It seems like a good time to catch up on the state of my eye health. 2017 was a year of such ups and downs for my eye, but the good news is that it is over and my eye seems to be pretty stable now.
I ended up having three surgeries last year to try to slow down the vision loss from secondary glaucoma. Surgery #1 at the end of July involved implanting the new Xen Gel Stent. That didn’t work. Surgery #2 at the end of September involved implanting a more traditional Baerveldt valve. The surgery met expectations for regulating my eye pressure, but had resulted in some issues with my pupil. I went back in early December for another surgical procedure to correct the adhesion of my pupil to my cornea. (Without that procedure I could have further damaged my cornea; the surgeon was also able to slightly reshape my pupil so that it looks a little less goat-like.)
I’m happy to say that in 2018, I don’t expect to have any eye surgeries! I will be going back to the surgeon next month to have the final stitch removed, and then I should be done with regular visits to the glaucoma specialist in San Francisco. I’ll keep seeing the local ophthalmologist for regular check ups and care.
Vision in my right eye is fair. I’ve had several visual field tests in the past three years that have documented the extent of vision loss from the glaucoma. Below is my most recent visual field test on my right eye. The darker the areas note either complete (black) or partial (gray) vision loss. I’ve lost quite a bit of peripheral vision from the areas closest to my nose, but the vision in the center and outer portion of the eye is still OK.
In practical terms, when looking strictly through my right eye, items in my visual field appear blurred, even with corrective lenses. The ophthalmologist said this could either be from the vision loss or from the cataract that is forming in my eye. Early cataract formation is an unfortunate side effect of all the eye surgeries I’ve had. The local eye doc did have a great suggestion to help me get the best vision possible from my eye, though. He urged me to try a rigid gas permeable (RGP) contact lens.
I found a local optometrist to consult for a fitting and he recommended I try a scleral lens. Inserting and removing this lens is a little tricky, but I’m getting the hang of it. Insurance should cover the full expense since I can’t achieve a very good correction with eyeglasses due to the irregular shape of my eye.
Over the past year or so, my brain has slowly retrained itself to use my left eye as my dominant eye, and this has helped, too. I can see well enough to drive, although night driving is a little more challenging so I try not to do too much of it. I won’t regain the vision I’ve lost to glaucoma, but I’ve staved off full vision loss for now. And that’s as good as it gets.