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AFBAmerican Foundation®
for the Blind

Expanding possibilities for people with vision loss

New here, Introducing myself, & welcoming feedback....

Hi, everyone!

I’m new to this Forum, and thought I’d introduce myself & give you my background & see what suggestions, comments, etc might come from it. It’s a long story, so I will try to break it down into several parts to fit here without getting a system error message......

Here goes with Part 1……………

I’ve always had “special” eyes…… Growing up as a kid, I needed to do my homework sitting between two 200-watt lights. It was often hot, but I had plenty of light. I have severe astigmatisms in both eyes. I’ve always needed glasses just to find my glasses in the morning, and didn’t know trees had leaves until I was in kindergarten & had my vision checked. Since then, due to the strength of my Rx, even the slightest change to my Rx or position of my glasses gave me problems… More often than not, the Rx arrived at during my exams wouldn’t translate well to the final pair of glasses ceated. I’d have to send them back for numerous “tweaks”. But that was all I knew.

Fast forward to age 51 and 20+ years in IT coding & designing projects for Verizon. Long hours/weeks, much overtime, and long hours spent staring at the computer screen… Very tiring, but it was what I needed to do to keep my job thru MANY rounds of job cuts.

Then, all within a few weeks, my life changed forever……... (see continued in part 2)

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Re:New here, Introducing myself, & welcoming feedback....

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Re:New here, Introducing myself, & welcoming feedback....


Re:New here, Introducing myself, & welcoming feedback....

Sorry about that, I confused you with another user that had a similar id like yours.

Re:New here, Introducing myself, & welcoming feedback....

I hope you find the available help out there, but if you also tell your true age on your watercooler posts, people would still help you, I am sure. 11 years older than you said you were doesn't make a difference in helping someone, if you truly want to help. Good luck.

Re:New here, Introducing myself, & welcoming feedback....

Thx 4 taking the time to share the details. I have lots of quesions but its Its 2:30 AM so I'll keep it short 4 now. I was intersted in what U said about inability to concentrate. Also the floaters. I call them spiders. I'm also hanging on tight to denial right now. So I need to get back to U at a decent time of day & when I'm willing to face some things instead of denying them. Know that my heart is with you. Right now its easier to think abt U than me. But U have inspired me to get my b-tt to all the docs I'm supposed to see: eyes neurologist tests on top of tests. U all know the drill. Right now I'd like to connect up with an organization that offers audio books & have lots. I do 3 or 4 in a week . I've run thru everything in the library & am rnning out of audios at the paperbackswap club. I'd appreciate all referrals & suggestions for organizations. Not only do I like them bcs I can multi task but I think they help me with my denial until I'm ready to face it & deal wi it. Going to sleep now. Thx 4 listening . Tipppytoes

Re:New here, Introducing myself, & welcoming feedback....

Hi Dave,
My name is Amiee
I was so glad to hear your story, I am so glad to know there is somebody out there that can understand. 4 months ago on a Thursday night I went to bed with perfect eyesight and woke up the following morning totally blind in my right eye and could barley see out of the left. I went to my doctor and they explained to me that I had a total retinal detachment in the right eye with a macular hole, and the left eye was partially detached. After going threw several surgeries I have not gained very much vision actually none in the right eye and I have these wonderful black spots in the left eye from the scar tissue from the surgery. After hearing your story I was just wondering the types of problems you have had with adjusting to your sition. I seem to spend alot of time frustrated these days not being able to drive, can't read a book, no T.V.and very little computer time. I have found just the lilttle things like trying to pour a drink, or trying to cook or laundrey all of it seems so hard now .I have rambled on enough thank you for your story.

Re:New here, Introducing myself, & welcoming feedback....

Thanks, David! I will be sure to contact you shortly.

- - Dave

Re:New here, Introducing myself, & welcoming feedback....

I'm off from work today and decided to check out the AFB forums to see if new messages were posted; I think I was supposed to do this!!! I read your entire series of messages and, first of all, I want to say how glad I am that you posted the details of your situation. Judging by the fact that you mentioned Wills Eye and Jefferson I am assuming you are located in or near the Philadelphia area. I am the computer technology instructor at Associated Services for the Blind, located very close to those facilities. ASB provides a host of services; my role in the agency is evaluating people for appropriate computer technology as well as training them on its use. There's a ton of stuff out there to assist you in using a computer, with either enlarged text, speech output or both covering Windows, Linux and Mac. ASB also provides a ton of other services: our Web site is Please call us: 215-627-0600. I'm not in today (6/9) but if you call today ask for the Specialized Services Department.

Regarding accessible library resources, please consider joining NLS (National Library Service for the Blind) which offers a ton of recorded titles: The local Philadelphia affiliate is located in the same building as ASB: 215-683-3213.
Please hang in there. You're still here and that's no accident. Your life is not over yet.

