Unlike two weeks ago when I went to the glaucoma doc, this appointment was lacking most of the nonsense.  By the end of the appointment, I wasn’t any closer to an answer than I was since late April.

The appointment started with the typical questions from a tech about how my vision was doing, if I was experiencing any pain or discomfort, etc.  Then it was time to read the chart with my left eye.  The E was not a problem.  The next line, C and D, I could see, but if I didn’t remember it I might have said G instead of C.  The next line, which I now know is DHN, I couldn’t see.  With the pinholes, I was able to make out the H.

She moved on to my right eye.  Good news there, I can still tell if a light is off or on if it is a foot or less away from my eye…  Yippee.  She then put, or should I say shot, drops into both eyes.  God only knows how many, but it was sure more than one of each.  One is to numb the eye to get IOP (pressure) readings, while the other was to dilate my eye.  While she was doing this, she left the chart on, so I continued to try to read it.  She then used a hand-held device to get the IOP (Dr. Ayres calls this device a glorified random number generator.)  IOP was nine in the left and mid to upper 20s in the right.  The previous week at my glaucoma appointment, it was eight in the left and 13 in the right using the standard device (the one that you put your chin in, press your head against the bar, and look at the blue light.)

She waited a minute or two and then tried to get another number on the right eye.  Meanwhile, I’m still trying to read the 20/100 line on the chart.  She then said I was cheating by continuing to attempt to read the line.  Eliz didn’t like what she said and asked how I was cheating if I was just trying to read the chart.  While the lady answered Eliz, I had my hand in front of my eye, trying to simulate the pinholes while still trying to read the line.  Hey, if you don’t want me to keep trying, shut the effing thing off!  As we got up to move to the next exam room, I glanced behind the chair where the chart is bounced off of a mirror and saw that the line was DHN.  Now maybe that was cheating.  How would that help me though?  It’s not like I could get a drivers license for reading the 20/100 line.

In the next room, Dr. Garg came in and asked some questions and then had a look.  He then told me that the only thing left to try were injections in the eye.  Before we try that though, he wanted to get another OCT scan to make sure the risk/reward was worth the attempt (actually, attempts, as it would take several injections over the course of a few months for it to work.)

Tom gave me the OCT scan a few minutes later, then we headed to another exam room.  After a minute or two, Dr. Garg came in and had a look at the scan.  He said that it wouldn’t be worth trying the injections as there was only a 15% chance of them helping me see better.  At that point, I said, “Okay, so there isn’t really anything you can do for me?”  “That’s right,” he replied.  He told me I could come back in five months (why?,) or sooner if I was having any other problems.  He did tell me to make sure that I see him, Dr. Ayres, Dr. Pro, or Dr. Ruffini frequently to get IOP readings.  Seems like ‘roids that I take 2x per day in the left eye could cause the pressure to rise.  Maybe it’s time to see Dr. House, Dr. Riviera, or Oscar Goldman…

So while my vision is not cuckoo bananas (a technical term Dr. Garg used at my last appointment in June,) it’s not good either.  So what do I do now?  Some days, my vision is better than others.  Today, for example, it sucked big time (I suppose that is a technical term I picked up somewhere along the way.)  Maybe I’ll see a little better tomorrow.  I’m not holding my breathe (but would if it would help…)

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Play Ball!

For the first time in a very long time, I got a chance to hit in a softball game.  I’ve been looking forward to it since the middle of April, after my surgery.  A few weeks ago, when my vision was heading in the wrong direction, I didn’t think I’d even try.  After my visit to Dr. Garg a couple of days ago and starting the drop regimen, my vision seemed to improve a little, so I was back in.

After some stretching (okay, very little stretching on the parents’ part,) we grabbed a ball and warmed up.  We threw the ball around like we do here: Jane to Eliz, then Eliz flips me the ball to me (I like to pretend I’m the second baseman and I’m turning a double play,) then I “fire” it to Jane.  Jane will sometimes just give me grounders that I field (without a glove, I don’t want someone to think I can actually play and throw me the ball) and throw to her.  After about 10 minutes of that the girls took the field and the parents went to the bench.

The batting order was determined by who went over and grabbed a bat first.  I hit fourth.  We went through the order all at once.  After three outs though, if there were any runners on base, they came in and the next batter started a “new inning.”  Wasn’t too different than t-ball for Jane about eight years ago.  Two of the first three parents struck out, while the other grounded out.  I felt no pressure stepping into the batters box, since I wasn’t going to be the first one to strike out.  I so wanted to make contact.  First pitch was a ball high.  Second one was over the inside part of the plate, strike one.  Third pitch was in the exact same spot, strike two.  The fourth pitch bounced on the front of the plate, ball two.  I probably saw that one the best and had the bounce been higher, I probably could have hit it — like in mush ball.  The fifth pitch looked good, but I swung and missed, strike three.  There were at least six strikeouts on our team, including Jane’s K of Eliz.

I noticed when I was batting that I couldn’t see as well if I looked straight at the pitcher, I had to glance toward first base to see the ball better.  That concerned me, because that is what seemed to be going on over the last couple of weeks.  My central vision wasn’t good.  I went out with Eliz to stand in rightfield.  As we were talking, I told her my vision wasn’t right.  Since I started the drops, I had noticed an improvement.  I even commented to Eliz on the ride to school that I’m glad I took the eye drop just before we left home and that I was seeing pretty well as I watched the cars on the road in front of us.  How could my vision have changed so quickly?  Was it the running around while we were throwing the ball around?  Was it bright sun?  I don’t know what the answer is, but my vision seems like it has gone back to how it was before I went to Dr. Garg on Tuesday.  Once I finish with this entry, I will investigate macular edema a little further.

After two more drops today, my vision is bad.  I had trouble reading most of the graphics on TV tonight and the text on the computer is fuzzy.  Fortunately, I have an appointment tomorrow with Dr. Ayres, the surgeon and cornea specialist.  Maybe he’ll have an idea about the macular edema and the quick change in my vision.  Most likely, I’ll have to wait until I go back to Dr. Garg on 15 June.  It’s funny, I think if I had hit the ball, I don’t think I would have noticed or been bothered by the decrease in vision.  I’m already looking forward to next years game…

Couple other short items…  I spoke to Dr. Rist, my gp, today.  She was calling to give me the results from a blood test I had yesterday after my appointment with her.  They were all very good and well within the normal range.  They were dramatically better than a year ago.  My blood pressure yesterday was also pretty good, 104/68.  All in all, the 1500 calories per day has been a good thing.  I will be increasing my caloric intake to about 1700 next week, since I’m within a few pounds of my goal.  The doctor calculated my metabolism and came up with that number.  I asked the doctor if the results were back from the throat swab she had done yesterday (I’ve had a sore throat since early last week, along with chills the first day or two,) but they haven’t as of today.  She prescribed Amoxicillin yesterday since she had noticed some things in my throat.

Also, we’ve been getting more calls to our design company (Digital Graphics Design) as of late.  I had to cancel a meeting with a prospective client earlier in the week since I wasn’t feeling well.  Today we got a call from a professional looking for a small website.  I am going to attempt this one on my own.  Let’s see how that goes.  When I took the call in the morning, I was seeing okay and was confident I could do it.  Now I’m not so sure.

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