Over the past few years I have complained about the difficulties of driving at night, particularly in rain. I figured it was one of the benefits of growing old. More recently I have noticed how my vision has been variable over the course of the day, generally being at its worst in the morning, but gradually improving during the day. I guessed that my blood sugar was varying over the day, changing my vision in the process.. At last, I found my glasses were not correcting my sight well enough most of the time, and I called on my friendly neighborhood optometrist for a checkup.
“Hmmm.”. Along with “oh-oh” that’s a word you don’t want to hear when you’re having any kind of check-up. In this case, it preceded the strange (to me) pronouncement of “your right eye is uncorrectable.” That turned out to mean that a visit to the ophthalmologist was in order. There’s a long lineup, so it wasn’t for a few weeks that I got the next part of the message, which wasn’t, as I expected, that I was developing cataracts, but rather that I had a relatively rare genetic condition which results in a corneal problem called ‘Fuchs Dystrophy’ (or sometimes ‘Fuchs Endothelial Dystrophy’ or FED for short). This results in the cornea turning white, with occasional painful blisters. In other words, I’m going blind – and since it affects both eyes, it will be complete and total. Ugh.
Fortunately there is a transplant treatment, so at some time in the future I can hope for a few endothelial cells to be slipped under my cornea, and if that goes well, a couple of weeks later my vision will be on the road to (more or less) recovery. It won’t be perfect vision, be it will be good enough for me to navigate around a room, and probably enough for me to keep reading.
For this to work for me and other sufferers we will need donors. So sign your donor cards when you renew your drver’s license! You’ll feel good about yourself.