I returned from the retinal specialist’s office a little while ago, having undergone the latest installment of my bimonthly treatments for macular degeneration in my left eye. As you all know, each treatment involves an injection through the sclera into the vitreous humor of the eye.
It’s not a fun process, to say the least. Nevertheless, it’s surprising how much it has become a matter of routine. I drive to the doctor’s office and wait a few minutes. Then the technician checks my eyes and puts drops into both of them. After that I wait a while as they dilate, and then each eye is scanned using a sophisticated electronic device. Another wait, more drops (disinfectant this time), and then a few brief agonizing moments while the needle goes in.
Yes, it blinds me in one eye for a minute or two, and then leaves my vision blurred for a few hours. And tomorrow my eye will be sore, and the next day, too, to a lesser extent.
But I’ve gotten used to it. It’s not really that bad. And rest assured, it beats the heck out of the alternative — full-blown macular degeneration. It’s been a year now, and I’m still euphoric about how much my eye has improved. It will never be quite as good as it was — there is residual scarring — but it’s close. I’m pleased to return to simply being extremely far-sighted. Severe hyperopia is something I’m quite used to.
One of the occasional side-effects of the treatment is a temporary floater in my left eye, which is created when the needle leaves a tiny air bubble behind in the vitreous humor. I’ve got one of those tonight, a dark amoeboid blob about 20° off-center to the south-southwest in my field of vision. It jumps around and twitches as my eye instinctively moves in an attempt to focus on it — just another little entertainment to liven up an otherwise dull evening.
But, hey — at least I get to use both eyes while sitting at the screen! Last spring I didn’t have that privilege; I had to use an eye patch.
There weren’t any effective treatments for macular degeneration as recently as a decade ago. I’m a lucky guy.