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Serious eye problem

Moderators: june joseph, sipreal.

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Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago




One morning in February 2012, I woke up and notice the vision in my left eye was blurred. I did not really take it on and rubbed my eyes a few times and thought it will go away by itself.

Unfortunately it did not go away by itself, actually it gradually got worse, and I began to suspect I had the onset of cataracts, so after a few weeks I decided to have it checked out and went to an Optometrist.
The eye tests showed something was not right with my left eye, and I was referred to an Ophthalmologist who diagnosed I had a Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion which happens to be on the lower part of my optical nerve and caused a so called Macular Oedema (or Edema) which is swelling in the Retina caused by the backing up of blood and fluids and hampering of the nourishment of the retina, resulting in deformed- and partial loss of vision in the affected eye.

I was told that the cure for the Macula Oedema is 3 Avastin injections IN my eye with one month in-between every injection, and after that "as required", which could be once every 6 months.

After doing some research, and besides the fact that I was not really fund of the idea of someone sticking a needle in my eye, I decided there are way too many risks involved with these injections, such as blindness, retinal detachment, cataracts, increased pressure in the eye and infection in the eye.
Further research showed that there is also the option of Laser surgery, but that too has some disadvantages as it will cause some damage to the Retina and possibly the optic nerve.
So I decided to hold on a bit making a decision.

I was also informed by the ophthalmologist that Branch Retinal Vein Occlusion usually indicates another problem in the body and recommended to do a full physical check-up, which is what I did.

Result .... My blood pressure was way too high (never felt a thing) and my good Cholesterol level way too low, causing my veins to form plaque which obviously caused the vein blockage in my eye. The good news was that my bad cholesterol level is perfect.

So by taking tablets to lower my blood pressure, omega 3 tablets to build up my good cholesterol and eye drops to better regulate the eye pressure, I was hoping that by fixing these medical problems the eye problem would solve as well, but unfortunately that was not the case.

I gradually began to loose more of my vision and after a few months I decided to get a second opinion by another Ophthalmologist, and he diagnosed the same problem. However this time he also saw some bleeding which is of course a bad sign, and after expressing my concerns about the Avastin injections, he recommended to do the Laser Surgery, which was done on the 5th of October 2012, and so far it seems to have been successful. A check-up by the Ophthalmologist, 3 weeks after the Surgery, showed that the swelling is going down and the fluids are gradually drying up.
The downside of the laser Surgery is that the lost vision in my affected eye will not come back, but it is not getting worse, so for now I can say that it is stabilized.
But according the Ophthalmologist we can only see the full result in about 3 months after the surgery, so I keep my fingers crossed.

In the mean time if you have any questions, or suggestions, please feel free to reply to this post.



« Last edit by T&T-Blog on Sat Jan 05, 2013 9:21 pm. »
Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
UPDATE:



On the 5th of December 2012, I went for a second check-up and unfortunately there is still some swelling of the Retina causing the vision in my left eye to be distorted. Before any further treatment the Ophthalmologist recommended to do an OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) scan, which is like a CAT Scan of the back of the eye -see image above-.
According to the results of the OCT scan, which will happen on the 14th of December 2012, the course of further treatment will be determent. In the best case scenario further treatment will be continuation of eye drops, a less favorable course is more laser Surgery, and in the worst case scenario and as very last resort I might have to take the Avastin injections in the eye after all.

I'll keep you posted on it.



« Last edit by T&T-Blog on Sat May 18, 2013 11:42 pm. »
Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago

UPDATE 2:




December the 14th, 2012:

I went for the OCT Scan. The news was not very good. As is shown in the image above the Swelling of the Retina has spread to the Optic nerve, and the only treatment left is the Avastin injection in my eye, because Laser Surgery is not an option again as it will burn the Optic nerve.

I opted to no longer postpone the injection and had it done the same day.

The procedure is not very pleasant, but all in all there is not much pain involved. Unfortunately there was a little complication during and after the injection which caused the pressure in my eye to go over 50 (normally it has to be below 20), and I was temporary blinded in my left eye, but thanks to the very knowledgeable Ophthalmologist all is well now apart from a blood shot eye (see pic) below.

14 January, 2013 I have to go back for a check-up and to find out if I need another injection.
So until then for my next update.
In the mean time I wish everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS and a Happy, Prosperous but most of all HEALTHY NEW YEAR!!






« Last edit by sipreal on Mon Jan 28, 2013 10:08 pm. »
Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago

UPDATE 3:




January the 14th, 2013:

So today I had to go back for a check-up and my second Avastin injection in my eye.

With the bad experience of last time, the Ophthalmologist and myself decided on a different approach and before the injection we lowered the eye pressure by special eyedrops and tablets to soften the eyeball.

This worked very well, and the second injection went a lot better than the first one.
I only noticed a slight "dimming" of my eye sight while he was injecting the medication, but it only lasted for a few seconds.

All in all I must say that my eyesight has improved a lot since the first injection, so I am very pleased that all the procedures and trauma my eye suffered has not been for nothing.

