Thursday, February 07, 2013

Something New on My Fridge

I told you about Mike helping me pick out new glasses a few weeks ago. What I did not mention was that I had received a bit of a surprise at my eye appointment earlier that day.

First, I should tell you that I have been miffed for the last decade simply because I had to give in and wear glasses at all. You see, I was really proud of my terrific eye sight for nearly 40 years. Dumb, I know. My eye sight was a gift; I did nothing to develop or enhance it. Nevertheless, it made me happy when a doctor once told me I could see into what was none of my business. Cool, huh?

Well, this eye visit was just a regular check. Mainly, I wanted new glasses and contacts because I could tell my prescription needed a bit of tweaking. That's all I wanted. Well, my eye doctor did that for me. Then, he showed me the photo of the inside of my eye that they'd taken. He said I had a few spots that were concerning him and he wanted me to do another test. No problem. He has cool machines and they don't hurt. The results didn't really cheer me, though. What he tells me is that I don't yet have macular degeneration, but that the peri-macular area has some problems already. Say what? I told him I didn't appreciate him talking to me like that. No one said those kinds of things to me when I was in my 20's.  

The doctor sent some artwork home with me to add to my fridge collection.  Do you see it?


No? I do have a lot of stuff on that fridge, don't I? Here, I will give you a close-up.


That funny grid thing is called an Amsler Grid. What you do is look at the dot in the middle, wearing your glasses or contacts as you normally would. (Don't use this one but if you want to try it you can find one here.) Close one eye while still looking at the dot. Do any of the lines in the grid look curvy or otherwise funky? Do you have any gray or black spots? If so, don't panic (although I pretty much did) but do make an eye appointment.

I learned a lot about macular degeneration that I didn't know before. The macula is at the rear of the eyeball. It is responsible for fine central vision, so it is a pretty important piece of the eye. When it degenerates, the patient slowly (or sometimes not so slowly) loses central vision. That may not sound so bad as peripheral vision will be left intact. The problem is, without central vision you can't read, see faces, drive, etc. It doesn't cause pain but it can certainly affect a person's quality of life and ability to function independently in the way they normally would.

Have you heard of dry and wet macular degeneration? Well, what makes the wet "wet" is when new little blood vessels develop in response to the damage. These little vessels can be friable and leaky. The leaking blood causes damage and can much more quickly destroy the macula. Most cases of wet macular degeneration began as dry macular degeneration. So now you know the difference.

I have some precious people in my life who are actually dealing with this but I still had more to learn. If you don't know much about it,  you can go to sites like this one or maybe go here for more in-depth information. I bet that you, too, know people who have this condition. Understanding what they are going through could be helpful.

So what about me? Well, I just don't know. The doctor asked me to check my vision with the Amsler Grid about every two weeks (the first week I checked about 3 times a day...not that I was obsessing or anything) and see him in 6 months. During that time I am to be taking eye vitamins. From what I read, there is a chance I will not even develop macular degeneration. Even if I do, it could be many years yet. I'm not thinking about it all the time like I did that first week. Educating myself a bit more helped me get my worry into perspective.

Another thing that I actually appreciate, no matter what I said, is my optometrist and his machines. I am well aware that a lot of people do not have access to such good care. I am really quite grateful to him for his thoroughness. 

One thing I enjoy is doing research on health related topics. I'm thinking I may, from time to time, do something like this again. After all, I am a nurse. However, I am NOT a physician. NOTHING I put on my blog should be used to replace talking to your doctor. I only intend to offer basic information that is readily available to anyone from trusted websites. So, now that I put out that legal-sounding mumbo jumbo, let me know if there is a topic you'd like for me to research.

And last, remember that we are doing that big one week sale on Wyoming Rose Boutique. Use the coupon code word JAZZY at check-out and you will receive 50% off ANYTHING IN OUR SHOP... YES, the ENTIRE order. Now is the time. We want to move out some things as we are preparing to fill in with new items. Either click on the name of the store highlighted in this paragraph or click on any of the photos of our merchandise. It will take you right there lickety-split! (Wow! I've not said, "lickety-split" in a long time!)

Happy Thursday!