by wjw on April 16, 2024


Now that’s a word you don’t want to hear from your eye doc when he’s peering through his scope at the interior of your eye. And you really don’t want to hear his next line, which is:

“You really can’t catch a break, can you?”

The vision in my left eye has been deteriorating for a year or more, and last August I went to the doc, and I got dilated and scoped and the doc couldn’t find anything wrong. So I just went on using reading glasses, which worked less and less well as my vision continued to decline. I didn’t do anything about it because was busy getting radiation treatments for cancer and then trying to put my life in some kind of order while recovering from the radiation, and so it took this long for me to see a doc again.

I was prepared for his reaction, because first thing he had one of his assistants take pictures of my retinas, and I was able to look around the assistant and see the images appear on the TV monitor. My right eye was very colorful with many shades of red, but my left eye was . . . gray. As dead and gray as the surface of the Moon.

Turns out nothing was dead, the light just wasn’t making it in and out properly. I have two conditions.

One is posterior capsule opacification, or PCO. I’ve had cataract surgery, and I have artificial lenses. In about thirty percent of cases, the membrane surrounding the lens can grow cloudy. The condition can be corrected with a laser— Kathy’s had the condition in both eyes, and the laser worked fine on both occasions.

My second condition is an epiretinal membrane, otherwise known as macular pucker or cellophane maculopathy. This is a very thin layer of scar tissue that grows atop my retina. (Why scar tissue? Maybe getting kicked in the eye by the heavyweight kickboxing champion of North America might have had something to do with it.) The doc described this membrane as like Saran Wrap (hence “cellophane maculopathy”) in that it clings to stuff and pulls it out of its rightful place. There should be a dimple in the center of my eye, which is where the optic nerve attaches to the retina, but instead my retina has been Saran Wrapped into a little molehill in the center of my retina. Distorted vision is the result.

Fortunately the doc tells me this too can be improved with a laser, though not totally. The laser can kind of cut up the scar tissue so that it relaxes, but it can’t make the scar tissue disappear.

So now I have an appointment with an eye surgeon for June, and then presumably I’ll have to wait another few months for an appointment for the laser surgery, during which time my vision will continue to deteriorate. I’d really hate to have to do Taos Toolbox and read 400,000 words of manuscripts with only one eye, so I wonder if I can speed any of this up.

I mean, the first meeting is just for the surgeon to review the material and tell me a bunch of stuff I already know. Do you think it would work to call his office and say, “Hey, I’m going to do the procedure no matter what, so let’s schedule that now instead of waiting for the doc to see me first.”

Does that ever work? We’ll see.

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