About a year ago, I was due to have my cataracts removed and was incredibly hopeful that my vision may improve slightly, or at least crisp up a bit. I had to cancel the surgery because our insurance won’t pay for anything relating to a pre-existing condition, for 5 years. I still have more than 3 years to go, so I decided to get new glasses. We found a lovely optical shop in town with lots of lovely frames, so I decided to treat myself and replace all of my cheap frames. It’s been a long time since I had really nice glasses.

Of course the whole process began with an eye exam. The optician was great and taught me some new things. She tested my eye muscles (a first for me) and discovered my eyes are being over worked because the muscles just don’t want to cooperate. She recommended some special lenses that would hopefully help my eyes feel less tired from prolonged periods on the computer. She also tested my reading vision, and for the first time, reading glasses were recommended. I got very hopeful that maybe reading glasses would help me do something I haven’t been able to do in years, read a real book. I can read a lot of poetry books because the fonts are often a bit bigger and the lines spaced further apart, but I can’t read novels or short stories at all; the lines blur and meld and words often disappear altogether. It has been one of the heaviest losses for me as my vision has changed. I actually got a little emotional in the optician’s office, but she did warn me that the glasses may not help.

I got my distance and computer glasses back first. The new distance prescription is working great, but I am still trying to figure out if the prism lens is making a difference with the computer glasses; sometimes the adjustment period with new glasses can be a bit of a trial. I did adjust the font size on my computer to one smaller, so that is probably a good sign.

Today, I picked up my reading glasses. The frames are super cute, but I still can’t read a book. I suppose the words are staying a bit more still, but I can’t make out a single one. At least the time waiting for the glasses to be made lessened my hope and excitement about a good outcome. Nothing got worse. It’s all still the same and I still have my kindle.

I also had a visual field test and an OCT (optical coherence tomography) scan. I don’t know why, but I didn’t ask about my visual field test results; I suppose it doesn’t really matter as I know my visual field is greatly diminished. The results of the OCT were offered without me asking. In both eyes I have an epiretinal membrane (like a cataract, they can cause problems with central vision), and in one the membrane is apparently pulling on my macula. It may be that it was this way when I saw the cataract surgeon, but if it is a new development, I will need to see another specialist to determine if I need surgery. This surgery I wouldn’t be able to put off. My central vision is good for someone with RP, but the fact that my useable vision is being double teamed by cataracts and epiretinal membranes, is a bit upsetting.

Focusing on red lights and green x’s and holding my eyes open to be assaulted by super bright lights, has left me in pain, exhausted, and honestly, feeling a bit defeated. It sounds crazy, but I am so used to living with RP that I sometimes forget I have it, forget the gravity of it. Days like today are a reminder that I am broken and can’t ever be repaired.