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I could be blind before I'm 35

Anonymous
Posted by Anonymous
  • 9 Replies
I'm 33. I had the LASIK procedure 4 years ago and I was absolutely thrilled after having worn glasses/contacts for most of my life. I was a perfect candidate for LASIK. My vision was terrible but my eye was otherwise perfectly healthy. They run you through a battery of tests before they will agree to perform it. I had dry eye and light sensitivity after the surgery but I also had 20/20 vision immediately. I wore sunglasses, I took drops, I was happy. My vision was horrible before and the surgery almost gave me a new perspective on the world, if you can imagine.

Around six months after the procedure, at a regular check-in, they found that my optic nerve was "significantly" enlarged" and they wanted to do further testing. An enlarged optic nerve often precedes glaucoma but there are other causes. Glaucoma runs in my family and I felt devastated to find this out. Further testing revealed that I had a significant "blind spot" in the upper-right quadrant of my vision. They tested two more times to check my optic nerve and found it to be normal to only slightly enlarged. They said they would monitor it and insisted it had nothing to do with the LASIK procedure. All practitioners I have seen since have agreed that it would not be related. However, it is possible that because of the procedure, I was now having much better and more advanced eye care and so things were being noticed and discovered. They were just going to keep an eye on it.

A year after the procedure, I was not able to drive at night. This is a common but usually mild symptom of LASIK. I don't go totally blind at night but I have to concentrate extremely hard and it's uncomfortable. I also started having "floaters" in my vision. I would see small, grey spots and small, white blotches that would move around in my field vision, sort of like if you have something in your eye only you feel nothing. There is a certain way that they move and it's normal and not dangerous. It did not impact my vision because they are small, infrequent, and do not last but a second. Also, I almost exclusively only noticed it when I was driving. Again, they were going to keep an eye on it.

Another year passes and the floaters have gotten bigger, more frequent, longer-lasting, accompanied by eye pain and flashes of light, and and quite frankly, they're distracting. I also noticed them at other times than just driving. At night, the combination of darkness and grey floaters makes it impossible to see. I do not drive at night and I have to turn on the light if I want to get out of bed. The grey dots also now have a tail, it's very strange. It should be said that eye floaters often appear in people who have never had eye surgery or any other problems. I had no signs of injury to my eye- they healed perfectly and my vision was still 20/20. My doctors became concerned, I contacted several other doctors for second and third opinions. They all tested me and their results were inconclusive. They would continue to monitor.

Now it is a year and a half later, current day. I still pass visual field tests but my scotoma (blind spot) is significant and has spread. I still test at 20/20 vision because aside from my blind spot, nothing else is blurry. It's called a scintillating scotoma and it looks a lot like the picture on wikipedia but in a different area. Most people have blind spots but our brains make up for them. Somehow, mine is starting to fail at doing that. I tilt my head and use peripheral vision to make up for it.

The floaters and eye pain are now very common and accompanied by migraines. I feel uncomfortable in crowded, busy, or unfamiliar environments and I often feel distracted, like a small child constantly waving their hands in front of you. I can still see clear across the room when I can see around the floaters. I passed a vision test for my driver's license. I now have regular check ups and tests. I've had a full physical thrice over, been tested for many different degenerative disease, had brain scans, MRIs, the whole nine and nothing has come up positive or conclusive. My optic nerve has been monitored the entire time and it is found to be only slightly enlarged. My eye pressure and blood pressure are normal. My doctors have said that if the floaters worsen to the point where I am more significantly impacted, they will consider a procedure to remove the collagen in the eye that causes them. I am eager to have it done but it is not without risks and complications and my doctors are extremely hesitant to perform it. It can cause cataracts. Cataract surgery is a risk for persons at risk of Glaucoma. Right now they are not considering it, they are just telling me it is an option if it gets worse.


I don't know if I will lose my vision completely or when but in the last four years, I have gone from nearly legally blind to 20/20 vision to absolute torment with 20/20 vision. I am enormously lucky to have a job with benefits, insurance, and flexibility to allow me to go to all of these appointments and pay for all of this without anyone in my family knowing about it. At the same time, it is still undecided as to the cause. This could be found to be an underlying or pre-existing condition. It could end up being because of the eye surgery (although unlikely).

