On my blindness

Eye of the Beholder 

I’ve had a challenging year so far. While attending a conference in Hawaii, I developed inflamed optic nerves which led to pain, swelling, edema, some hemorrhaging and a partial retinal detachment. I am doing much better now but it continues to be a challenge.

I became functionally blind in just a few hours. I spent January 6 at the emergency room at Waimea – which was very well set up. Had an MRI to make sure no stroke, tumor, etc. They got me in to an ophthalmologist – Dr. Myster–  down in Kailua (luckily my wife was there to drive) who did all sorts of tests. I could not see anything in my right eye and everything in my left eye was just blogs of colors. The doctor was initially worried because an infection of the optic nerve can lead right to the brain if I had caught some disease. But she spent some time getting a course of action planned out. She did a wonderful job. I just wish I could have seen all the data ;-) Heck I am not sure I could recognize her if I ever saw her again.

She got us in to see Dr. Ng who specializes in retinal problems and who, as it turns out, is kind of like me – loves to solve puzzles. He got me on some prednisone and took a lot of tests. It is likely some sort of auto-immune disorder but whether one they know of or an unknown type – idiopathic is what doctors use when they do not know – we will find out.

The pain went down in hours. I started getting my vision back as the swelling went down and the eyeball was not being distorted. The retina reattached itself in my right eye. By Monday the 13th, my vision in both eyes is about 20/40. They are not back to normal but at least I can see enough to use a keyboard. 

It could be several weeks more on prednisone before the swelling is completely down. And we will not know if I can come off the steroids or not until we have a better idea of the cause. Now we just have figure out the cause. He ran lots of bloodwork so maybe I’ll be lucky.

At least I can see. I was able to spot a whale before I left Hawaii. I also got to eat at some new places (a travel hint – always ask the staff where a good place to eat nearby. They know – although you do have to realize that the Hawaiians LOVE their buffets!!)

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