Doctor, My Eyes!

Category: Personal

Hi All! Today I’m taking a break from my usual job as Translator for the Technology Impaired, to share an “eye opening” story with my AskBob readers. If you’ve noticed I haven’t been publishing as regularly as usual lately, read on to see the reason for that. I think you’ll be glad you did...

I Can See Clearly Now, Almost

Since my teen years I’ve needed fairly strong corrective lenses. And on top of that, I have very sensitive eyes. Due to some allergies and chemical sensitivities, my eyes are often red and irritated. I’ve always had a nagging fear of going blind. And something that happened recently reinforced that feeling.

With apologies to Jackson Browne and Johhny Nash, let me tell you what’s been going on with my eyes. About six weeks ago, I noticed that the vision in my LEFT eye was somewhat blurry, and the field of vision seemed a bit darker than the other eye. I was having trouble reading from my computer screen. Not good, if you spend a lot of time in the digital world.

I’ve had a wrinkle or “pucker” in the retina of my RIGHT eye for several years, which causes some wavy distortion. Eye doctors call it an “epiretinal membrane”, which apparently can happen if you breathe air. I’ve read that being near-sighted and using a computer for many years can contribute, but it’s something that commonly happens as one ages.

Eye test chart

My brain had learned to mostly ignore the problem with my right eye, and rely on the good vision in the left. But with the suddenly diminished vision in the left eye, words on paper or the screen became a jumble. So I went to my regular eye doctor.

“Doctor, my eyes! Tell me what is wrong. Was I unwise to leave them open for so long?” He did some scans of my eye. Based on those results, he said it looked like I was developing a problem with the retina in the left eye, and advised me to see a retina specialist. I ended up seeing three retina specialists, each advising me to go forward in different directions. One doctor said I had minor cataracts in both eyes, which would need surgical repair prior to the two recommended retina surgeries. Four eye surgeries, yikes! Another doctor advised going ahead with retina surgery on the left eye ASAP, and considering the other issues down the road. Yeah, let’s do that.

So on Tuesday this week, I had surgery to perform an “epiretinal membrane peel” in the left eye. The procedure took only 15-20 minutes under mild anesthesia, and was painless. The surgery went fine. I went back to the doc the next day to have the bandage removed, and was surprised that I couldn't see anything but a huge blur in my left eye. I was told that's because there is an air bubble placed inside the eye, which helps it heal. The bubble is getting smaller each day, and should be gone in a week or so. I’m fortunate that I had to remain face-down for just one day. Some eye surgeries require you to do so for a week or longer!

My vision will slowly improve over the next couple weeks, but I can already tell that it will be an improvement over what it was. Eye surgery seems miraculous to me. I didn’t know beforehand how the surgery would be done. Would it involve a scalpel? A laser? Turns out neither of those was used. If you’re curious, watch this video of how my type of retina surgery was done. I’m just glad I watched that AFTER my procedure.

Dog Eye test

One side benefit of this surgery is that in order to repair the retina, a vitrectomy (removal of the fluid inside the eye) is done. If you have any “floaters” in your eye (which I did) they will be eliminated. Floaters can be annoying, but can also cause problems with vision. So I’m doubly glad I had this done. My doctor isn’t sure if surgery on the right eye will be beneficial, because I’ve had that retina issue for 10+ years. But I might want to do it anyway, to get rid of the floaters there.

Why Do I Share This Story?

First of all, I think it’s an interesting story, and a cautionary tale as well. And I got to throw in two pop culture references and a few visual puns on the sly. Eye problems, including retina issues and age-related macular degeneration (AMD) can sneak up on you, especially when you’ve circled the Sun a goodly number of times. In some cases, you’ll notice a sudden, dramatic change in vision, but more likely an eye problem will be initially asymptomatic.

Just as with any disease, in order to achieve the best outcomes, early detection and treatment is important. The Amsler Grid Eye Test is something you can do at home for free, to check for early signs of retinal problems or macular degeneration. And of course you should see an eye doctor regularly, especially if you notice any changes in your vision.

I hope you find this helpful. I look forward to getting back to my regular publishing schedule soon, and if you have any comments you’d like to share on this topic, use the form below.

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This article was posted by on 28 Jul 2023

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Most recent comments on "Doctor, My Eyes!"

(See all 55 comments for this article.)

Posted by:

29 Jul 2023

I’ve had Keratoconus in both eyes for 25 years. In my right eye it’s barely noticeable, but it’s disabling in the left eye without a scleral contact. I’m lucky that mine isn’t very bad and doesn’t require a cornea transplant. I get being sensitive to your eyes and I agree, don’t ever put off any eye procedure. By all means, get multiple opinions, but don’t put it off.
Cataract surgery is one of the issues that really angered me. My eye doctor told me for years it was coming. When it finally happened, I was able to reduce the overall power in my contacts and my vision was better than it had been in years. When I asked her why we waited so long, she replied, “insurance”.

Posted by:

29 Jul 2023

So glad you're doing better. Thanks for posting this. I forgot the Amsler Grid thing that I had been using to check for AMD, so now I have it again. Thanks.

