Monday, April 22, 2013

My date with the retina specialist

Intermediate AMD (Wikipedia link)
Today I went to the retina specialist that my eye doctor suggested I see. He didn't really say why, except that I do have macular degeneration, and he wanted a second opinion about how to treat it. I really liked this doctor, Dr. Subong, who answered every question I had. First of all, I learned that I have intermediate AMD (age-related macular degeneration), when I believed I only had "early" AMD. The difference is shown in this picture. Those little white spots are called drusen, and I've got lots of them.

The first thing they did in his office was take pictures of my eye, looking much like this one I snagged from Wikipedia. He told me that there was enough drusen that he would like to do a dye test to decide how to treat my AMD. It's called a Fluorescein Angiogram and is designed to detect the level of "soft" versus "hard" drusen. Apparently the soft stuff is worse, and the dye test was pretty painless, considering. It took about five minutes, but the nurse warned me that my urine will be fluorescent yellow for a day or two, and my other elimination (you know) will be bright green! It's perfectly normal, she said. The test wasn't bad, and I was bracing myself for the possibility of having injections in my eyeballs, but he said I don't need that... yet. Given the choice between going blind and having my eyeballs injected with medicine, I will take the latter.

However, he told me that my intermediate "dry" AMD might be kept at bay by taking a ton of antioxidant vitamins. So I went on Amazon and ordered several different formulations, to be delivered on a regular schedule, which is much cheaper than buying them from my local food cooperative.

I found a very informative website called with information on all forms of this disease and who it affects most often, with links to studies that are trying to find ways to deal with this most common form of blindness in older people. My great-grandmother had gone blind, I remember, but nobody else in my family has ever lived long enough for me to know if I am susceptible genetically.

The doctor also told me that it is not inevitable that I will go blind, since the disease takes a different path in every person it affects. I am hoping that I can manage it until I'm ready to cash in my chips. Nothing seems more devastating to me that going blind. I learned a lot today, and now I'm ready to relax! How was YOUR day?


  1. well, knowledge is always a good thing. glad you liked this specialist. i do hope the antioxidants will help slow down progression. and good luck with the very colorful eliminations! :)

  2. This sounds pretty good for a nasty situation. They make such speedy progress in treating the eyes that hopefully, in years to come, something will be discovered for treating your condition. Sounds hopeful. You're tough, hang in there.

  3. Oh my gosh, I do wish you well, DJan. Like you, I can't think of anything worse than going blind. I hope the antioxidants help you.

  4. I have been wondering how your test went at the doctor's office today; I'm so glad to read this blog report because it sounds encouraging to me, Jan. As you take your antioxidant vitamins and follow the advice of your doctor, I pray that your prognosis will be a wonderful one.
    I assure you that my prayers are that your sight will remain bright and beautiful...much like the outlook you have on life itself.
    You are amazing, and I continue to lift you up in prayer, thanking God for the gifts He has blessed you with and asking for His continued blessings on you.
    Thank you for this report.
    Have a lovely week, my friend.

  5. They've made great strides in treating this condition. Good that you like your doc and the knowledge is helpful.

  6. A friend recently told me during a distressing time of quote from the Dalai Lama.
    "If a problem has a solution, there is no need to worry.
    If a problem doesn't have a solution, there is no need to worry."

    I sounded like wonderful advise to me, and I hope it helps you as you come to terms with this condition.

  7. The outcome of your visit sounds pretty positive (other than very colorful eliminations). Of course knowing what you're dealing with makes a big difference. I'm a firm believer in antioxidants, so far I'm the only member of my immediate family who has never needed glasses.

  8. Thank you so much for bringing us this update. I was worrying. I am very glad that you liked the specialist - I think it makes a HUGE difference.
    I have everything crossed that the antioxidants help and that the specialist can derive a treatment plan for you.
    Cyber hugs.

  9. I'm glad you are getting the information and treatment you need to understand your condition and prevent/prolong it from taking you eyesight. And I'm glad you are sharing this information with us.

  10. Do you have it in both eyes D-Jan? It does rather look to me as if you have caught it early enough to at least keep it at bay for a while at least. Going blind is something we all dread, isn't it. I do hope you can arrest the development with the aid of the vitamin supplements and they will keep you young in other ways too, won't they. Keep smiling :)

  11. going blind would be hard...i think losing any sense after having it would be...i hope the treatment...the vitamins works for you...

  12. Those supplements are good. Lutein is in most MD eye supplements. I try to eat lots of kale and spinach which is rich in it. Also I just love the stuff.
    I am so glad you are getting early treatment. I truly believe there is a cure on the horizon.
    On the lighter side, sure glad they warned you about those pending day glow eliminations.

