Wednesday, September 7, 2011

What I See

I should be in bed by now. I have an appointment with my Retina Specialist tomorrow morning at 8, then a pre-op appointment at the hospital at 10:30. I guess I am a little nervous.

Several years ago, while visiting my son in Atlanta, I noticed a sudden increase in the amount of "floaters" in my right eye. As evening came on, I also noticed "flashes" in the same eye. Knowing these were not normal or good signs, I contacted an eye doctor in Warner Robins the next morning. He saw me later that afternoon, and told me it was nothing to worry about and that I was getting a cataract.

Now, I am no eye specialist, but I knew that wasn't the problem. I immediately called my primary care physician who referred me to an excellent eye specialist in Macon. I had also pulled up my symptoms on the computer while waiting to see the doctor. By the time I had arrived, I knew what I had was a "posterior prolapse of the vitreous humor" in my right eye, so I wasn't at all surprised when the physician confirmed my "diagnosis!"

My eye doctor reassured me and said he would keep an eye on it, and showed me how to use an Amsler Chart. It is not an uncommon condition in those over 50. At first, things did not get any worse, but as time progressed I noticed it was becoming like looking through a piece of celophane. Upon going back for repeated check-ups it was found that I had also developed a peri-retinal membrane which was creeping up the retina. More waiting, more watching.

It has been over a year now since my primary eye physician referred me to the retina specialist. The membrane had not only gotten larger, but had begun to wrinkle. This caused me to have a lot of difficulty seeing out of the right eye. Everything was curvy and distorted. When I looked at anything that was a straight line with my right eye, it was twisted and curved, kind of like looking in a fun house mirror.

Again with the waiting however, as retina surgery is very delicate, and my doctor didn't want to do it until the problem had become so severe it was bothersome in my daily life.

So, now here I am. I am scheduled for the removal of a peri-retinal membrane on my right eye on September 13th. I am a bit nervous, more about the general anesthesia than the eye surgery. The vision in my right eye has become so distorted that even not seeing at all out of it would not be worse than what it is now.

I am sharing all this to make several points:
1. ALWAYS get a second opinion...
2. Get a referral from someone you TRUST
3. Never ignore what seems to be a change in your health whether it is
your eyes or any other part of your body.
4. Trust your instincts.
5. Do the research
6. Get Treatment....left untreated, things ALWAYS get worse.

So, as I go off to the doctor and hospital tomorrow morning, I am hoping this little blog of mine will help someone else get the help they need.

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