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[IP] forgoing laser?

Hi Ginny,
   Thank you for your reply but you've got me a little bit worried with the
story about your mom.
   You said:

>>I do want to share that a specialist at the University of Iowa doesn;t
believe laser surgery isn't always the fix all but in many cases it can do
more harm. My mom went
through a couple of lazer surgeries due to diabetic retinopathy and they
didn't help. My dad read the specialist's article (oe from Iowa) so mom has
been going out there and no lazer and her vision is clearing up and doing
good. In fact if she had the laser she would have gone blind. >>

I want to be sure I understand this because the implications are important:

1) Does your mother have proliferative retinopathy or background
retinopathy, maybe with some macular edema?
   (Anyone unsure of the difference, I send you to the page suggested by
Barbara B. yesterday, at http://www.konnections.com/eyedoc/pdr.html Follow
the hypertext link there to "background retinopathy.")

2) I'm unfamiliar with the use of such a short course of laser as would be
implied by a couple of laser surgeries.  Why did she receive only a couple
of surgeries?

3) What is she doing instead of laser and how long has she been doing this?

4) You say her vision is clearing up. Does that mean she has had a
hemorrhage into the vitreous and that is absorbing? (If so, that is what
happens even without any treatment. The laser doesn't remove the blood in
the vitreous. It is intended to stop the bleeds from occurring by halting
the proliferation of new blood vessels.) If  "clearing" refers to a
hemorrhage that is being absorbed, does her doctor's plan deal with stopping
hemorrhages in the future? Or does "clearing" mean that is her vision is now
in sharper focus, the result of reducing the   swelling from macular edema?

5) Why do you say she would have gone blind with the laser?

I want to understand because:

1) I'm curious

2) I'm nervous about leaving folks with the impression that someone who is
manifesting retinopathy can delay or skip laser surgery, at least not before
there is a well-researched alternative. I didn't enjoy laser surgery but I
credit prompt and ample laser treatment with saving my eyesight. My
eye-popping story follows...


My eyes have had all the laser spots that will fit and a vitrectomy in one
eye. The laser took some of my night vision. If It took any of my peripheral
vision I haven't noticed, but I score 20/20 when they do that read-the-chart
test on me now.
   My left eye had a problem first. While living abroad, I had a bleed into
the vitreous that left me a pea-sized (perceptual, not actual) bloody cloud
in my vision,  an annoying blotch on everything I looked at. (by the way,
that hemorrhage occurred while I was sitting at the dining-room table. All
of my dozens of hemorrhages have occurred while I was sitting, or sleeping
or chatting on the phone; never have I had a hemorrhage occur while running,
dancing, standing on my head or otherwise exerting myself. Although the
theory is that bleeds are more likely to occur when blood pressure goes up,
say during strenuous exercise, my experience has never verified that)  The
ophthalmologist I saw at that time treated my left eye very aggressively,
putting in 1,500 spots over the course of three months. I had touch ups in
that eye later after returning to the States but I have never again had a
hemorrhage in that eye.
   It was six months later when my right eye manifested. A dot appeared in
my sight. Within minutes that stretched out to a lightning bolt and then
gradually blurred over the next few hours into a rosy fog. The five sets of
ophthalmologists that saw me for the next four and a half years used laser
in smaller doses, but probably ended up putting in more spots than the
doctor who so aggressively treated my left eye. Eventually there was nowhere
else to put laser and yet but I was still having bleeds -- not little ones
anymore, but bleeds that made a molasses-like soup in the vitreous and were
impossible to see through. I would be blind in that eye for months at a
time -- maybe three months of blackness, another two with only shapes and a
few colors penetrating that soup, and then the last several weeks feeling
like I was looking at the world through a blue window screen.
    Then I started having bleeds before the previous one had cleared through
absorption. When that point came, which was after I had been passed up a few
specialists, I had a vitrectomy. The vitrectomy reduced but didn't eliminate
the bleeds (Looks like the pump is doing that, so far). It also reduced the
time it took to absorb a bleed so my vision would be diminished for a matter
of weeks instead of months.
   I can't shake the notion that had the right eye been treated more
aggressively and sooner, probably along with the left eye  (When I had the
fluorescein angiogram, the right eye showed  lots of background retinopathy)
the problem might have been contained early on. On the other hand, it's
possible the explanation lies in the subtle difference between the two sides
of the body. One side is always slightly larger and better built. And, in
fact, my right side is not my best side.


See you later,

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