Adult woman sits at a table with a doctor giving her good news about her test results. Above the doctor is a bubble with an eye and a green checkmark.

Words We All Want To Hear: “Remarkably Successful”

Last updated: January 2023

"Remarkably successful!" Those are the words we all want to hear when we are discussing outcomes with our retinal specialist. And those are the words I heard yesterday.

Appointment day

The appointment was early morning, through rush hour traffic. Not my favorite time of day to drive, but at least I can still drive, and we take what we can get, don’t we?

It was not as bad as I expected. In fact, when I realized there would be no waiting, in an almost empty waiting room, it balances out. I may even start requesting the first appointment of the day from now on.

Treatment history

If you’ve read my previous articles, you’ll remember I had been having injections of Avastin for almost 6 years, quite successfully. Then, as sometimes happens, it wasn’t working as well as it had. It was time to switch to a different medication. My retina specialist and I had discussed it and his choice was Eylea.

The recommended Eylea treatment is a “loading dose” of 3 monthly treatments. Then, if all goes well, extended to 8-week intervals. Eventually extended to 12 weeks, possibly even 16. Can you imagine only 3 or 4 shots a year protecting our vision? We can hope.

I had finished my 3 loading doses last month. Now would be the time to find out if it was working. I thankfully saw no difference on the eye chart, but that can also depend on whether I’m having a good day or a bad day. So no real help there.

Good news

I was sitting in the chair with my left eye dilated and numbed, with no glasses, when the doctor brought up my OCT (optical coherence tomography) pictures on his computer screen. My first thought was oh no! It looks worse. I can see 2 areas of fluid!

Usually, I wait until he’s gone over everything before I say anything, but this time I blurted it out. I know I shouldn’t try and see clearly when the eye is dilated, I’m without my glasses, especially at odd angles and distances.

That’s when he smiled and said, “It’s remarkably successful. We’ll discuss it when I’ve checked it all.” I absorbed that as I waited.

Relief

When he finished comparing them to my previous pictures, he told me the PEDs (pigment epithelial detachments) were improved, and the choroid was stable. He showed me where the large fluid pocket had been, and now was just a slightly curved white line. We both had the biggest smiles! I’m guessing he doesn’t get to give good news too often.

Rather than extending out to 8 weeks immediately, he wants the next 2 injections to be at 6-week intervals. If we’re still good then, we’ll go to the 8-week schedule. I told him if it saved my sight I would come every week, but thank goodness that’s not necessary.

After more numbing drops and a swab with the antiseptic, I had the shot, with that slight swirling in my vision for a second. No floaters!

Reason to celebrate

On the way home I decided if there ever was a time to celebrate, it was now.

I wish I had recorded everything he said, as I could have mixed up a few bits of information in my excitement. But this is my recollection of the main parts. The only one that really matters? "Remarkably successful."

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