On February the 15th, 2013 I have my next appointment for a check-up and most likely my next injection, which should be the last one with a month in-between. After that injection we will have to wait and keep an eye (no pun intended) on my eye, and if needed I might have to get more injections as needed.

As usual I'll keep you posted.





« Last edit by T&T-Blog on Sat May 18, 2013 11:45 pm. »
Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago



UPDATE 4:

February the 15th, 2013, I had another OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) scan and as you can see in the picture above, the swelling of the Retina has gone down a lot if you compare it with the OCT scan in update 2 above. there was still a little swelling and to be sure that also the last bit of swelling will disappear, The Ophthalmologist and myself decided to do the 3rd Avastin injection.

This time there was little or no discomfort, and even immediately after the injection I could still see clearly. However, about 20 minutes to half an hour later the vision in my left eye became very blurry and it stayed that way for the rest of the Day.
The next morning it was a lot better but I was still looking through a fog, and I also noticed that this time I had a feeling of sand in my eye which lasted for the rest of that day.
The second day after the injection my sight was clear again and the sandy feeling was gone.

The fourth day after injection I went for a check-up to see if there was no infection, and everything was clear.
However, the Ophthalmologist noticed a little cloud at the bottom of my eye, but he said that it was normal because of the trauma of the needle piercing the eye, and the gelatinous fluid inside the eye was forming some protein strands, but it is nothing to worry about.
However, there is still a chance of Retinal Detachment, so I still have to be alert to strange flashes which usually indicate that the retina is detaching. So far everything is going well, and my eye sight is improving a lot.

On the 29th of March 2013 I have to go back for another OCT scan and a check-up to see how things are going, so I guess that will be my next update.



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« Last edit by sipreal on Thu Feb 21, 2013 10:22 pm. »
Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago


UPDATE 5:

April the 6th, 2013, I had another OCT scan done (see above). Unfortunately the swelling of the Retina came back. Not as bad as you can see in the first scan a few updates earlier, but enough for a disappointment and as you may have guessed already ... another injection in my eye. On Friday the 10th of May I have to get another OCT scan and on the 13th of May I have to go back to the Ophthalmologist. I will keep you updated.



« Last edit by T&T-Blog on Sat May 18, 2013 11:23 pm. »
Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
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UPDATE 6:

May the 10th, 2013.

Another OCT (Optical Coherence Tomography) scan and as you can see in the picture above, the swelling of the Retina has gone down again, but there was still a little swelling. This time the Ophthalmologist decided that the risks of a 5th Avastin injection are higher than the potential benefits, so we will try to continue to use the Nevanac eye drops and increased the dose from 3 times 1 drop per day to 4 times.
Next month I have to go for a OCT scan again, however this time I will be in the Netherlands so I will do the OCT and a possible Avastin injection abroad.
As usual I am not looking forward to the procedures, but I must say I am a bit curious to see how it's done over there.

So until the next update, and take care of your health.



« Last edit by sipreal on Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:22 am. »
Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
UPDATE 7:

May the 24th, 2013.

An unexpected update. My vision started to get blurry again, so that was not a good sign, so I immediately set up an emergency appointment with my Ophthalmologist. This time he could indeed clearly see that the swelling of the retina increased again, so without any delay I got my 5th Avastin injection in my eye before the swelling would get worse.

My appointment for a check-up in Holland around the end of July is still standing.



« Last edit by sipreal on Mon Jun 03, 2013 7:52 am. »
Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
UPDATE 8:

June the 28th, 2013.

I had an appointment in the St. Jansdal Hospital in Holland for a checkup and even though the scan looked a bit better than the last one in Trinidad, the Ophthalmologist could still see some bleeding and fluid behind the retina of my eye and he advised to consider another Avastin injection, because as my next appointment in Trinidad is in August, there is a big chance that the problem returns which means that I would have to start all over again.
So I got the 6th eye injection.

It was an interesting experience, because eventhough the injection itself is basically the same, the procedure is very different.

My next appointment in Trinidad is on the 5th of August, so until the next update.



Moderator
Registered: Sep 2011
Posts: 37
Location: Trinidad and Tobago
UPDATE 9:

August the 5th, 2013.

Had an appointment with my Ophthalmologist in Trinidad again. Up to yesterday my eye seemed to be doing ok, but yesterday morning I noticed the flashes in my eye again, and by now I already know what that means .... Another injection.
So I did not even bother to spend any more money on a OCT Scan, but received my 7th injection.
I must mention however, that my Ophthalmologist noticed an improvement in the retina, meaning that the part that could not properly drain because of the blockage in one of my branch veins in the retina, was now forming new and proper veins, and not the ones that are weak and start to bleed in the eye.

So this time we decided not to wait until I start to see the flashes again, but seeing that an injection usually works for about 5 weeks, I will now get my 8th injection in 4 weeks. This way we are going to try to nip it in the bud by forcefully suppressing the Macular Oedema.

My next appointment is on the 6th of September 2013, so once again until the next update.



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