Continued (Part 4)....

Last part!! Thanks!

Just this past February, I had the left eye’s cataract removed and a new lens implanted. The hope was to possibly improve my corrected vision in that eye to 20/400 at best. Unfortunately, after early encouraging developments, my vision is no better than it was before the cataract surgery. There are days when I can go pretty much without a parch, followed by days or weeks of poorer vision and an almost 24/7 need for the patch. I am torn between trying to allow my eyes to better “coordinate” with each other by keeping the patch off and the reality of needing it on much of the time just to be able to function. In the meantime, not much hope has been given for any further recovery of the left eye, which remains just “good” enough to bother my right eye, which is feeling the strain of handling all the work.... and BOTH eyes with dryness/cataract issues. I've been told there are no surgical "Plan B's", that my surgeon was pretty much one of the best around, and basically what I have is the best I’ll ever have. Although friends & family have encouraged me to seek a second opinion from that of the surgeons & my regular eye doc, I have been hesitant…. Maybe I just don’t want to hear the same news again…...
While disabling to a point, I could still function. The worst thing about the injury was not being able to see faces clearly, or even recognize my 2 boys as they performed in the marching band or played soccer on the field, even thru the zoom lens of a video camera. That still kills me…..

In any event, I guess I could have gone along and just tried to make the best of a bad situation had nothing else changed. After all, I was not totally blind. I still had sight in my right eye (at least for a short while before its cataract develops more), and could still drive relatively comfortably locally (and, if an emergency, on highways). And I was still productively employed in a nicely-paying job. And I still had my sense of humor.
But all that changed just after New Year’s this year, when I received notice that I was part of the latest RIF (Reduction in Force) by Verizon & would be off the payroll by February. So now not only do I have to figure out what I want to (or CAN) do for the rest of my life along with tens of thousands of other unemployed people, I need to investigate/apply/interview all while fighting worsening vision as an overweight (much gained since the original surgery last year), visually-impaired 52-year-old.
I’m depressed & don’t know where to turn next. Until now, I’ve held off looking into sites and associations such as these because I’ve never quite categorized myself as “blind”, and consider myself, for all these recent problems, much luckier than many who are trying to cope with total blindness… But I also haven’t had the benefit of being able to truly discuss my concerns & fears & frustrations with anyone else in a similar situation until taking the first step of signing up for this forum. As much as they see what I’m going thru, I don’t think anyone in my family can TRULY appreciate it without having gone thru it. Before, I was a well-employed bread-winner who did much of the family driving, handled all the finances & taxes, etc. We had a plan for funding college and retirement. Now, much of that is in jeopardy. My wife does all the distance driving - - I usually just sit in the passenger seat with my eyes closed to relieve the strain. I’m working with an outplacement rep to try and develop a gameplan, but there are strings of many days in a row where I can’t even work on the computer very long without having vision issues. I can’t comfortably read books without re-reading the same section over & over again, and most of the books of interest don’t seem to be available from my library system on tape. My attention span seems to be dwindling. I seem to be experiencing the worst symptoms now, when I need to be able to operate at my best….. And I wonder……What will happen if I still cannot find a job after unemployment runs out? What job am I even qualified to do, and how would I even get there, if telecommuting is no longer an option? How can I start to pull out of this nosedive & get on track?
Well, as I said, this was going to be a long one. In many ways, it was cathartic for me. I hope you were able to stick with it & maybe have some comments suggestions to offer. I’m hoping others who may have gone thru similar experiences & emotions might be able to offer me some hope & options I haven’t even thought of.
Thanks in advance!
- - Dave

Continued from above = Part 3:

Continuing from above (Part 3):

In any event, after being out approx. 14 weeks on Short-Term disability, I returned to work, trying my best to hardly skip a beat. As an “official telecommuter” with them for the past 10 years or so, I had equipment set up at home to slowly ease myself back into things while still on disability, so that I could return without hardly skipping a beat. I bought myself a larger monitor & changed its resolution to have everything appear larger, so as to be easier on the remaining “good” right eye.
Unfortunately, the left eye only recovered to the point where it is just good enough to conflict with & bother my right eye, and I usually have to wear an eye patch over it most of the time while working to keep the right eye from going bonkers….. For the longest time, both eyes would spontaneously experience the sensation of “puffing-up” or “drying-out”, and I couldn’t function. It was the same sensation I had while trying contact lenses many years earlier - - the feeling that they were drying-up & ready to fall out of my eyes… I spent several months after that trying to find the right combination of lubricating drops to feel more comfortable without any success. They all seemed to work for just a few minutes before the eyes dried out again - - often worse than before. And many drops made vision in the right eye too cloudy to function. I never did find the right combination. There were many times when I'd be doing ok at the computer or doing whatever around town, and then it's as if a switch suddenly turned on & the eyes turned dry, or even the vision I had left just seemed to "shut-down".
On top of that, ever since the preventative use of laser on my right eye, its vision has not been as good as before, either. Floaters are more noticeable & constant in that eye as well. Going from a lit office to a darker hallway takes longer for my right eye to get proper "night-vision". And my left eye doesn’t seem to lubricate/tear-up as much/well as it used to. When I asked my regular eye doc, he said the left eye's lubricant was a "bit thicker", but surgery was internal & shouldn't have affected the external eye duct.
It wasn’t until I realized that putting a patch over the left eye would instantaneously stop the “dryness” and war between the eyes that I finally found some relief.

