Monday, April 26, 2010

Seeing into your eyes you see your whole body

It has probably been a good five years since I've had my eyes examined.  I keep getting these "things" (I do not wish to describe what I'm seeing) which are not floaters, so I decide to go to the eye doctor to figure out what's going on.

So last Friday I go in and find out that I'm FAR sighted instead of being near sighted all along.  I don't necessarily have to get bi-focals just quite yet, but I figure, what the heck.  One more thing to whine and complain about.  And the bill for a couple of pairs of glasses made my car mechanic green with envy.

While I was there the optometrist dilated my eyes so that he could blind me and photograph each eye and accompanying retina.  Afterwards he explained that he saw a soft drusen in one of my eyes.  That didn't sound good and his description (it is a piece of cholesterol trapped between the layers of the eye) didn't comfort me either.  I had him write it down (I'm over 40, so I forget things) on a piece of paper and then I ignored it until today.  I'm glad I ignored it over the weekend because it probably would have ruined my weekend.  Here is one of the links that I found about soft drusen:

Yep.  Soft drusen is a precursor to macular degeneration.  Great.  I'm an IT dude.  I write technical documents.  I depend on my eyes.  What will I do if I go blind?  I can't let this happen to me.

The last 10 year or so, I have not done good things to my body.  Instead of diet and exercise, I've instead parked my butt and eaten.  I'm up to a weight that I am not comfortable admitting.  I hate looking like a near full-term pregnant woman.  My primary care physician told me that your eyes are an indication, the canary in the cage so to speak, of what else is happening in your body.  Great.  I have this piece of cholesterol in my eye.  Where else is this cholesterol parked?  I know that my gall bladder was full of it when it was removed.  Is it in my heart?  Is it in my brain?  Am I going to go blind and then stroke out for the rest of my life and end up dead because of cardiac arrest?  OK, OK, OK......   I'm dooms day, but when stuff comes back that doesn't sound good, then there's a good indication that something's probably up.

Why does a man have to go blind (I'm speaking figuratively here) in order to see?

On New Year's day I thought I was having a heart attack.  Subsequent testing showed that it was my gall bladder.  But one of the things the doctor told me is that I needed to loose 50 pounds.  50 freaking pounds.  Dang, that's a lot of weight.  I've probably lost 5 pounds.  The other 45 will take some time to get rid of.  But I will need to get active and loose the weight.  Or else I may end up blind and dead.

Saturday I bought some salmon at Sam's Club.  I cooked a piece on Saturday and liked it.  Today when I read that link, I had another piece of salmon for lunch.  I'm going to eat healthy from here on out.  50 pounds, here I come!


Vince T. said...


I have macular degeneration, but I'm nearly 60, so with 20/20 hindsight, I can give you some tips on what you can do to help with this.
- the healthy eating is a very good idea. Salmon is great, and so is other oily fish. Plenty of vegetables and fruit with the right anti-oxidants are good. There's loads of nutritional information at, which is also good for other aspects of macular degeneration.
- don't smoke !!!!!!
- have a little red wine - for medicinal purposes!
- exercise helps a lot - walking is very good, so is swimming.
- a cholesterol-busting medication such as Simvastatin may be useful. I'm not a doctor, so ask yours - and if he's anything like my doctor, he won't know what you're talking about, but go armed with some information about the benefits of statins for your eyes.
- wear sunglasses in bright daylight, even if it's cloudy. You'll need ones that block out blue light, such as red, brown orange or yellow. Blue/violet light can be very damaging if your retinas are at risk.

The prospects of going blind are scary, but I'm what Americans would call legally blind, and I still do most things that everyone else does, except for driving. I am quite a skilled computer user, a keen photographer (amateur, yes, but very keen!), and I get around unaided most of the time.

Macular degeneration doesn't usually make you totally blind, and it progresses pretty slowly, so please don't panic. Wet MD is very serious, but treatments are improving all the time. By the time you get to my age, there will be gene therapy, stem cells, pills and other things to treat MD pretty effectively. These are not cures, but they are likely to improve quality of life a heck of a lot.

So don't worry, be happy

Tom said...


Thank you for the kind words. When you start looking things up you often wonder, "So, this is what it is like to 'mature' and get older." The joys of aging.