Middle-Age Memoirs : Cataracts and Fuch’s Corneal dystrophy

I have been told I may need a cornea transplant someday. Here’s my story, so far…

My vision took an extreme nose dive over the past 18 months. Since I got glasses at the age of 16, my vision has, more or less, been the same. (about -3.30 – 20/250 always correctable to 20/20) About 2 1/2 years ago, I noticed words and pictures just weren’t as clear as they should be. I went to my normal optometrist, who told me to get over it, I was just getting older and couldn’t expect to see clearly at my age (49 at the time). He actually said that and yelled at me, telling me I was middle age and couldn’t expect to see like I used to see. He was able to get me to 20/20, kind of, and I went on my way.

Throughout that next year, my vision deteriorated quite quickly. I could no longer drive at night, and watching television, specifically reading words on tv, was difficult. So, when it was time for my next eye exam, about 18 months ago, I went to a new optometrist. (I was obviously not going to see that other guy!) She explained that my vision had gone from -3.30 (about 20/250), and correctable to 20/20, to -5.70 (about 20/500) correctable only to 20/40, which is barely legal to drive. That’s also when I was first diagnosed with cataracts at the ripe old age of 50! She told me that when my vision couldn’t be corrected to 20/40, it would be time for surgery.

After my move to Colorado, I knew I would need a new prescription. My vision has deteriorated even further than 18 months ago and I was convinced I wouldn’t be able to pass the vision test to get a Colorado driver license. So, I found an ophthalmologist (eye doctor/surgeon) who told me my vision, WITH MY CURRENT PRESCRIPTION, was 20/100 in my left eye and 20/400 in my right eye and could only be corrected to 20/60. It is now time for cataract surgery, which is scheduled for December.

I saw 2 different eye doctors who both diagnosed me with Fuch’s Corneal Dystrophy. They explained that instead of being smooth, as it should be, my cornea looks like the surface of an orange peel. This isn’t something that can be corrected, at least not now. That’s what my doctors tell me anyway. On the bright side, this is a slow moving disease. They tell me in about 20 years, I may need a cornea transplant. In the meantime, my vision could slowly get worse. Many people are asymptomatic (no symptoms), Hopefully, that will be me. However, the last thing I want is a cornea transplant, even if it is 20 years away, so, I hope to change that through, you guessed it, nutrition.

Fuchs’  (fooks) corneal dystrophy is a hereditary eye disease with symptoms that often become noticeable after the age of 50. Ultimately, it causes loss in vision which can be treated with a cornea transplant.

http://www.cornea.org/Learning-Center/Conditions-Research-Areas/Fuchs-Dystrophy.aspx

“These two images show endothelial cells, the cells that make up the endothelium. The image on the left depicts a healthy endothelium where hexagonal cells are clearly outlined. The image on the right shows an eye with guttae, which would be diagnosed as Fuchs’ dystrophy.” ~ Cornea Research Foundation

I asked my doctors about nutrition, and, just like I expected, they say there’s nothing I can do. Nutrition can’t help. I beg to differ. All cells in the body are formed from the food we eat. I’m hoping my doctors are wrong and there is a cure through nutrition. Aside from getting my business up and running, researching Fuch’s Dystrophy and eye health is going to be my main focus. I began my research by purchasing several books on eye health and nutrition, along with cell apoptosis (cell death- death of cells on the cornea are the main cause of Fuch’s).

I will be keeping you up to date on my research and any eye health, healing or foods I come across. I will also make a Eye research reference page for anyone else who may be looking for information.

Closing thoughts

I knew I had bad eyes, but I had no idea just how bad. I look back on my bad diet and lifestyle when I was younger, such as my soda addiction, and wonder if I could have prevented it. My doctor assures me it was nothing I did…I am just unlucky. I do know that Fuch’s Dystrophy is genetic. With that said, I know, through my schooling, that just because you have a gene mutation for a specific disease doesn’t mean you are 100% guaranteed to get it. Gene mutations are usually triggered through lifestyle choices and my past lifestyle choices, weren’t always the best. I fear those choices, bad food and lack of exercise, may have caught up with me. If that’s the case, maybe good choices can cure it. We shall see.

Until next time…Namaste my friends

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