  13. DJan, thanks for the update. I was really praying that the Specialist would find that it was all a mistake and that you really didn't have a problem. But, it did sound like the prognosis wasn't all bad... with the possibility of keeping it at bay. You are well informed and your attitude is positive, so you will do fine. I have always found the quote, "What is, *is* and I can handle it" helpful. 'virtual hug', Rian

  14. Good to hear that there is something you can do to stall it until you are ready to kick the bucket! Thanks for sharing the info..I went to that site and read and read. Good advice for anyone! How often will you see this Doctor? Age related..those words kinda suck. A Doctor recently told me that I was getting older too..rats!
    I have sunglasses all over in each vehicle and my bold lady bag..since my cataract surgery my eyes are sensitive to bright sunshine..not that we have had much lately.
    It didn't snow yesterday..and today looks like sunshine!!! :)

  15. I'm sure the antioxidants will help. I'm surprised the doctor recommended them. Too many doctors don't believe in vitamins! Good luck with this.

  16. Thanks for sharing your news with us. I, too, hope the antioxidants help the situation!

    Blessings and Bear hugs!
    Bears Noting

  17. I pray everything you need will be available to you.

    Thank you for sharing, and the website.

  18. Ya gotta love a doctor that will turn you on to vitamins as a treatment for anything since so few do. Good for you for jumping on this so quickly. Get reliable info and then do what you can do- it's a recipe for success. May you live long, see well-ish and continue to do things you enjoy.

  19. Knowledge is power. Thankfully, you got some good feedback on this condition. Also, thankfully, you found a good doctor who gave you ways to treat this diagnosis. I hate the unknowns of any condition, but with your good sense, intelligence, and approach to life in general, I think you will take this condition head on and fight it with all you are worth.

    One of your greatest assets are those beautiful, penetrating blue eyes you were given. They see the beauty in the world and share that beauty with us. I hope that all of the strides that have been made in science will be put to good use to successfully guard your sight. Take care, my friend.

  20. I'm so glad to hear that losing your sight isn't a given. Did your research indicate if taking antioxidants at a younger age can help keep this condition at bay? I'd love to know so I can take proactive steps to protect my vision.

  21. Keeping you in my prayers. And, although I'm sure I don't need to tell you, follow the doctor's orders! They are making remarkable strides and he, presumably, knows what he's doing.

  22. My husband’s cousin has this condition – he has had it for at least 10 to 15 years (he is a retired physician himself.) He has been treated well and so far the only slight problem he has is driving when it is dark (he is 79.) The antioxidants will help a lot I am sure. So good too that you like your doctor – it makes a big difference. Take care.

  23. Oh my Djan I've had tis issue for many years now and It is going ok. I have been given special vitamins that have help. they are just for the macula. They are for the dry version. I am using extra glasses to enlarge things so I can use iPhone and laptop. It is still betterthan not seeing. luckily it takes much time before things get really bad. I've had this for 7 years and still manage but I now make many typos.
    I miss blogging but the move has been hard and my cancer has resurfaced:9(
    I am trying very hard to eat better and aork with alternative meds since chemo is not an option. I have absolutely no use for a drun that even doctors refuse for themselves.
    I have missed hearing from you and am hoping you will still keep in touch.

  24. I can remember growing up - Mom always saying "eat your carrots, they're good for your eyes". Ha,ha I ate lots of carrots. Good knowledge is a good thing - you have researched and asked questions and have faith in your Doctor and he said "treat" your eyes. Never knew much about this DJan until your post. Thanks for the info and hope everything goes well for you.

  25. first off, love the 'sunshine on my shoulder' post DJan.

    And secondly, this post about the eye. My BIL had the same thing, had some kind [don't recall at the moment] work done, and is now seeing better than ever. Today's knowledge and ways of 'fixing' age related problems are superior now.

  26. colorful eliminations!! will you be posting pics? ;)

    I'm glad you got all the info you need
    Once again you inspire me with your reaction and your immediate action to care for yourself
    You should give talks on how to avoid lethargy

    hugs from me and Hope

  27. I'm glad to see that at least Dianne had the same immature thought I did about posting photos of the colourful output in your near future.

    You sure can't go wrong with antioxidants. How encouraging to have a doctor who does indeed look to nutrition as a meas of controlling disease of any kind. Far too many just look to drugs. I think you have a good one there. I hope you'll be able to put it aside and relax for a while.

  28. Seeing a doctor you feel good about & answers your questions is a huge positive from the get-go. And the antioxidants sound like a good thing.
    You come across as very proactive about finding information & taking appropriate action, DJan, which always makes for a better outlook.
    I feel the same - vision is precious. I hope your weekend brings you beautiful views!

  29. My optometrist has shown me pictures like this of other people's eyes to compare to my own eyeball. This goes along with my post on good health. The optometrist says that one's eyes are the first look at illness and that the eyeball can tell a dr so much about the overall health of the patient. He has mentioned foods and vitamin supplements to help with this ailment. I hope your eye dr gives you good advice to halt the progression.

  30. It sounds scary, but you're doing all the right things to stay on top of things. We have a cousin who has advanced stages of macular degeneration but he's able to do a lot of things even with his limited vision. My nephew is blind and he's able to cook and take care of the house. Amazes me all the time. I know you're going to be fine, DJan. There's been so many advances.


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