The Eye of the Beholder

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.

16 thoughts on “The Eye of the Beholder

  1. I wish you all the best. I’ll light a candle to out Saint Mar Audisho in your name. Seriously.

  2. So happy for you. Too bad I didn’t save everything I just wrote and it disappeared but it was that those 2 Canadians skiied to victory despite their visual impairment. As would every one of those Olympians. I just wanted people to know that those Paralympians are as good if not better. For the baron I wanted him to know that despite 3-5% vision, a 16 year old Canadian skier, who had lost audio and was relying on his guide YELLING things to him, like turn right, bumps and I am sure much more, because he had lost audio. As he was plowing down the hill at 108k/hr, He said as he won his bronze, I just trusted my instinct. You are he, hurtling down hills at maddening speeds, you have your Dymphna as your guide. As we laugh with glee at a Canadian 16 year old , kinda trusting to a guide he can’t hear, relying on instinct,winning a bronze medal, he was not supposed to win. To continue with the Canadian story, then there was Brian McGreevy, he was so sick they thought he would not compete. The snow was so horrible, so soft and slushy, he called on 2 guides. Oh a mere 16 km. He won gold. I think he wants to compete in the biathalon, ski and shoot. Geez, now here I sit and wonder at these Paralympics. The athletes are the best of the best. Has anyone seen sledge hockey? I am not a hockey fan but sledge hockey is so great anyone should play it. It should be in every rink in the world. They have picked sticks which propel them down the ice, then they flip them so past to be hockey sticks. They sit on these fantastick sledges created just for them which have most think one blade, but it is 2 millimetres apart. It is a reason for every sporty kid to get involved, throw out the wheelchairs, get down and dirty and active on the ice. You can take your millionaires of any sport and I’ll match you these hockey sledge stars for fight and guts.

  3. There isn’t much out there on that name…a 19th century copy of Syriac ecclesiastical regulations?

    Any other spellings?

  4. Would it help to get a set of high quality sunglasses & wear them when you’re outside? My old mum was told that this would help with her glaucoma. Cue a trip into Cotswolds for a pair of Oakleys …

  5. I was born with floaters! Mum used to put me down for my afternoon sleep, but not being in the least bit tired, I used to amuse myself with focussing on them. If they all join together, I’ll see a black dot, but usually I see something like a bi or tri-celled organism under the microscope. I’ve improved my vision (myopia with astimagtism) with eye exercises, which do work, despite what the Wikipedia article has to say on the subject!

  6. I am going on an eight week schedule now. I joked with my doctor that it seemed to me everyone in the office was getting shots in the left eye and she replied “oh, we only do left eyes on Friday”. Just a little shot humor for you.

    • Oh, I’ll bet you could, Wulf. You would surprise yourself.

      If you ever experience the full-blown condition, you’ll be willing to endure a lot in order to alleviate it. And, like me, you’ll discover that it isn’t as horrible as you thought it would be.

      It’s nasty; I won’t sugar-coat it. But I think it’s less nasty than, say, a colonoscopy. And a small price to pay, considering how effective the treatment has been.

      • Had a colonoscopy a year back- very nasty, but I don’t have to keep going back!

      • I had a flexible cystoscopy not too long ago, that was an interesting way to spend an afternoon, LOL …

        I can guarantee that no matter how much you try to achieve a mind over matter situation, you will pee the bed when they pull that bad boy out …

      • I know someone who had a medical procedure done where they put a laser “gun” up into his entrails via the rear entrance, and burned off some nasties up there, he said it felt like someone had shoved the entire [expletive] sun up his backside. So things could always be worse …

      • Well, having had multiple colonoscopies, an finally, laparoscopic GI surgery last September, I wish you the best luck with your ocular issues, Baron. I’d be hard pressed to say which is more unpleasant. My father had eye issues back in the late 90’s, and was lucky to find an excellent eye surgeon at Duke.

  7. I’ll pass on to you what my eye doctor prescribed to me, “You must only look at nice things”
    All the best.

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