On 12 March 2017, my sister and I will once again be walking 14 miles from Moorfields Eye Hospital to the London Eye (via the scenic route) to raise money for sight-saving research. This year, we’re taking part as a team, along with other people who have been affected by retinal detachment. I thought it would be interesting to share the stories of my fellow team-members, so this week it’s Nickie’s turn. Nickie is Alex’s best friend (you can read Alex’s story at: https://rdramblings.wordpress.com/2017/01/15/eye-to-eye-2017-alexs-story/) and she’ll be walking with us along with her labradoodle, Cindy. Nickie and Alex have known each other for 32 years and shared various trends together, including the dubious one of retinal detachment. The cause of Nickie’s retinal detachment was her myopia (short sightedness). People who are very short sighted are at a higher risk than others of having a retinal detachment. Usually this is only people who have high myopia, greater than -6 (i.e. they are very short sighted). So now it’s over to Nickie…
My experience of having a detached retina began in 2008. For a couple of months i was experiencing dark floaters in my right eye, that would settle in the right hand bottom corner of my eye. This would last for quite a while and was worse when i was tired. I explained this to my option, they did a thorough examination of my eye, but could not find anything. They gave me the advice of “if you see bright flashing lights come back”.
Fortunately or unfortunately, i never witnessed the bright flashing lights, just the floaters settling for longer and covering more of my eye.Then a few months later, one evening when lying in bed waiting to go to sleep, I lost the vision in my right eye. That was quite scary initially, but when I blinked my vision came back. This happened a few times until my vision didn’t come back. I thought that because i was tired that if i went to sleep, by the morning all would be ok. Which oddly enough, by morning i had full vision in my right eye.
During that day, i had difficulty seeing when climbing the stairs at work. Whilst driving home that night, i slowly experienced the vision in my eye disappearing. I know now, it was called the curtain effect, and thinking about it now, it was just as if someone was drawing the curtain over my vision.I drove to the near by walk in centre, who informed me there was nothing they could do about it that night, but strongly advised me to go to the emergency eye department at the local hospital, in the morning. This I did, to be informed, after many hours of assessments, eye tests, eye drops etc etc, that i had two tears in my retina. They booked me in for surgery the following day.
I had a surgical procedure called “a buckle”. The consultant monitored me but in two weeks time I was undergoing further surgery to my eye, as the repair they did hadn’t worked, and i needed to undergo further surgery. This time, i was to have a “gas bubble”. Both lots of surgery lasted 2 to 2 and a half hours under sedation. No GA for me – consultant choice (think he thought i was tough – little did he know!). Fortunately he was an extremely good surgeon who specialised in retinal detachments.
During my recovery, for the first two weeks, i had to spend looking down at the ground. I was not allowed to look up. That was quite hard, though i did realise how dirty my carpets were!! I ended up with a total of about 10 weeks off work – day time TV has not improved over the years!
I went back to work two weeks before Christmas in 2008, and then had to have a cataract op in February 2009. This was due to the gas bubble clouding my lens. A contraindication to the surgery.
I can remember little bits and events of each of my eye ops, some funny and some so not. Though my eye is much better, i do experience some high pressure behind the eye, which i am now on daily eye drops for. However,at the end of the day, i am very thankful to my consultant. Thanks to him, i have fairly good sight back in my right eye.
Probably, like most people who have lost their slight (hopefully) temporarily, from a detached retina, I realise how precious my sight is.