Eyeless in Gaza

Ask for this great Deliverer now, and find him
Eyeless in Gaza, at the mill with slaves,
Himself in bonds under Philistian yoke.

           — John Milton, from “Samson Agonistes”

Well, not really. And thank God I’m not in Gaza, eyeless or otherwise.

I just returned from a visit to the retinal specialist, who — after an hour and a half of dilating my pupils, injections, shining extremely bright lights into my eyeballs, and other unpleasant invasions of my personal space — was able to narrow down the diagnosis of what ails my left eye.

It is one of two conditions, both of which involve the accumulation and leakage of unwanted fluid in the retina:

1.   Central serous choroidopathy
2.   Choroidal neovascularization

The first one is relatively benign. Its causes are not always clear, but it generally resolves itself after a period of time. The second one involves the growth of new “fronds” of blood vessels in the retina, and is one of the major causes of macular degeneration.

The doctor thinks my condition is most likely the first of those two, central serous choroidopathy, which makes me guardedly optimistic. He wants me to postpone any further treatment for several weeks, and then pay him a return visit for another evaluation.

The second possibility — choroidal neovascularization — is nowadays considered treatable, but the treatment involves nasty procedures that I don’t even want to think about.

So, for the time being, I take it easy, and continue to blog with one eye. I went to Rite Aid on the way home and picked up a one-size-fits all (and both eyes) pirate patch for $3. Alas, it’s a piece of crap, and won’t fit under my glasses. Thus, for right now, I’m still working with this annoying piece of cotton padding taped to my face.

Posting will probably remain light for a while, but I hope to return to something closer to my normal level over the next week or so.

It’s hard to tell for certain, but the area of visual distortion in my left eye seems to be becoming more diffuse. Or it may also be that it’s just my imagination, and I’m simply getting used to my current condition, my new “normal”.

They say you can get used to anything.

For those readers who recommended certain supplements and dietary options: Dymphna has taken all of the suggestions in, and adopted most of them. My new regimen has begun.

12 thoughts on “Eyeless in Gaza

  1. If it’s any comfort, and if you’re around your 70s+ everyone in that age group has the beginnings of macular degeneration. Just one of those ageing problems and doesn’t signify eventual blindness except in less fortunate people. My own eye specialist has detected M.D. too but tells me not to worry, just to take a daily Macu-Vision tablet and he’ll keep an eye on it, on my annual checkups – no pun intended!

  2. Good heavens. He has a long way to go before he hits 70+ so I can’t imagine what he’ll be facing then.

    He was a landscape artist, full time, for more than 20 years. That’s many, many days sitting in the blaze of the noonday sun painting away. I think that may have contributed to this, with his extreme farsightedness added to the mix.

    Thanks for your recommendation of a supplement. I haven’t looked it up yet, but I presume it’s some kind of anti-inflammatory base with other things that discourage angiogenesis. Since that is the root of the problem, it may prove helpful in his case also.

    • Quote: That’s many, many days sitting in the blaze of the noonday sun painting away.

      I can relate to that sun factor, it led me to have cataract ops on both eyes when I was in my 40s. In Australia many people have to have cataract ops early due to the harsh sun which you never get in the UK. My eye specialists always advocate wearing strong sunnies even on non-sunny days

  3. To prevent macuclar degeneration, 20 mg of Lutein per day is recommended. The is the supplement par excellence for the condition. It can be purchased in any vitamin or health food store.

      • Googling Luteins I see that it’s recommended to be taken with Macu-Vision. I suppose it depends on the degree of degeneration. I’m due for my annual checkups next month and shall ask my specialist.

  4. Oh dear, Baron and Dymphna, how I feel for you having just been through my own eye troubles, cataract removals, laser treatment and glaucoma, all treatable. I felt like a doofus, making my own eyepatches out of felt and masking tape but it was the only way I could read, family laughed and teased of course!! I feel for those who historically just went blind, and still do in the Third World, without the wonderful advances in modern medicine we have access to. I understand the worries and am praying for you. And due to those marvelous medical advances, I will not be participating in that sham lights off campaign tomorrow, rather I will be lobbying for electricity in the Third World, so that people don’t go blind from burning dung and sticks to keep warm and see in their hovels. I am so very thankful for the inventions we have been able to make to make through the use of energy which helps us to live useful and productive lives.

    • The term ‘eyeless in Gaza’ may be attributable to Milton originally, but I recall the novel of the same name, written by Aldous Huxley away back when. Thinking back, it could be a good plot for one of those BBC contemporary history dramas they do so well.

      • Jon —

        Yes, that’s probably why I’m aware of the quote — I’m sure I saw the title on the shelves of WH Smith, when I used to haunt the Harrogate franchise back in the ’60s.

        Yet I knew it was Milton, so I may also have read “Samson Agonistes” for O-level or A-level. It’s been too long; I can’t remember.

    • Felt eye patches sound like a great idea! I’ll have to rummage through my scraps and see if we have any. He’s been umm…”rolling his own” too, but so far only masking tape folded over itself is thin enough and smooth enough to work. He has to wear it under his glasses while at the keyboard.

      You really went through the mill. And I agree, we are fortunate to have the treatments we do – and they improve all the time. A relative years ago had cataracts removed but they only thing they could give him were “coke-bottle” thick lenses to wear afterwards. The glasses felt very heavy on his face.

      Since we don’t have a TV and don’t listen to radio, where in the world is this cock-a-mamie “turn all the lights off” bit of faux solidarity taking place? Certainly not in NYC…?

      Until the rule of law & an absolute respect for sovereignty comes into being in those countries you describe, there won’t be any power plants built; the profit motive is the engine of prosperity and without laws protecting boundaries and persons only far-sighted tyranny (see China) can make large-scale projects like that happen. Even then the corruption rises to unspeakable levels and everyone accepts it as the price of doing business.

      I don’t know if any outside govt is capable of making an offer they couldn’t refuse to those currently in power. We can only hope that the spread of cheap technology – e.g., cell phones and solar laptops – will also mean the spread of literacy, a vision of what the outside world has, etc. – will drive change from the bottom up.

      However, one has to be careful to attend to the unintended consequences that arise even from beneficent change. We have way too many examples of that all around us.

  5. Known about you for a long time, only recently realized the real importance of what you guys do. Take care. Hope you keep your health nothing stops you guys.

    • dw-

      That’s an intriguing comment…you’ve known about us for a long time but “only recently” realized the importance of GoV??

      If you’re willing to tell us, what in particular accounted for your realization? The Baron works long hours (too many) seven days a week, and has for years now. Whenever someone comes along and says that – more usually in an email – I become curious about their shift in understanding.

      Is it due to the coverage of a particular subject? Is it a specific feature – e.g., the nightly News Feed?

      I’d like to hear from you, as I’m sure our long-time readers would also.

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