Friday, January 21, 2011

Eye Eye - It's Torbay

Time for a bit of an eye update. Many friends/readers/ne'er-do-wells were very kind when I had a dose of the miseries and posted about an iritis inflammation compounding my RP; I received lots of goodwill messages for which I once again say Thank You.

This has prompted me, probably erroneously, to think that my trip to Torbay today might summon up a smidgeon of interest.

Torbay Hospital - headline shot, attractive isn't it? - has a very highly regarded eye clinic and I asked to be referred there to have this iritis checked out. The appointment was duly made and today was the day.

Mrs The Millbrooker and I were in the car and heading for Plymouth and the 08:53 iron horse to Newton Abbot where we would change for Torre and thence a short walk to the hospital for the allotted time of10:30. It proved to be a bad day to be trying to catch a Torpoint ferry - the queue for the 08:20 was backed up beyond the entry into Fore Street (for non-locals - that means you'll definitely miss your intended ferry and the next one).
Nothing for it but to drive. We still had two hours to get there. Luckily, the traffic through Totnes was only horrific rather than catastrophic. Before anyone tells me that we should have gone through Newton Abbot - I know. I just didn't know at the crucial moment when a turn-off beckoned that looked as if it might be the right one.

To cut a long(ish) story short - we arrived in the nick of and I made myself known at the eye clinic reception. We began what I expected to be a long, dreary wait. I expected that because that's what always happens at eye clinics - trust me I'm something of a connoisseur.

But no! Only a few minutes went by before I got called in for a quick acuity test using the traditional Snellen chart. Verdict: knackered. I can just read the single big top letter with my left eye (with corrective glasses on!) and can make a decent guess at the next line down and can take a stab at the third line - after that - nothing. Right eye? Not even the top letter.
Another short wait and I was ushered in to see the doctor. Mrs The MIllbrooker explained about this blog and he kindly allowed a photo.
Note medieval looking contraption into which I have to stick my head while Mr Doctor shines unfeasibly bright lights into my eyeballs. After an examination, a scan of the retina in both eyes and a very in depth set of observations - I was told that not only do I get to enjoy retinitis pigmentosa and iritis (still active in the left eye apparently, though not painful at the moment) but I have cataracts as well!

This is not the beginning of a self-pitying whinge. The doctor was so good at explaining exactly what he could and couldn't do, the timescales involved and the priorities to be taken, that I've come away feeling rather good and optimistic.

So here it is - first up a regimen of steroids to drop into my eye several times a day to try and clear up the current iritis.

Next a dye test (they'll inject me with bright yellow dye and take some photos inside my eyes) which will tell them exactly where to aim with possible treatments. No miracles expected; RP is incurable and untreatable but some macular degeneration might respond to treatment. I'll have to go back to the clinic for that one, obviously.

Then a probable operation to remove the cataracts which might - just might - mean that I get to see straight lines again! Huzzah!

Now - why couldn't Plymouth's Royal Eye Infirmary be as good as these guys? The stories I could tell about that place........

Additional photos shamlessly nicked from, respectively:

1 comment:

Judith said...

Good luck! I hope it works out for you.