Retirement is a week filled with Saturdays and Sundays interrupted only occasionally by a holiday.

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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

The Eyes Have It

This has been a tough day and I’m feeling a bit depressed. Rick and I went to our longtime optometrist this afternoon for our annual exams and my news was not particularly happy.

First off, I’ve been nearsighted since I was in elementary school. I can still remember how excited I was when I got my first pair of blue sparkly glasses in 5th grade. I thought they made me look so much older and smarter. Little did I know what a pain they’d become particularly when I finally needed progressive lens a few years ago when I reached that magic middle-aged number. In between, I did wear contact lens for a while but gave them up when my allergies made it impossible to wear them.

Anyway, I’ve known for some time now that the vision in my right eye was deteriorating. It was always my problem eye (twice as bad as my left) and, within the last few years, the nearsighted vision has become worse and worse. Even so, I was taken aback when the doctor told me today that my right eye can no longer be corrected to 20/20 with glasses….only 20/25. I know that doesn’t sound like a big deal but I’m afraid that the vision will continue to worsen to a point where it will become difficult to focus and see clearly even with my glasses.

According to Dr. A, the bad news is that I’m not a candidate for Lasix surgery. The good news (I guess) is that eventually I will be a candidate for intraocular lens replacement. Basically (very much like cataract surgery) they will surgically replace my deteriorating lens with a brand new man-made one which should give me perfect vision. Yep…that will mean no more glasses so I guess that’s a positive thing even though I’m a little nervous about having someone cutting into my eyes at some point. Still…it’s not going to happen for quite some time so I guess I shouldn’t worry about it now.

And, to add insult to injury, what made this day even worse was that I, once again, failed the field of vision test which detects problems with peripheral vision. Apparently my right eye has a blind spot when I look to the right and now I have to make an appointment with my HMO ophthalmologist to have it looked at. And, when I called my HMO to make an appointment when I got home, the receptionist told me I have to wait to make an appointment until my non-HMO optometrist faxes a referral to them even though I was seen in the Ophthalmology department a few years ago for another problem. Can you say “GRRRRRR…?”

15 comments:

Linda said...

All of this HMO and non-HMO stuff is enough to make a person see red!

I am sorry to hear about your right eye and hope that it doesn't deteriorate too quickly on you. I really need to go see an eye doctor as I know my vision has started to go but with my lousy insurance, even if the doc says I need glasses I can't afford them as my insurance pays nothing for them. Sometimes I think having no health insurance might be better than the stuff I have!

Renee said...

I know that eye surgery sounds really scary but everyone I know who has had some form of it (cateracts & lasix) they were all very happy with the results and were not too bothered by the surgery...they all wished they had done it sooner.

Best of luck dealing with the HMO run-around.

Patti said...

sorry to hear about your eye problems
but Renee is right about the results of surgery.

There was zero recuperation time and no pain in my mother's case. She is getting used to everything being "brighter" though.

Mom said...

Referrals and insurance are a big pain. the blessing is that you can still see and the outlook is good.

Pam said...

That's too bad that the news wasn't great for your right eye, but I'm glad they will be able to do something about it eventually. And good luck with the HMO run-around. Grrr is right.

Susie said...

I'm wondering if your HMO is the same as ours here in CA (the biggest one in the state?)
Bill had to have the cataract surgery last year, and he was dreading it too.
The difference it made in his vision was absolutely miraculous. He will have his other eye done probably in the next year or so.
My vision has never been able to be corrected to 20/20 even with glasses..
xo

patches said...

Ugh referrals! Insurance can't live with the red tape, can't afford not to jump through hoops. Sorry, Joan.

the moose buyer said...

The caratc surgery was great and I highly recommend it. I can see 100% out of my right eye which was legally blind before the surgery. Unfortunately I still need the glasses for the left eye which isn't bad enough for surgery and you know I won't bother with the lasek surgery for it.

PEA said...

I had my right eye operated on when I was 8 years old...I was cross eyed in that eye and they corrected it. Due to the surgery, though, I did lose some sight in that eye and although I only need glasses to drive and read from far, I'm guessing eventually I will need to wear my glasses all the time. I can imagine how depressed you felt after your appointment but I'm sure everything will turn out in the end. xox

Lynne said...

My right eye is much worse than my left, but my glasses help (when I wear them!). At least you know that it can be corrected surgically at a later date. Good luck with the HMO-referral run-around!

Mary said...

Joan,

So sorry to hear that your sight is deteriorating. I have glaucoma and I dread having to go for that field test. I don't like it at all.

I was lucky enough that laser treatment has slowed any deterioration of my eyesight. It is my left eye that gives me the trouble. The pressure in it is always higher than that in the right eye.

I hope you are feeling better. Remember that you are fortunate to have your sight even if it is 20/25. I don't mean to make light of your problems. I'm hoping that your eyes can be 20/20 after future surgery.

Hang in there. I hope tomorrow is a better day for you.

Mary

Joan said...

Linda: You'd think the HMO would treat me kindly since I'm paying out of pocket to see a private optometrist instead of going to one of their ophthalmologists on a regular basis. Go figure...

Renee: I'm a little leery about that type of surgery only because my mom had problems with one of her eyes right after her cataract surgery. Oh well...I wont worry about it now.

Patti: What can I say...I'm a fretter.

Mom: You're absolutely right...I should feel blessed that I can still see.

Pam: I've been an HMO patient for more than 30 years...you'd think I'd get used to the idiocy.

Susie: I'm pretty sure our HMOs are the same...mine starts with a "K". Anyway, I know I shouldnt be too disappointed about not seeing 20/20...I've spent the last year peering through the right lens of my glasses and the vision was far far worse than 20/25.

Patches: One of the reasons I've stuck with this HMO for so long is that I dont have to do any paperwork or submit requests for payment etc. I'm just a lazy person I guess.

The moose buyer: I'm hoping that, if they do the surgery eventually on the right eye and it turns out well, they'd be willing to do my left one so I could go without glasses. Oh wait...I go to an HMO...what chances do I have that they'll do surgery when it's not absolutely required?!?!?!

Pea: When I was young I had a "lazy" eye but we were able to cure it with exercises...no surgery, thank goodness. I only wish I could improve my sight now with a little work.

Lynne: When I was young, I started out wearing glasses only to the movies and when I needed to see the blackboard. It didnt take long before I was wearing them all the time...sigh.

Mary: Thanks for visiting. I'm sorry to hear about your glaucoma. My grandmother had it many many years ago and I know they've made great progress in treating the disease. Hopefully they will continue to help you maintain your sight as the years go by. You hang in there too!

Mary said...

Joan,

I have a little something for you to pick up over at my blog. It's in the upper right-hand corner. Enjoy!! I find you to be an amazing woman.

Blessings,
Mary

meno said...

As a fellow wearer of glasses since the 4th grade (yes, mine too were blue with sparkly stars at the corner) i feel your pain.

I has lasik about 5 years ago and it's been great. But, i can feel the hot breath of reading glasses on the back of my neck, waiting. waiting....

Bruno Hill said...

Just think of it this way: at least you're still a candidate for a corrective eye surgery. You'll still have that chance to have that good vision again. Anyway, did you have that surgery already?