Posted by:

Randi B
29 Jul 2023

Hi Bob,

Be very glad that you are gaining vision back. I had a similar surgery. but the surgeon took too much tissue with the pealing of the membrane. Plus the surgery caused a 'Fast growing' cataract to form. So it was back into surgery for me. My ability to go bird-watching has dropped. Think I'll work on "Birdlistening" one hears more than one sees.

Posted by:

Sara Armstrong
29 Jul 2023

So glad you are doing well! And I appreciate the story. Thanks for everything!

Posted by:

Kerry O'Shea
29 Jul 2023

Thanks for this article Bob. I found it very interesting. I hope your eyes continue to heal well and you have better eyesight.

Posted by:

29 Jul 2023

Bob - I am very happy to see your vision is improving - forgive the pun.

Regarding CATARACTS - 10 years ago during a routine eye exam it was determined that I had a 20% cataract in my left eye and was told that I had to wait for a 100% cataract before removal. I thought - that could take 10 years years and slowly losing my vision was not attractive to me.

I asked for an alternative and was given eyedrops for use 3 x daily.

such a condition cannot be improved/corrected with a stronger lens - admittedly the lens is slightly thicker but I have 95% vision with it.

Bob - you wished to help folk with similar problems - this is why I have chipped in with my
help and advice

Posted by:

Nick Sos
29 Jul 2023

I had five surgeries on one eye and lost all sight in that eye. I am so happy yours has gone so well. Personaly I would hold off the surgery on your other eye. Regards from Oz.

Posted by:

Marty M.
29 Jul 2023

Bob: Thanks for your (non computer tech) story. Glad it worked out OK for you. People don't realize how vital their vision is until it deteriorates. [Have ERM too :( ] We take as granted how wonderfully our body works and need to take good care of ourselves. Looking forward to many more articles from you in the future. Thank you.

Posted by:

29 Jul 2023

Hi Bob
Wishing you well with your recovery, don’t rush, get back to us when you are ready. I’m 75 and I have regular visits to my optician here in the UK and my cataracts are slowly growing, I will have to have something done eventually so I appreciate your shared story, thanks for sharing it so we can wish you well.
The problems of growing older, better than the alternative !

Posted by:

Alex S
29 Jul 2023

Prayers are with you, wishing you a Speedy Recovery!

Posted by:

29 Jul 2023

I have type two diabetes, so my optometrist has been examining my eyes every six months for years. Last time, I was unable to read the chart on the wall with my right eye. I will undergo eye surgery in September.

Posted by:

29 Jul 2023

This was as helpful as all your posts are. Thanks for the information, and blessings for continued recovery.

Posted by:

30 Jul 2023

zinc, vit c, e juice carrot(s) eat tomatoes..may help your mac deg.

Posted by:

30 Jul 2023

Randy - glad you're OK. But I think I must have a problem. I downloaded the Amsler Grid and followed the directions EXACTLY. I covered one eye and stared at the dot - no problem. I then covered the other eye and couldn't see a thing. Does this mean I have a problem?
Maybe a step in the middle to uncover the first eye would help? As a coder I just can't help but analyze an algorithm.

Posted by:

31 Jul 2023

Hi Bob,
I'm glad to hear that all went well!
I know how important eyes are for I am blind in one from birth. I hasn't slowed me down but I am very careful with my eyes.
Thanks for the story and with a good out come too!

Posted by:

Calvin The'airedale
31 Jul 2023

Get well soon!

Posted by:

Gilles Lalancette
01 Aug 2023

Best wishes for your eye recovery.

Posted by:

01 Aug 2023

Wishing you speed recovery, Bob Rankin,
Aye, Yay, Yay with eyes!
I've been married to corrective lenses since my teens. They are the highest-maintenance sense that I have and has been the most expensive one to maintain.
The above was not a complaint or a whine. ;)

Posted by:

barbara frank
01 Aug 2023

Bob, I've had both wet and dry macular degeneration for 10 years, but my retinologist at the Wilmer Eye Institure at Johns Hopkins has prevented further vision loss with interocular injections of Eylea. For AMD, this should have been suggested to you!! I have had cataract surgery in one eye. Two devices that technologically restore a lot of vision are NuEyes and eSight. Both recommended by my Wilmer Johns Hopkins low-vision specialist, and not well known because of the cost--but it's your eyes--money well spent if they work for you. The results are amazing for many eye conditions. Please search them online.
E-sight: Google this to get all the info; here is some from their site:
Our innovative glasses can help people with significant central vision loss often achieve 20/20 enhanced vision. They are lightweight, sleek, and comfortable, seamlessly moving with you from indoor, routine activities to outdoor, physical environments. A small, high-speed, high-definition camera captures everything you are looking at. Our advanced, clinically validated algorithms optimize and enhance the footage. It is then presented on the two OLED monitors, one in front of each eye of the glasses, in real time. Your brain synthesizes the images, and you see with clarity what is in front of you.

NuEyes: My vision-impaired friends swear by this device. Google it or ask your doctor.

Posted by:

10 Aug 2023

Glad you are getting some relief. I too have had some cataract in right and macular in left. I did some research in stopping the progression. Dr. Berry did a vid Macular degeneration 2023.lastest finding that seed oils deteriorate our eyes. and tried on myself. and noticed my vision does get more blurry when I eat seed oil products & sugar too. so I am reading labels. Because I don't want to go blind.

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