Wednesday, July 30, 2008

My Eyes - Part I (The Diagnosis)

Okay I've been talking about my eyes for awhile and some of you know the story, but most of you don't. Here it is. It's going to take several posts so it's best to read them in order.

About 10-11 years ago I was in desperate need of a new pair of glasses. I even considered giving contact lenses a try . . . as long as they didn't cost too much. I didn't have any vision coverage through work so everything was going to be paid "out of pocket". So where did I decide to go for a cheap eye exam and glasses? Walmart, of course.

The assistant had me take all kinds of tests with my eyes. For one of them I had to put my face up against a machine to look inside of it. There would be a random flash of light in various places and I would need to push a button every time I saw the light. I wondered why I didn't see as many lights on my left side as I did my right but then I didn't know if that was part of the test. When the assistant pulled the results she said I failed . . . miserably. After another couple of attempts at various test that I did horribly at she said I should really see the doctor and see what he wanted to do about the test.

When he came into the room he look one look at the test results, one look in my eyes and said "Yep, you've got keratoconus." Okay, but what is it?

Keratoconus is a progressive, degenerative eye disease of your cornea. Progressive because it changes over time. Degenerative because it gets worse. What happens is your cornea (the skin-like membrane holding your eye together) thins out over time. Because of the pressure of the fluids and all that stuff in your eye it puts pressure on that thinned out cornea and it bulges out in a cone shape. So instead of your eye being nice and round like a baseball, it's more cone shaped like the end of a football. If you want to know what that makes your vision look like have a look at the photo. Since the light coming into your eyes hits your lenses at all kinds of angles you get overlapping images in your vision.

The doctor said that Keratoconus is considered a medical condition and not a vision condition I would need to go to my medical doctor and get a referral to see a specialist. Thankfully everything would be covered under my medical coverage (which I did have) but getting to that point was a pain in the butt.

It took three months before I finally got everything approved and referred by my HMO and I got in to see a specialist. He confirmed the diagnosis and laid out what the treatment options were. That was when my life started to fall apart emotionally. But I'll cover that in another post.


Trinity said...

Have courage! Your doctor might not be telling you about the latest treatments. Please visit these sites to learn more, and to connect with other keratoconus patients around the globe. The key to stopping keratoconus is corneal collagen crosslinking

Trinity said...

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