Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Vision- Symptoms

11" x 14"
It doesn't hurt. There isn't pain. But, vision might be a little blurred. Colors may be hard to distinguish, such as in trying to pick out something in navy blue or black. But that is just part of growing older, just like having to get reading glasses because, as you get older, your arms tend to not be long enough to read, isn't it?
But, then, one day, suddenly, you may look across a room and notice that the venetian blinds are not completely straight. One end has a bump in it. The lines are wavey at one end. You blink, look away, go into another room and return, and the blinds look normal again. You wonder why that happened. Maybe it's time for new glasses? The old reading glasses from the drugstore may not be enough.
Later, that night, at a school function, you are looking down a long hall while talking to a teacher. Odd. The handrail at the end of the hall has a lump in it at one end. It's wavey, not straight. You blink, look away, walk around, then look again. The handrail is as it should be.
You forget about it, although it was a little unsettling. With a lifetime of 20/20 vision, these little quirks of sight are a bit annoying and you hope they will not happen again.
While stopped at a traffic light in town, with someone else driving, you look down the street in front of you, noticing the perspective of the road, the lack of cars driving across the intersection, the buildings where there once was a pasture. But, suddenly, you notice that the telephone poles are, like the venetian blinds and handrail, wavey. Only this time, these are vertical lines. Again, you blink, you turn away, and just hope to get across the intersection quickly so that these wavey lines will stop. It's beginning to make you a little nauseated or sea sick.
"You've got to be the navigator and tell me where to turn," the driver said to me. I watched for the street sign that told me where to turn to go to my house.
"I think that's it, " but I couldn't be sure. The letters just appeared to be marks on the sign. The pole, like the telephone poles, was wavey and making me feel nauseated. I covered my face.
It was the right street and we did make it home. But no thanks to me. I couldn't read the sign and didn't want to look anymore and risk having that seasick feeling again.
Riding with the family at night, you notice that the light pole in a shopping center parking light has 22 lights on it, instead of one! It was so annoying that you made it a point to count how many seperate lights you were seeing on the pole. Usually, it doesn't matter whether the light has one or 4 lights on it, just so it provides the needed light in that spot.
My vision was alright after each little incident. But, more frequently, the same sort of things would happen again.
And then came the time to renew my drivers license. I knew I must need glasses, so I went to my eye doctor for an exam. I've gone into those experiences on previous posts. You can go into my archives to read those posts. Each title is prefaced with the word Vision.
When I asked about the wavey lines, the doctor brought out an Amsler Grid and had me look at that. The right eye was fine, but, with the left eye, the grid had lots of wavey lines, lines that didn't connect, and a purple spot in the center. The doctor got me in to see a Retina Specialist by the next Monday. He wanted me to go that afternoon, but the Retina Specialist was not in town.
I was stunned, shocked, terrified, and had never heard of such a thing.
The wavey or bent lines is a symptom of Macular Degeneration. If you experience that sort of thing, you are supposed to get to your eye doctor or Retina Specialist immediately. I've also heard that trouble in distinguishing colors can also be a symptom of Macular Degeneration.
In my case, there was fluid accumulated in the macula. This makes the macula bend or swell and distorts vision. My doctor wanted me to see a specialist before blood could start leaking from weak blood vessels that would form behind the macula. These weak vessels would leak fluid first, then blood. Once the blood leaked and vision was damaged, it would be gone and could not be recovered.
I was diagnosed with the wet form of AMD. This is said to be one that develops suddenly and does its damage rather fast. The dry form develps slower. But there are treatments for wet AMD, and very little for the dry form. New treatments and tests are being developled.
You can't see anything happening from the exterior of your eye. Your eye looks like it always has. People can't look at you and see that there is something wrong with your vision. And, there isn't pain that makes AMD unbearable. So, looking for early symptoms is important in minimizing the damage that AMD can do.
The painting above is a composite painting I did of the first symptoms I experienced at the beginning of my vision problem. The explanation I wrote tells about what happened in each of the smaller pictures. It begins with the upper left hand corner, moves down to the lower left corner, then over to the right side and back up to the top right-counter clockwise.
I used Winsor Newton watercolors on 140 # Arches watercolor paper to do this painting.
Look under my Eye Sites section on my sidebar to see more links to information on vision and Macular Degeneration.
One new link that I added was to a site called "My Vision Test", which was created by Richard Trevino. I discovered that site through MD Forum, a list that has a focus on sharing about MD and related eye problems.
From their site, in the About section:
"MyVisionTest is an entoptic perimetry computer program. It is intended to supplement the Amsler Grid for patients with macular disease that need to monitor their vision for progression. It is offered free of charge to the public. The vision test and website were developed by Richard Trevino, an optometrist located in Indiana, USA. Although numberous published studies have demonstrated the soundness of entoptic perimetry for the purpose of detecting vision defects caused by macular disease, there are currently no published studies that have employed our computer program. However, we are in discussions with researchers about undertaking such a study. Hopefully, published studies employing MyVisionTest will be forthcoming. "
I'll write more about Rick and the test in another post as this one is getting long, I'm sure. Rick was kind enough to give me some information that is most helpful in knowing more about the test and also about the person who created the test. He certainly seems qualified and interested in doing what he can to help people with Macular Degeneration.
I also added a link to Richard Trevino's website under Interesting Sites.
Thank you for reading and sharing. Don't forget to go to the bottom of the page and sign my Guest Book. Also, join my group, Art By Cecelia, if you haven't already.
Let me know if you see something of interest to you.

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