At first it just seemed like it was harder to read. Pharmacy magnifying glasses have worked very well but all of a sudden they didn’t. My left eye seemed cloudy and no amount of rubbing and cleaning glasses made a difference. Were the grout lines in the tiles curving? Nah, couldn’t be. On a closer look they were fine.
Yesterday was worse. I covered my right eye and entered a fun house. Things were blurry and every straight line had bumps and curves. This is definitely not right! I spoke with my son in law (he works in an ophthalmology office) and he confirmed what I knew. It’s time to see a doctor ASAP.
Thankfully this is not a problem here. I went to Chiriquí hospital. The first ophthalmologist wasn’t in and I was sent to another. He wasn’t in either but could see me if I came back in the afternoon.
I think he had me figured out as soon as I told him my symptoms, and he confirmed it on exam. My macula is inflamed and swollen. Who knows why it happened, and only in one eye (thankfully!). I was given eye drops for inflammation, pills to decrease swelling, and a referral to a retinal specialist from Panama City who will be here in a couple weeks.
A bit of eyeball info… the retina is like a sheet of tissue that covers the back of the inside of the eye, and it detects light and sends what it finds to the brain. The macula is a special area in the retina that is responsible for the sharp vision in the center of your field of vision while the rest of the retina handles your peripheral vision. Peripheral vision isn’t sharp and clear for anyone. It’s mainly to alert you to something going on so you can direct your central vision towards it. If your central vision, your macula, isn’t functioning right your vision is seriously affected.
In a perfect world, you see this grid clearly with straight lines.
In my world it’s sort of like this, but the lines are curvy through most of the box and they are speckled gray and black, not solid. I can see with my left eye well enough to navigate in my daily life but I wouldn’t want to drive, and I can read if the text it nice and big but regular size, even with glasses is almost impossible. Yeah, messed up!
I am very optimistic that my eye will get straightened out. The plan now is to see how it responds to the medication, and then see the retinal specialist who will make further decisions as necessary. My son in law was consulted and agrees the exam and treatment were appropriate, and said they see this in their office fairly often too.
You just never know what tomorrow will bring! I am SO SO thankful to be here. I saw a doctor within hours of asking and he took very good care of me, but since he’s an ophthalmologist and eye surgeon, a specialist, he’s more expensive – $60. The medications cost about $30. Keep in mind this is private care, not the much cheaper social security system which is also available.
I am also SO thankful to my teacher Yaira and everyone else who has spoken Spanish with me and helped me learn. This doctor spoke very little English. Many doctors were trained in the US and speak English well, but not all so you might bring a translator if you don’t know.
This sure makes me think of all the people with macular degeneration, a condition that sometimes can be slowed down with treatment, but can’t be cured. I have one very good eye, and another that I think will be good again soon. I’m very fortunate.