Ophthalmologist – follow up appointment August 2017

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Yesterday was my follow up to last week’s ophthalmologist appointment. At that appointment we discovered that the vision in my left eye has indeed deteriorated very suddenly and quite severely.  Where previously I had better than 20/20 vision and could read the bottom line (7th row) of the Snellen chart with ease, now I can only read the 3rd row down.

Bummer.

My ophthalmologist wasn’t sure why, but she could see the usual inflammation in my eyes (usual because I have inflammatory arthritis that affects my eyes, NOT usual for a normal person) so she gave me prednisone drops in the hope that it was a temporary condition that prednisone would clear up.

I have dry, scratchy eyes, and already use lubricating drops several times daily. She told me to up that, and keep using the goopy lubricating gel I use every night.

Yesterday I returned to discover that my left eye is no better (which I could pretty much tell myself), in fact I did a little worse on the tests.

And she really doesn’t know why.

She ran a digital scan and my retina is fine, no macular degeneration.

My eye pressures are fine, 17 each eye.  So no glaucoma.

I do have cataracts, in both eyes.  But vision loss from cataracts is generally gradual, not sudden.  And my cataracts are not that bad, so she really wasn’t convinced.

My eyes are still very dry and inflamed, the prednisone drops haven’t cleared that up.  But they are always dry and inflamed.  Eye complications are fairly common in Rheumatoid Arthritis and Ankylosing Spondylitis, but sudden vision loss is not.

So the plan is to taper off the prednisone drops.  Keep using the moisturising drops and use the moisturising gel twice daily.

My vision won’t get better, so  I need glasses. Not reading glasses, glasses every day wear.  I will need glasses to drive a car now, and that’s the scary thing…if my right eye goes the same way as my left, I’ll be considered legally vision impaired, and will need a restricted license, or possibly not be able to drive anymore.

That would be bad.

And that’s why not knowing why my left eye has deteriorated so fast bothers me.  If I don’t know why it happened, I can’t prevent it happening to my right eye.  Maybe I can’t prevent it anyway…but I’m also kinda tired of being THAT patient. The one where I pay the doctors the big bucks and they generally just shrug and say “I really don’t know why.”

The ophthalmologist asked me if anything had happened in previous weeks.  I told her about the surgery from hell, and the massive blood loss and anemia.  Could that affect vision?

She said that massive blood loss results in a drop in blood pressure, and if the blood supply to the optic nerve was compromised, the nerve would be damaged, and that would result in permanent vision loss.  Possible explanation.  But she couldn’t be sure.

I prefer that explanation, because that’s a one-off event, rather than a degenerative process.  If that’s the cause, then my vision should be stable now.   My right eye won’t follow suit.

I know I’m falling into that thing people do of blaming everything bad that ever happens on that surgery.  I keep hearing myself saying ‘it was fine before the surgery’ in relation to so many things.

It’s not a good habit to get into.  It builds that one event into a watershed event, the root of all evil, a ‘before/after’ life changing event.  Pretty soon if my washing machine stops working I’ll blame THAT on the surgery too.

That kind of thinking will just keep me stuck in the past, and I don’t want that. I want to put it behind me.  I have a lot of problems.  I had a lot of problems before the surgery.  Like before the surgery, the important thing is working on recovery, maintaining function and doing the best with what I’ve got.

So I have to forget about the ‘whys’ and the ‘what caused it’. And just get on with treating the problem or compensating for it.  In this case, with glasses.

So it’s time to get on the phone to my optometrist, to get a script.  Then I get to go shopping for some super cute frames, and get me a whole new look.  Cos I’m such a fashion maven.

And the Chicklet will be SO jealous, because she wants classes (but has perfect vision).  It’s all perspective, really.

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