Dr. Don Steensma 465 W. Channel Islands Blvd, Port Hueneme, CA 805/486-3585
This patient almost became blind in both eyes.
A 64 year old Caucasian male presents for an examination only because he wife insists on it. She wants him to get a new look in glasses. His last eye examinastion was 5 years ago.
Apparently the left eye can only see outlines. He cannot see anything straight ahead with the left eye. He can see the outline of my head but cannot see my face. He says that his last eye doctor told him that he was blind in that eye and that nothing further could be done. He has not had an eye examination in the 5 years since then.
See the top photograph
: This is his left eye. Note the central whitish round area. This is a scar following a hemorrhage in the macula. Apparently, at some time in the past, he had developed Age Related Macular Degeneration (ARMD). There is a "Dry" form of ARMD which is much more serious than the "Wet" form of ARMD. He had the "Wet" form of ARMD in this eye. In the "Wet" form of the disease, a blood vessel below the surface grows into the macular area and then leaks blood there. When the blood is re-absorbed, a large fibrotic scar forms. This eye is legally blind and nothing can be done to improve central, straight ahead vision.
See bottom photograph : This is his right eye. The central whitish spots are called drusen. Drusen often are seen in peripheral areas of the retina without problem. When they are seen within that central macular area it is often a case of "Dry" ARMD. The most common type of drusen is called "Hard drusen" because of their sharp demarcations. As more and more drusen develop in the macula they begin to coaless into larger more fluffy drusen called "Soft drusen". Soft drusen are often associated with "Wet" ARMD. These drusen are soft drusen.
This patient was at risk of hemorrhaging in the left macula, probably leading to legal blindness in both eyes. He was immediately sent to a retinal specialist for further testing. By injecting a dye into his arm while looking in his eye, the retinal specialist was able to detect a blood vessel that was below the retinal surface and not normally visible. A laser treatment was performed to destroy the blood vessel. The patient will need on-going injections of a drug in his eye to slow or stop new blood vessels from growing. So far, vision remains good in his right eye.