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Saturday, July 26, 2014

What's New, in my Sight?

It is a bit of a technical post, but it's all good news.

I spent three hours at the Ophthalmology Clinic at Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center yesterday. My left eye has improved to 20/20 (-), meaning that it sees well.  However, vision in my right eye has not improved, and has in fact gotten somewhat worse since my visit last month.  The three hours were mostly spent waiting, but actually there were six periods of medical activity.  First, the routine eye test, technician's exam, eye pressure test, and administration of dilation drops.  Second, I sat for a topographical scan, done on a remarkable machine that provides an electronic picture of the macula, in cross section.  This scan allows the doctor to see and assess the degree of edema, fluid build-up, that may be affecting visual acuity.  Third, I met with Christopher Chapman, MD, my respected specialist, whose interpretation of the pictures called for still more pictures.  Back I went to wait for procedure four, an angiogram of my eyes.  In this session at the photographer's office, I was injected with a "vegetable dye" that, I was told, would likely have me urinating bright yellow and seeing things pink, while possibly making my skin look jaundiced for a day or two.  I laughed, and said, "I doubt that with my tanned face, anyone will see that last effect."  Fifth, I met again with Dr. C., who showed me that in the deeper views of the angiogram images, there were microscopic cysts that were containing the fluid, and that in my right eye, they were located so as to block much of the light as it passes through the macula to form its (normally) inverted image on the retina.  Hence, cloudy vision.  Dr. C. has decided to continue aggressive treatment using Avastin injections to try to shrink the edema, hopefully reducing the size of the cysts, if not eliminating them, altogether.  So, sixth, he moved me into a procedure room, where my right eye was prepped, and an injection performed.  I go in on 6 August for another, to my left eye, which also shows edema, albeit less disruptive to my vision.

I offer my thanks to my son Alex McDougall, who arrived at HNH at 06:00 yesterday to act as my driver, and waited patiently for all three hours.  Fortunately, Alex is a voracious reader, so I imagine his time was not wasted. When we finally got back to Campton, I cooked us rare beefsteaks and broccoli au gratin for lunch!

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