First one wet macular degeneration and one dry; then both wet

by David
(South Africa)

As a 65 year old male, tall and thin, I was struggling to see my detailed work of electronics. At a visit to the optometrist she told me that she could not help and that I needed to see an eye surgeon.

The ophthalmologist told me that I had cataracts in both eyes and that I also had age-related macular degeneration (ARMD), one wet and the other dry. I then asked him that as I did not have medical aid nor enough money for his private treatment would he kindly give me a referral letter to the state hospital. No, he said, I myself will treat you!

His name is Dr. Peter Ambrose. He immediately gave me the first of many injections of Avastin, directly into my 'wet' eye to stop, slow or even possibly reverse the damage. My eye responded well to that treatment. He also scheduled my first cataract removal and intra-ocular lens implant operation for 10 days hence. The injections continued and about a year after the first cataract removal he gave me a laser treatment to repair what is sometimes called an after cataract where the hammock securing the lens also gets cloudy.

The result was immediate and stunningly beautiful. He then scheduled the second cataract op. on my 'dry' eye. Both operations were carried out with a general anaesthetic. Again it was successful.

About a year after that I contracted the more serious form of tuberculosis known as multi drug resistant TB. Because of the TB I nearly died, not only from the disease itself but also from the effects and side effects of the very toxic medication. During this period I was unable to attend the eye injections. Once I had recovered from the TB I went back to Dr. Ambrose and learned that my wet eye had fallen to 5% acuity and my dry eye had also transformed to wet. That acuity was now 60%. I am totally functional with my eyesight just enjoying all the crooked lines of buildings etc. and seeing cars on the highway as though one side of them had been pinched and pulled up by a giant hand as though they were made of plastercine.

The real difficulties are very poor night vision and in poor lighting having to look through a cloud, hence no detailed sight. The only other problem is it takes a few seconds to recognize an object especially if it is on the same colour background.

I am now 70 and just enjoying myself, I'm not worried, I know there are problems, but hey, these things come with age, preferable to the down under option. What I can and do do is to show Dr. Ambrose that his effort and generosity was well placed with me by simply enjoying myself. (I think he is actually an angel.) I forgot to mention that my colour vision is also poor.

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