Juggling Multiple Eye Conditions
I was diagnosed with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) at age 66 by my optometrist during my annual eye exam. Fortunately, I was in the early stage and not having noticeable symptoms.
My diagnosis came shortly after I had cataract surgery. Within a few months, I developed a secondary cataract that required a YAG laser procedure to remove it. I was able to see more clearly immediately.
A couple of years passed and I began noticing my vision was more blurry. My optometrist and I decided it was time to see a retinal specialist.
After an optical coherence tomography (OCT), the retinal specialist told me I had progressed to the intermediate stage in the right eye. He prescribed AREDS2 vitamins to help slow the progression.
I went to my optometrist for my annual eye exam. I told him my vision was actually noticeably worse with more blurriness than before.
Chronic dry eye
I expected he would tell me that the AMD had progressed. Instead, he diagnosed me with dry eyes.
My eyes had felt drier following cataract surgery and the laser treatment. I used drops occasionally but thought it was all normal. My optometrist explained how dry eyes cause blurry vision.
As the dry eyes progressed, I was diagnosed with chronic dry eyes. In addition to blurry vision, I now experienced a form of double vision. In my case it presented as a “ghost” image, a shadow that overlaps the primary image.
Another strange symptom was not being able to hold my eyes open. I thought I needed a nap. Instead I needed to use drops and rest my eyes.
With macular degeneration one’s vision gets dimmer. As the AMD had progressed I needed more light to read or do crafts. I mentioned how dim my vision was getting to my retinal specialist and asked if the OCT showed a worsening of my AMD.
He said there was no change and that floaters were the culprit. I was surprised though occasionally I noticed pesky floaters that I often swatted at thinking they were bugs.
He explained my floaters were numerous in my right eye with intermediate AMD. As time goes on he thinks I may require a vitrectomy to remove the floaters allowing my vision to brighten. It’s a procedure I will postpone as long as possible.
Floaters are common and usually harmless. My brain does a good job at ignoring them most of the time. Suddenly seeing an increase in floaters could indicate a retinal tear.
A few months ago I began seeing what appeared to be spinning fan blades in my right eye. I immediately began to worry it might be a retinal tear.
I had an appointment with my retinal specialist so I mentioned the fan blades to him. He said it was associated with the floaters and nothing to worry about. It certainly is distracting and one more thing to distort my vision.
Having 3 eye conditions makes it difficult for me to know which one is the cause of new symptoms. AMD and chronic dry eye share common symptoms making it particularly difficult to sort out.
What about you, the reader? If you are dealing with another eye disease in addition to macular degeneration, leave a comment below about how it impacts your life.
Have you gotten a second opinion about your macular degeneration?
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