My Retinal Detachment
I experienced a left-eye macula-off retinal detachment (RRD), caused by PVD, not trauma. I was surgically treated on Jan. 1, 2006, through Jan. 5, 2006. I received combinations of laser and cryo treatments to repair my two upper retinal horseshoe tears, followed by gas bubble treatment for the retinal reattachment.
I clearly remember the bright flash of light when my first retinal tear occurred several days before surgery. I unknowingly had horseshoe tears for about four days until the liquefied vitreous began to travel underneath my retina to begin the separation process. One tear occurred in the upper nasal area; the other in the upper temporal area. The actual retinal separation took place over about a six-day period until an opaque black veil blocked a significant portion (approx. 40%) of my left eye’s lower visual field.
I saw my retinalogist for the first time on New Year’s Day, when he began treatment. About six days following surgery, I was given an vision test. I emerged with 20/25 vision in my affected left eye. Thus, based on the classic measure of vision, my surgery was a resounding success.
However, the classic “vision acuity,” or VA, test did not – and does not – address other visual problems, anomalies or distortions that can surround retinal detachment and/or retina surgical repairs.
Post-surgery, I ended up with two visual conditions: 1. Aniseikonia, where all images seen through my left eye are perceived as smaller, compared to the images seen through my right eye; and 2. Patterned Metamorphopsia or more prosaically “pincushion visual distortion.” With patterned metamorphopsia, when I look at an Amsler Grid with my affected left eye only, all the squares take on what’s called the “pincushion distortion pattern,” where vertical straight lines no longer appear straight but, instead, appear pinched inward. There are no methods or surgical techniques today that can correct for patterned metamorphopsia.
On the subject of aniseikonia, my aniseikonia makes depth perception difficult, particularly when I look down and particularly at middle distances. My theory is that the aniseikonia was caused by unintended effects of laser and cryo “spot welding” surgeries associated with my two upper retinal horseshoe tear repairs; to retinal tissue stretching related to my retinal detachment; and/or to retinal stretching possibly associated with the gas bubble treatment.
When I look at a quarter with my bad eye (only), it appears to be the size of a nickel; a tablespoon, the size of a teaspoon. If I place a standard-size CD or DVD disc on my office chair and stand over it to view it solely with my good right eye, I have to move my head 14 inches closer to the disc to have it appear the same size as the image in my right eye.
Whatever the case, when I’m out walking, hiking or running, i.e., looking down to ensure safe foot plants, I experienced an unfortunate and disconcerting lack of depth perception. This detracted greatly from my outdoor exercise activities. This caused me to get on the Internet to figure out what could be done, if anything. It led to my discovery of Gerard C. de Wit, Ph.D., his excellent Aniseikonia Web site and his Aniseikonia Inspector software.
Finally, Relief from Aniseikonia, Thanks to Dr. de Wit
Before seeking out an aniseikonia solution, I spoke with NO FEWER than five eye care professionals, which included my original retina surgeon, and two optometrists.
Not one of them were able to explain, describe or articulate what was going on with my eyesight, what may have caused it, or even what my condition was called. And in three cases, I asked them to perform some kind of test or measurement on what I described as “seeing smaller images through my left eye compared to my right.” The doctors simply sleep-walked through their standard visual acuity tests, followed by the proclamation that my eyesight was “really good, especially given that you had retinal reattachment surgery!”
In each case I walked out of the doctor’s office with totally distorted vision, a firm pat on the back and advice that I should be happy.
It wasn’t until I reviewed the helpful resources on Dr. de Wit’s Web site that I could put a name to my visual condition. It was a godsend just to have a name for my visual anomaly!
Over the next few weeks, I emailed Dr. de Wit many, many questions and in every case, he replied with highly detailed, timely and understandable responses. He also helped me download, install and use the “Aniseikonia Inspector” software program on my home computer. I ran the tests, using the green/red glasses that I received in the mail from Dr. de Wit.
With Dr. de Wit’s help and his Aniseikonia Inspector software, I took the recommended eyeglass prescription to an optometrist. What came back was a new pair of sports sunglasses that corrected for my aniseikonia! The smaller images in my left eye are now magnified, which allows me to have depth perception while running dirt trails during my daily exercise. With these glasses on, I know when my foot and the ground will actually meet. They allow me to see the ground in 3D again!
I couldn’t be happier!
Plus I learned a profound lesson: There’s at least ONE PERSON in the entire universe who understands my vision anomaly and how to treat it.
I recommend Dr. de Wit and his services highly!
S. Uhler, Writer/Editor
California, United States