About This Stoker (Part 2)

I’ve already outlined in a previous post my primary diagnosis of my blindness. As part of the classification process as a para-cyclist I’ve had to get an extensive history from my doctors. This has lead to me being reminded of some other things I didn’t mention last time, and my discovery of problems I didn’t know I had.

Fundus photo
Photo of the fundus of a normal right eye, from Wikipedia.
Firstly though, I have my provisional classification, which is B1. Yes, this does lead to Bananas in Pajamas jokes. The “B” means blind, and the number indicates the severity, the lower the number the more impaired your vision. At B1 I’m described as having “no useful vision”.

Starting at the front of the eye, I have some astigmatism, due to some misshaping of my cornea. I also have the early signs of cateracts, though that’s been the case for about four years and it’s showing no signs of progressing.

Inside the eye, there is some lattice degeneration of the retina. I am also fairly myopic.

In getting hold of these reports we discovered something new that was diagnosed at the same time as the Neuropathy: abnormalities in my rods, cones and pigment epithelial cells. These results also come from the electroretinography and evoked potential tests.

As I’ve mentioned before, my optic disc looked fairly normal, however the retinal specialist does go on to say that in hindsight: “The disc certainly does look pale, his nerve fibre layer is thin and there are slits in the nerve fibre layer, both superiorly and inferiorly.” My more recent fundus photographs show a more typical whitening.

Taking a wider view, I have right esotropia, which means my right eye turns in, and I have amblyopia, meaning I don’t see through both eyes at once (even when I could see), so I’ve never had depth perception and 3D effects don’t work on me.

After reading all this you might ask, as my wife did, how I ever saw anything. I do have to wonder that sometimes. Clearly I was supposed to be blind.

Loosing vision is an isolating experience. You can never understand what’s happening inside someone else’s head, nor can anyone understand what’s going on in yours. This is something no one else can experience exactly as I have.

Equally, though, there is a communality to loosing your vision and being blind that can be shared with others that experience similar things. And I’ve always been fortunate to have a group of family and friends to support me, even when they couldn’t do anything.

And that makes me luckier than anyone else. At least as far a I’m concerned.

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