The last several weeks have been challenging with the ever worsening condition of the vision in my right eye. After finally visiting the right specialist in Grand Rapids, it took a few more weeks for conclusions to be reached and treatment to begin.
The synopsis of what’s going on:
- The retina in my right eye detached more than 8 years ago. It was reattached, a gas bubble was inserted in the eye, and a scleral buckle remains in place around the eye. Because of the gas bubble, a cataract formed and the lens was replaced a few years later.
- Other than a few shadows, the eye has been ok.
- Recently, I noticed a slight blurring in my vision and then numerous reflective spots started appearing.
- Two ophthalmologists made assumptions about my health without any evidence to prove their assumptions and basically wrote off any hope for my vision being restored.
- Desperate, I traveled from the UP of Michigan to Grand Rapids to see a retina specialist I trusted. He was thorough, thoughtful and compassionate. He also treated me as an intelligent person that needed to understand everything about my eye, his tests and hypotheses.
- Ultimately, I have a central retinal vein occlusion related to an autoimmune disorder that I had thought for several years had gone dormant.
- As my vision was only “slightly distorted”, he wanted to wait before trying invasive treatments. He also referred me to a friend and colleague of his that he was certain I would have a positive encounter with in Northern Lower Michigan (about 3 hours closer than Grand Rapids). He explained to me that if my vision worsened, I would likely need injections in my eye – possibly monthly – for up to two years to restore the vision.
- Only about 2 weeks later, my vision worsened considerably. When I first visited the doctor in Grand Rapids, I could read most of line 7 on the chart below. When I visited his colleague in Northern Michigan last week, I could barely read the giant “E” on top.
- My specialist in Grand Rapids was right about several things – including his hypothesis that something was up with my autoimmune disease, and that his colleague in Northern Michigan would be an excellent retina doctor for me. The doctor I saw last week is skilled at his work and gifted in patient-doctor communication.
- As my vision had changed so drastically, he determined it was time to begin treatment. One medicine that he normally uses first (injection) is less invasive and easy for most patients to manage – unfortunately for me, it would require injections every month. So he decided to try instead an intraocular steroid implant which may only need to be repeated every 2 or 3 months (perhaps even longer between treatments if I’m fortunate). He was very cognizant of the distance we have to travel to see him and that winter is fast approaching, so he wanted to try what would help and allow fewer trips (possibly) to see him.
- I found two images – neither is of an actual eye, as I found those much too graphic even as one who had this done. The first image is of the Ozurdex injector. The 2nd image is a drawing of how the implant is injected into the eye (right in the doctor’s office).
- I could see the “stick” in my eye for several days, but now it is not in my vision. My vision has not improved and is not expected to as this will be a long and somewhat unpleasant process.
- Three positives:
- My specialist in Grand Rapids that sought out the cause of my vision loss.
- The wonderful specialist in Northern Lower Michigan that the doctor in Grand Rapids referred me to.
- Treatment has finally begun.
Thanks for your kind words and prayers as I have been battling to find the right doctor, answers, and to begin treatment. This will be a long process before my vision is improved, but at least there is hope.