Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Vision Loss Redux Part II

I always like to check out the FAQ section of websites, just to see which questions I should be asking if I haven't asked them already.

Why are you in the hospital? See Here

So, what exactly "is back?" Two years ago, I experienced partial vision loss from a branch retinal artery occlusions in my right eye, then several months later, in my left eye. Now, it has occurred again in my left eye.

What is an arterial occlusion??
If you look at the picture (click to enlarge), you will see a retina (not mine). The picture has been taken after dye was injected. The dye has caused the arteries to show up dark. The lower right arrow is pointing to a blood clot (embolism) that became lodged in the artery. The three arrows to the left are pointing to an artery that is completely blocked as a result of the clot. The "Retina Whitening" area is where the retina is becoming swollen.

That blocked artery has deprived the retina of oxygen, resulting in almost immediate vision loss along the that portion of the retina. So, the vision loss (at least in my case) imitates the shape of the artery at first, then it takes on the image of the blotch where the retina is swollen.

Interestingly, when I looked at pictures of my retina from the first incident, the shape was identical to what I saw on the blank wall I used to identify my vision loss.

What is the vision loss like?
Have you ever tried to find your blind spot? It's something like that. It's not as if I have black spots in my vision, rather it's more like a gray smudge. Like if you wear your glasses for too long without cleaning them. When I take the vision test, I have great vision in my right eye, I just can't look directly at the letters because the original blind spot will cover them up.

What is causing the arterial occlusions?
The presumed culprits are dissections in my carotid arteries.

What is causing the dissections?
That's the million dollar question

Aren't you too young/healthy for this?
Evidently not. Though I am healthy in every other respect.

What tests have you undergone?
Since I've been here, I've had an MRA (lots of gremlins in a big machine hammering and banging six inches from my face), an angiogram (I got to see a picture of the catheter in my chest - very cool) and a CT Scan [picture] (ever see Stargate? something like that except that there was no alien species on the other side). I am yet to undergo a TEE tomorrow.

Do you have these genetic characteristics in your family?
Not that I know of. Although William was not the luckiest man, there has been no mention of vascular disease.

Do you need a haircut?

If you have more questions, please e-mail and I'll post them if I know the answers.


s u s a n said...

I have a question - completely hypothetical. If you were driving through a drive-through, and you knew your sister wanted something to eat but she couldn't decide what, would you order two cheeseburgers and give her one? Or would you order two cheeseburgers and EAT THEM BOTH IN FRONT OF HER? Just...totally hypothetical....just curious...;) Actually, thanks for this, it will help me in explaining to the people who are asking about you.

iceman said...

Wow! I work in eye surgery and never saw something so well explained!! Dan, please know that we are praying for you. As an aside, if you need a good retina surgeon, I worked with the best around this area.