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.

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Latest Eye Appointment

I went to see Dr. Ruffini yesterday for a checkup.  He is my local ophthalmologist that I see a few times per year or when there is a problem.  I’ve been having difficulty over the last few months with my vision, so I was happy to go to the appointment.  I was interested in seeing what my vision was, after only seeing 20/400 at the glaucoma study (20/200 with the pinholes.)  Sure enough, it was the same yesterday.  The difference between yesterday’s test and the glaucoma study’s test is that I knew the chart yesterday and could recite down to the 20/60 line with my eyes closed.  I could see the big E, but it wasn’t clear as day.  The next line (20/200) is SL.  I couldn’t see it at all.  I asked the nurse for a minute to continue looking at it, hoping it would come in.  It never did, so I asked for the pinhole thingy.  It was like night and day.  As soon as she flipped the pinholes down, I saw the S and L.  Then I got ambitious and tried to read the OPLB line.  I always look for the L in this line since it has straight lines in it.  No luck.  I could barely see any black where the letters were.

The nurse/assistant then put numbing drops in my eyes and took my pressure.  I’m not a fan of them taking my pressure, because they do not take their time getting a reading and are obviously not as skilled as the doctor in reading the results.  She got between 10 and 12 on my right eye (not that that eye matters.  Hell, I’d sell it to the highest bidder if I could – and no, PayPal would NOT be accepted for payment.)  She got eight in my left eye.  That eye hasn’t, pardon the pun, seen eight in quite awhile (since 5 Dec 2008, the day after my endothelial transplant, when my IOP was in the mid-teens due to something being blocked from the surgery.)  It has fluctuated between five and seven at most visits over the last six and a half years since my last trab (glaucoma surgery) in Feb 2003.  She then dilated my eyes.

Dr. Ruffini entered about 10 minutes later, and not a moment too soon, since Eliz and I had finished all the word scrambles from the paper.  I told him of my lousier than normal sight and the double vision I’ve been experiencing.  He had a look with a light that was 3457329845 times brighter than the sun.  He said he could see all the way back to the nerve in my left eye; my cornea was very clear; the cataract had grown slightly, but it wasn’t something that needed to be dealt with near-term.  He also mentioned a slight fold at the center of the endothelia.  He wasn’t sure what might have caused this, since it wasn’t there the last time.  I asked if the low IOP (hypotony) could have caused this and thought that might be it.  Wow, after 44 years of going to ophthalmologists, I actually contributed to the discussion!  He advised me to discuss the wrinkle with both the glaucoma specialist and cornea special at my upcoming appointments with them in October.

I was disappointed  when we left the appointment.  These things are going on in my eye, I still can’t see as well as I did back in March 2008 (before the problems with my cornea started,) and yet there is no solution.  Nothing.  I don’t know why I have such a hard time believing that.  I also don’t know why I’m having such a tough time dealing with it.  I’ve known since I was a little kid that this was my predicament.  Knowing doesn’t make it easier.  As my sight gets worse, I’ve gotten more miserable and I’m too young to be a grumpy old man.