Just before I returned to work, I received the "good" news that I was now also developing cataracts in both eyes. When I went back to my regular eye doc to see their status, as well as see if any changes to my Rx would help my vision, he said the cataracts were not bad enough yet to warrant surgery, and that they preferred to wait something like 6 months after eye surgery to do something anyway... He also said that they were not the cause of my state of vision, nor would its removal from the left eye visibly improve its sight.

More disappointing was the fact that, when the doc shone a light in my right eye, it was hard to handle & the pupil got smaller (normal). But when he did the same for the left eye, it not only didn't bother me, but the pupil also got a bit bigger. He said the eye was basically "not picking up on that stimulus" and that "if he were a betting man, that's as much as my eye will be recovering".

(to be continued with Part 4)

continued - - part 2

Continued from above = Part 2:

First, in late 2009, I started experiencing pronounced “floaters” in my right eye. The eye doc said this was common as people got older & she’s keep an eye on things. Several visits later, not much had changed.
Then, in early February 2010, I was picking my son up from a weekend audition with a competitive Drum & Bugle Corps. After watching their performance in a local high school gym, while& waiting for him to finish packing, my eyes were bothered by what I perceived as “flickering” in one of their ceiling fluorescent lights. Then, as I was driving him home, I started seeing what looked like a small "speck" jumping around in my field of vision - - like either a flea on the windshield or something on my eyelash.

Once I got home, my vision in my left eye started getting a bit fuzzy, along with a bunch of "floaters". As it increased over the next couple days, I went to see my eye doctor. He wasn’t there, but their O.D. told me that I had similar "gelling" of the vitreous fluid in the eye, which would hopefully resolve itself. But she told me to look out for flashes of light, which would possibly indicate the vitreous fluid's being stuck to & bringing-down the retina.

Over the weekend, I started to get cloudier vision, and an almost "eclipse"-like effect on the vision in my left eye, starting out from the lower inside corner & slowly leaving me with only peripheral vision. It changed over the course of the day from a reddish to purplish color.

My mistake was in not realizing the signs, or going on sites like WebMD to learn more, but I was not seeing or recognizing "flashes", so I didn’t seek treatment as fast as I should have. But first thing that Monday, Feb 8 morning, I went back to the eye doc, who diagnosed it as "Posterior Vitreous Detachment - - Macular Off". They immediately called the surgeons at Mid-Atlantic Retina for an emergency appointment, where the diagnosis was confirmed, and emergency surgery set up for Jefferson/Wills Eye Hospital first thing the next morning. While at Mid-Atlantic, they also lasered my right eye in the office to prevent similar from happening, as my docs had noticed its retina was thin in one area & susceptible to a tear.

That next morning, I had surgery, and returned home with an SF6 gas bubble in my eye & orders to lay on my right side for 5 days.

Over the next few appointments, I kept learning more and more disheartening info regarding my condition & chances of recovery. Because this was an emergency, I didn't have time to research or ask the appropriate questions. What I thought originally was a 5-7 day recovery period quickly became a 3-8 week duration according to the hospital discharge papers, and then possibly 6 months or more until full "recovery" (or at least to what my final state would be), with the likelihood vision would never be fully-recovered, due to its involving the eye's focal-point. And, I was told, there was no "Plan B" surgery which could be performed. Basically, it was as if my eye had suffered a stroke, and the nerve endings' recovery would determine my amount of regained sight.

Over the next few weeks, I went from total blackness to "seeing" the gas/fluid line in my eye to starting to see foggy shapes/colors. But the vision never came back in the eye to the point where I could close the right, look at something, and see clearly. Instead, if I saw something with my right eye & then closed & looked at it with my left, I could at least say, "oh, yeah, I can see where that's probably a person/TV/etc".....

Post-op, all my eye docs were very vague about when & how fast I should go back to work. I tried explaining to them that my job was on average 10-12 hrs a day working on a computer screen, and that my sight was VERY critical to that. The best they could offer was that "I could go back whenever I was ready." Not exactly the best info when having to deal with my insurance company & work during my disability....

(to be continued in Part 3)

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