In all of this time, I have told no one. I told my fiancé and parents that I can't drive at night and go to a lot of appointments because of the LASIK, that's it. My children are small and have not noticed anything. I make them read to me now. I have a difficult time reading and reading what I type but I still manage at work. My fiancé thinks I just get irritable. In the mean time, I am trying to memorize every one of their faces. I want to forever remember the triangle of freckles on my fiancés face. I want to remember my children's blue eyes and the way my daughter's hair always turns blond at the ends. I'm scared that I will never get to see whose nose my son has or whose hair goes grey first, mine or my fiancé. I'm terrified that I won't be able to properly care for myself or my children and that my fiancé will have to care for me. Or worse, he'll leave. Or even worse, he'll never marry me in the first place.

Posted by Anonymous on Mar. 4, 2015 at 9:31 PM
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Replies (1-9):
slw123
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2015 at 9:45 PM

 I understand, I really do.  I had Lasik 10 years ago.  They claim it's not related, but I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration 2 years ago.  The kind that cannot be fixed (dry).  I wonder if I had never had the surgery if it wouldn't have happened.  I've noticed more and more recently that I have a 'shadow' in my vision in my right eye.  I just turned 40.  This eye disease mainly affects the elderly.

slw123
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2015 at 9:49 PM

 I also went from almost legally blind to 20/20 from Lasik. 

Anonymous
by Anonymous 2 on Mar. 4, 2015 at 9:51 PM
How scary. I'm so sorry. I think I will embrace my glasses from now on.
Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Mar. 4, 2015 at 10:10 PM
TY for sharing! Have you spoken to anyone who did think it was related?

Quoting slw123:

 I understand, I really do.  I had Lasik 10 years ago.  They claim it's not related, but I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration 2 years ago.  The kind that cannot be fixed (dry).  I wonder if I had never had the surgery if it wouldn't have happened.  I've noticed more and more recently that I have a 'shadow' in my vision in my right eye.  I just turned 40.  This eye disease mainly affects the elderly.

Anonymous
by Anonymous 1 - Original Poster on Mar. 4, 2015 at 10:11 PM
I think that if what is happening is not related to the surgery, I'll never regret it. Even if I go blind. If they do find it it's related then I feel like an ass. But I might never know.

Quoting Anonymous 2: How scary. I'm so sorry. I think I will embrace my glasses from now on.
Keara20
by Ruby Member on Mar. 4, 2015 at 10:19 PM
I know how you feel and I'm so sorry. I have glaucoma and nystagmus in my right eye, the glaucoma is in both. I had my lenses removed as an infant and had artificial ones out in in 2010, which caused the glaucoma. I went from having 20/200 in both eyes to 20/80 in both eyes, still wasn't able to drive a car but I was happy. I am now 20/300 in my left eye and 20/400 in my right. My right eye is absolutely useless. I might as well use an eyepatch.

Medical science is amazing and I'm sure they will be able to do something for yours and mine. Try not to lose hope, I know it's hard.
amberrain6
by Silver Member on Mar. 4, 2015 at 10:19 PM
Sorry to hear. I hope they can find a cure for you!
You write beautifully by the way.
slw123
by Silver Member on Mar. 5, 2015 at 8:16 AM

I see a Retina Specialist, he doesn't indicate that it is related, but I haven't flat out asked him either.  Either way it doesn't matter at this point.  I will lose my central vision sooner rather than later.   My regular eye doctor is the one who first noticed the change in my eyes, she was fully aware of my Lasik and also never indicated that it was related. I can't find any statistics that it would be online.  But I still wonder.   Regardless being able to see well for the last 10 years was a blessing beyond blessings.  I guess we take the good with the bad.  It just scares me that I won't be able to drive in a few years.

Quoting Anonymous 1: TY for sharing! Have you spoken to anyone who did think it was related?
Quoting slw123:

 I understand, I really do.  I had Lasik 10 years ago.  They claim it's not related, but I was diagnosed with Macular Degeneration 2 years ago.  The kind that cannot be fixed (dry).  I wonder if I had never had the surgery if it wouldn't have happened.  I've noticed more and more recently that I have a 'shadow' in my vision in my right eye.  I just turned 40.  This eye disease mainly affects the elderly.


Anonymous
by Anonymous 3 on Mar. 5, 2015 at 8:20 AM

I didn't have Lasik but my eyes are so bad. My retina is detaching and I get the floaters all the time. I have been told withnin another 10-15 yrs I will be considered legally blind.

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