After three weeks of more meds and hoping this hiccup did not count as ¨unstable,¨ I received some good news at the retinologist on Friday.
Hgh doses of steroids, whether focused or systemic, have some unpleasant side effects. Ophthalmic steroids can increase eye pressure a lot … and quickly. This time it did not.
Steroids can also have a paradoxical side effect and increase what we are rightfully trying to decrease. This time it did not, and the fluid in my retina has gone down.
This is more good news.
Also good is the news that this recent increase in the amount of fluid in my retina is just a blip, and not another episode of ¨unstable.¨ Early on in my treatment, Dr. Lin said I need to be stable for 3 years – that’s 36 consecutive months. I do not need to start counting to 36 months all over again.
As is usually the case, though, there is another side to the story. Before December of 2017, an ¨epiretinal membrane¨ (ERM) grew over my retina. The depth (height?) of the ERM is called the ¨central macular thickness¨ and it continues to increase. Between 300 and 350 is normal. I have never been ¨normal¨ amd am up to 488.
This is not good. Some people can have relatively high numbers and not be symptomatic (they can still see just fine). I am symptomatic. After I had my glasses fixed this past winter, I could read license plates and street signs. I can no longer do that. With glasses on, my vision is 20/50, which is better than it was before new glasses, and worse than it was after.
Which leaves us with the discussion of surgery. There are a number of problems to consider … Including that I have just the one eye left, and no matter how safe this surgery technically is, there are always complications. There is also the fact that ERMs don’t often cure themselves, and there is a risk of decreased visual acuity regardless. And by ¨decreased visual acuity,¨ I mean ¨blindness.¨
However, since Dr. Lin, who is out on maternity leave, would be the surgeon should I decide to go this route, and she doesn´t return till July … I have plenty of time to compartmentalize this away for awhile.
I do not have to make this decision in haste.
There is time.