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Wednesday, August 5, 2009


So, when I was 19 I was hit in the eye by a faulty champagne bottle, and suffered a nasty contusion. I lost vision in my left eye temporarily for a couple of weeks, and suffered severe migranes for a couple of years after the vision returned. The neuro-ophthalmologist I saw at Northwestern University in Chicago actually told me I was going to eventually lose vision in my eye when I got older. He also told me that I was losing vision in both eyes (due to a psycho-symptomatic reaction) and would never graduate college. Not exactly what a 19-year-old wants to hear. That aside, while I've never been able to have 20/20 vision in that eye, I've been able to make do with 20/40 rather well. And I graduated from the University of Michigan in 1991!

As Geoffrey Chaucer said, 'Time and tide wait for no man'. And now that I'm in my early 40's, I 'see' what he means -- pun intended!

I went to a new eye doctor a couple of weeks ago for a new eyeglass prescription, since my vision has been blurry for a while. Unfortunately she wasn't able to do anything to help with my vision, except suggest I take fish oil capsules. Since I've been having headaches for the past few months, and have recently been getting concerned about driving because of blurry vision in my left eye, I asked around with various friends to determine a good eye specialist to consult with.

That led me to UCSF's Ophthalmology Department. What an impressive place! Their 'Retina, Pediatrics, Plastic & Reconstructive Surgery' Ophthalmology Department is located on the 7th floor and overlooks San Francisco. Their offices have floor-to-ceiling windows with amazing views due West & due North. It's beautifully ironic to cast your gaze out over such lovely landscape as-far-as-the-eye-can-see. You can see the Pacific Ocean with freighters coming-and-going through the Golden Gate; the DeYoung Museum peaking through Golden Gate Park, and all sorts of vistas throughout The City. Marin County (my home) lies quietly to the North looking majestic, too.

So on Monday, August 3rd, I went for my first consult. After way too many hours being examined they found that I have a 'traumatic cataract' and some possible scar tissue on my retina in my left eye. Residual from the champagne accident. Today, Wednesday, August 5th, I went back for a pre-operative surgical consult. I was optimistic & eager to have surgery scheduled to fix my vision; yet a little scared, too.

The two surgical specialists I saw today both agreed that while I do have a cataract on the center of my lens, the rest of the lens is still in pretty good shape. They don't think that the cataract alone is causing the blurry & double vision, so they want me to have optic nerve damage ruled out. The surgeon said that while she could replace the lens, it likely won't correct the vision.

So now I have an appointment on August 19th with the chair of the department to investigate further. The good news is that he's a neuro-ophthalmologist, and he specializes in CrystaLens transplants (a flexible lens that would offer better vision in the long run since I'm still relatively young for a cataract -- Thanks to my good friend, Dr. Kevin Toppenberg, for turning me on to that!).

I've adjusted my mindset from initial disappointment to realizing that if there is something else going on it's better to figure that out before having eye surgery.

Oh, and the nurses LOVED my rhinestone eye patch & think I should start making them for sale, in particular for children who need to wear eyepatches! ;-)

Onward & upward...

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