I’m Blind, So What? Maybe I Want To Stay That Way.

OK OK, I’m only blind in one eye. I have been for more than 20 years and I’m ok with that. I’m pretty much accustomed to the way I view the world and hadn’t considered the possibility of surgery before last week.

Here is how it started. I’m over here in the US on a permanent resident visa (I can now apply for citizenship). The restricted visa just expired and every time my visa expires I have to renew my license through DMV. Every time I go through this process I have to do an eye test for them. Sometimes I manage to pass, but others they run me through are a pathetic rigmarole of total BS. I can see 20/20 out of both eyes with contacts or glasses, 20/20 out of my right eye with contacts or glasses but 20/400 out of my left eye. (But I don’t use a contact or prescription for the left eye). Apparently, it is not good enough to see 20/20 out of both eyes for DMV. They send me to the eye doctor to fill out a report, then it depends on who you get when you return as to the outcome. A driving test every year one lady indicated and another, a repeated eye test every two years.

The fact is my eyesight hasn’t changed in 20 years. I have Keratoconus. I was diagnosed when I was about 19, but at the time there was no treatment, cure or really any information about the condition. I basically lived with the idea that I would eventually go completely blind and then get a cornea transplant to be able to see again. Well, that  was what was indicated early on.

What is Keratoconus?

Left  Eye with advanced Keratoconus
Right Eye with slight Keratoconus

A simple explanation is that Keratoconus is a progressive eye disease where the cornea thins and bulges into a cone shape. This deflects light, causing distorted vision.

What Causes Keratoconus?

When I was first diagnosed there wasn’t really a known cause. New research, suggests the actual cause may be due to an imbalance of enzymes in the cornea caused by a genetic predisposition.

Thanks to my DMV pals and a trip to the optometrist, I discovered that they now have several options to treat the condition and that the treatment on my blind eye may result in better vision out of my right eye. Who would have thought? Definitely not me.

I was sent to a specialist, who is encouraging me to ‘invest in my eye sight’. It’s a costly procedure that may or may not be covered by insurance. Eye surgery has never been a part of my master plan because I never knew it was an option. Buying a house however is, so I’m a bit overwhelmed with all of this new information.

My investment should I choose to accept, would cost roughly $6000 for ICL, $5000 for crosslinking and $7000 for Intacs should I go down that path. Oh and that is per eye. But I only require the one eye to be treated. My return on my investment, better vision in one eye. Is it worth it for me? I don’t know. My brain already tells my right eye to take full control. How am I going to cope or see if my brain has to start processing new information after 20 years??? And how could I cope with anyone touching my sensitive eyes?

ICL. Is where a synthetic lens called an “implantable collamer lens”, is implanted in the eye, redirecting light rays so they focus correctly on the retina. This lens doesn’t replace your natural lens, but is placed just behind the iris to correct your eyesight for life.

Corneal cross linking.  or CXL, strengthens corneal tissue to halt bulging of the eye’s surface in keratoconus. Corneal crosslinking may reduce significantly the need for corneal transplants among keratoconus patients. From what I understand it is a liquid placed in the eye.

Intacs. Are tiny plastic inserts that are placed just under the eye’s surface in the periphery of the cornea which helps re-shape the cornea for clearer vision.

Quite frankly I’d prefer to buy a house unless insurance covers the cost. I think the house would give me a far better return on my investment.

I called my health insurance company and of course, they can’t give me an indication if it’s covered or not until the doctor submits a pre-approval. My doctor has to declare that it is a medically necessary surgery. I’m sure the DMV would classify it as medically necessary, with all the hoo-har they put me through. Let’s hope the insurance company sees it that way.

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Comments

  1. who knows what the future holds for you but i wouldn’t worry about having to readjust if your right eye got corrected… we just naturally adapt to our surroundings to survive! i do hope your insurance will cover part/most of it in case you bite. technology and knowledge has changed so much in the last decade or two! 🙂

    1. GrapevineMom says:

      Thank you.

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