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A series of three traffic lights. Green is open. Yellow is blinking. Red is closed.

The Beginning of the End of My Vision

Hi! How are you? I am back again. Last time I told you I pretty much was destined to develop age-related macular degeneration. It was a family tradition! This time I guess I can start to tell you how it all unfolded.

The beginning

Every one of us has a story about the beginning of the end of her vision. Mine started on a beautiful summer day when I was driving down a local highway. Windows open. Music blasting.

Hot time in the summertime; yes?

Noticing vision loss

As often happens, something flew into my right eye. When I closed my right eye, the car in front of me disappeared. Poop! (G rated website; remember?) I opened my eye and the car was back. Closed my eye and it was gone again. There seemed to be something amiss with my left eye.

A call to my friendly, neighborhood optometrist landed me an emergency appointment with a retinologist. They seemed to think my little problem was a BIG problem.

Eye doctors

Quick aside here before I go on. In this journey, you are going to run into at least three, basic types of “eye doctor”.

  • Your optometrist is primarily concerned with glasses. His job is to check your acuity and correct your vision with refraction, or bending light. Myopia, which is nearsightedness, hyperopia, which is farsightedness and presbyopia are generally his bread and butter. Presbyopia in Greek is literally “old eyes”. Really! I think it sounds better in Greek!
  • Ophthalmologists are doctors for your entire eye. They treat diseases and operate.
  • Some ophthalmologists specialize in the retina. These doctors are retinologists. I was being sent to a retinologist because age-related macular degeneration is a condition of the retina. You probably knew that, but if you did not, you know it now.

Low vision specialist

There is also a fourth category of eye doctor you may be fortunate enough to encounter. This is a low vision specialist. My optometrist is also a low vision specialist. She was my first “toy lady”. “Toy ladies” and “toy guys” are very good to know. They are also few and far between. If you get the opportunity to consult with a low vision specialist I would suggest you take it. I found it very worthwhile.

The middle

When I got to the retinologist I was sent to the tech for some “pictures”, The pictures they take are done with optical coherence tomography or OCT. That is the machine in which you look at the blue cross and the line goes clicky-clicky up and down your field of vision.

Optical coherence tomography

If you are reading this page you have probably met the acquaintance of the OCT tech. Mine is named Gary. We are thinking about putting my name on a plaque and affixing it to the machine. If this were rent to own, I think I would be close to taking it home! Or maybe not. They are probably hideously expensive.

The end

The pictures the OCT tech took of my retina were pretty revealing. Both of my eyes had drusen. There will be more on drusen later, but more importantly, I had developed a divot in my retina.

There seemed to be a chunk missing! That missing chunk was pretty much in the middle of things and was the cause of the disappearing car trick.

The beginning of the end

This was the start of my journey. That summer day was in June 2015. As of this writing, it is the end of January 2019. Lots have happened. I suspect a lot is yet to happen. I am still here to tell about it. C’mon back if you want to listen. Bye!

This article represents the opinions, thoughts, and experiences of the author; none of this content has been paid for by any advertiser. The team does not recommend or endorse any products or treatments discussed herein. Learn more about how we maintain editorial integrity here.

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