Cataracts: The Eyes Have It
I came to his office for an eye exam; and left with an uneasy feeling. Since having been diagnosed with Sarcoid, over 10 years ago, I’ve had to go for regular eye exams, along with regular lung exams. Usually pretty routine. But this eye exam was a tad different. When Dr Sergio Peneiras of Brighton Eye Care was done with his full exam, he started telling me my vision hadn’t changed since my last visit a year ago. I was flummoxed. It seemed to me, my vision had changed dramatically around December of 2014. Dr Peneiras then said, “it’s probably due to your cataracts getting worse”. My WHAT? I had been to Dr Peneiras before, but certainly don’t remember him ever telling me I had cataracts! That’s one of those phrases you’d tend to remember.
We talked a little more, he said it could be from my Type II Diabetes, but I was way too young to have cataracts already. Dr Peneiras said, “… When you feel your cataracts are hindering your vision too much, I can recommend an ophthalmologist”. To which I answered, “I work at a computer all day, it’s already compromising my vision”. So he recommended and wrote a prescription for Dr Douglas Grayson of Omni Eye Service in Islen, NJ.
Fast forward to yesterday; Tuesday, September 29th at the Omni Eye Service office.
I left my apartment with plenty of time to spare. Only problem — all the PDF forms that I so meticulously filled out on my computer and printed — I left home! No time to turn back! Got to the office about ten minutes before my 12-noon appointment time. Just one minor hitch, there were about twenty people ahead of me! And that’s no exaggeration. All told, I spent four hours in that place! I sat for an hour and a half before being brought back to be seen by the first doctor; Dr Nadine Herman.
I really liked Dr Herman! She had a great bedside manner, really listened, was thorough in her examination and questioning. By the end of our examination, she already earned my coveted title of “Advocate”. The eye exams she put me through, were involved, indepth, and revealing — figuratively and literally. She was examining my cataracts with exacting care. This was the process to see the severity of the cataracts and measure me for the corrective lenses, Dr Grayson will surgically “install” in two separate surgeries.
When Dr Herman was done, she explained every detail of the two procedures, the time it would take each eye to heal, and most surprising of all, the actual type of cataracts I had. Of course, with my batting record, my cataracts would not be your run of the mill age-related cataracts — oh no! My cataracts were “steroid-induced cataracts or posterior subcapsular cataracts (PSC)”. Yes, my cataracts came from the very drugs used to battle my Sarcoidosis — prednisone! Yippee! WTF? I not only have my very own personal autoimmune disease, I have a new disease caused by one of the only drugs used to treat said malady! Bonus points!
For those who are looking for details on Steroid-induced cataracts — here you go:
Now that you know more than you might ever — or never — wanted to know about Steroid-induced cataracts; my story continues
Hours later, once Dr Herman was done, I had to then meet with Dr Grayson. Even though he is the surgeon doing both procedures on October 30 and November 13, he felt more like a seedy car salesman trying to upsell me on the more costly options of lens replacement. If I could, I’d have Dr Herman do the procedure; but she’s not the ocular maestro — Dr Grayson is. Sometimes you do have to put aside feelings to “get the job done” by the best person for that job. Once done with him I was sent to scheduling to set up the two procedures. If all goes well, and there are no hiccups, my eyesight will be back to normal — or as normal as it can be. I really can’t wait!
The single vision lenses I selected, as well as the surgery and follow up visits, will all be completely covered by my Horizon NJ Health insurance. My single vision lens will also correct my nearsightedness, but not any astigmatism that I have. So I will still need glasses to correct my astigmatism and for reading; which is fine by me. But if I wanted to spend $4,000.00 – $5,000.00 + out of my own pocket, I could get the deluxe package, which would include bifocal lenses, and insertion via laser surgery. Admittedly, the laser would be the way to go, since it helps speed up the healing process, but doctors have been doing the slice and dice method for a long time. It will mean a few more days/weeks of healing, antibiotic, and steroid eye drops; but is still worth the price of admission — FREE! Plus, if my eyesight does change, it’s more easily augmented with new glasses. So I’m happy with my choice. Now all I have to do is wait to have it done. And honestly, I will be happy to have clear vision once again!
This whole process was an eye opener — no pun intended — on multiple levels. I learned that all cataracts are not created equal, or for that matter, in the same way. And even though my cataracts are not “directly” caused by my Sarcoid, indirectly they are! Aren’t we having fun!
File Under: Sarcoid: The disease that keeps on giving!