My Macular Degeneration Update
Last updated: September 2022
I was stopped short the other day, literally, on the way to my retina specialist’s for an injection in my “wet” left eye. It was a beautiful bright sunny day that started innocently enough, just going for another shot. Although I was not looking forward to what I knew I would hear.
I was wearing my light amber-colored sunglasses, purchased specifically for driving. As I drove into the poorly lit underground parking, I was blinded by darkness. I knew there were some posts to drive around, but they had disappeared into the netherworld.
Thankfully there was no one behind me and I was able to wait for my eyes to adapt. Delayed dark adaptation is one of the earlier problems caused by macular degeneration.
Wet AMD vision changes
I knew there had been a slight change in my vision since my last visit 6 weeks ago. A very gradual change I hadn’t really been able to discern on the Amsler grid. But noticeable when trying to read on my iPad without inverting the colors, an option which I normally use.
My “wet” left eye is not responding as it had been previously to the injections. At one point I was on a 10-week schedule, even spaced out to 12 weeks for a few visits. Successfully holding back any progression.
Then a small leak off to one side showed up in the optical coherence tomography (OCT) pictures. I hadn’t noticed any difference in my vision at that time.
We decreased the time between injections to 9 weeks, expecting that would do the trick. But no. Next down to 8, then 7. Still no advancement of the fluid at the side, but no lessening either.
My doctor's visit
I was not looking forward to seeing what the OCT pictures would show this time. My retina specialist and I looked at the computer pictures, comparing them to the previous ones. I could see, even without him pointing it out, that the fluid seemed to be moving closer to the critical area just under the macula. It looked the same size to my untrained eye, just in a slightly different place.
He agreed that was the reason my sight was deteriorating. I know it could still improve when that fluid dries up. If it dries up. With any luck at all, it should.
I am now back to the beginning. A 5-week schedule. Next visit I plan to ask if it’s time to try a different medication. Some people have found success by changing which drug is used. Avastin has maintained my sight for 5 years already.
Wondering about the future
I should have asked at this last visit, but having my concerns confirmed hit me harder than I had expected, especially right after the parking garage incident. I had been expecting some bad news, but it was not what I was hoping to hear. We always hope for the best, don’t we?
I know I can easily live with the vision I have now. I’ve had slight declines before. So what am I so concerned about? The odds are it won’t deteriorate that much. But there is the possibility that this might be the start of a faster decline with the reality of losing my vision staring me right in the face.
Do you find that fear interferes with your ability to regularly go to eye specialist appointments?