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Friday, February 11, 2011

The eyes have it; have your vision checked often.


My annual eye-exam was yesterday; the eye surgeon said “So far, so good.” The freckle size spot of pigment in the retina of my left eye is not growing and the right retina still looks okay. I have had not had any loss of peripheral or central vision. The doctor said the prognosis is “wait and see.”

My eyes have never been very good; they became severely myopic when I was very young. Instead of growing round like grapes, they grew long like footballs, which made detached retinas a lifelong concern. Blood vessels inside my eyes break on occasion, obscuring my vision with clouds of swirling black spots. Aside from those episodes, the inside of my eyes have always been full of translucent floaters; it is like viewing the world through a fishbowl overcrowded with guppies; reading has always been a real problem. My eyes are so sensitive to light that I wear sunglasses even on cloudy days and inside some brightly lit rooms. Colors often confuse me, and some colors and shades don’t look the same from one day to the next. For years, one of my favorite shirts was pink… only I did not know it was pink.

For unknown reasons I developed cataracts in both eyes while still on the relatively young side of middle age; there was no family history of cataracts except for the ancient ones. There is some speculation that I had too many years working and playing in the sunshine and that I may have suffered a few too many black eyes during overly enthusiastic sessions of reasoned discourse. The excessive use of demon tobacco may also have played a part; science just cannot say. My eye surgeon replaced the clouded lenses in both of my eyes with prescriptions that corrected my nearsightedness, although I still need reading glasses. Subsequently, laser surgery was required to correct the secondary cataracts that formed in both eyes. I lost a noticeable amount of night vision before they found that I had cataracts, but the surgery did not restore it to where it was before.

While my vision will never be perfect, it has always been far better than just being functional; life has been good to me. I am confident that modern medicine and my ever competent eye surgeon will make it possible for me see the end of my horizon.

Here’s looking at you kid.



Arthur B. Burnett said...

Greetings from Texas,
In my misspent youth I was one of those mutants with 20/20 plus vision. I could read road signs before the folks with me could make out indivual words. Those were the days.

Today the longest range I shoot at is 100 yards, because I can see the targets at that distance. Cataracts have been a family problem, and I'm told in about five years I will need surgery. Everyone tells me it's nothing to worry about, but I'm scared to death at the thought.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

The surgery is no big deal and there are different ways to do it. The recovery time is a bit frustrating; it took about 6-months for each eye to come back into focus. They won't do both eyes at the same time... mine were done about a year apart.

Heck, when they corrected my nearsightedness I figured that I would become a great shooter... I was wrong; still can't hit the wide side of a barn ;)

Arthur B. Burnett said...

Greetings from Texas,
I've learned shooting from the inside improves one's chances, but I was ducking calls from my Uncle for a month.

Pumice said...

Thanks for sharing this. I have worn glasses since I was 2 and am legally blind in one eye. I have never really thought about the issues others might have. I found it interesting and informative.

Grace and Peace.

Jason said...

Hey Zack - I have had to deal with diabetic retinopathy for the past few years - treatment has been shots of Avastin in the eyes followed by laser-zapping stray blood vessels - not fun. Both eyes have had that treatment and I developed a cataract in one eye due to the treatment that required a lens replacement. Luckily, eating healthy and exercising, taking care of the diabetes has really helped and my check-ins with the retina specialists are now 6 months apart. Thanks for sharing and take care of those peepers.

James A. Zachary Jr. said...

Hey there Pumice and Jason! Thank you both for stopping by and sharing information. The old peepers sometimes need some radical attention...

Jason, that diabetes sure can mess things up. Glad your hard work is paying off. I'm very happy that I don't have that complication.