Monday, March 14, 2011

Eyeball Kid

     Another day, another broken something-or-other. Last night, my husband tells me that he suddenly can't see out of his left eye. Or rather, than he can, but that it's like looking through frosted glass - he can see my shape, but nothing else. This qualifies as one of those things that make you go, "Huh?", because that eye is the one that he's had work done on and therefore should be better than his right.

     You see, another common symptom of Marfan's is dislocated lenses in the eyes. This is due to the same root problem of the body's connective tissues being not quite right. In a normal person, the lenses in the eye are held in place by tiny fibers and those tiny fibers are usually all that's needed to keep everything in the proper place. Like so many other things, the same doesn't hold true for someone affected by Marfan's Syndrome. In my husband's case, those tiny fibers weakened to the point that his natural lens began to fall (literally) out of place.

     If left untreated, the falling lens could have caused irreparable damage to his retina, thus resulting in some degree of blindness. Because no one wanted to add blindness, either partial or full, to the mix, the decision was made to go in and vacuum out the lens he was born with before it did more harm than good. It was then replaced with a new prosthetic lens, though that one lives in front of his iris, not behind it like a natural lens would.

      The new placement presented an issue in that it was effectively blocking his eye juices (technical term, that) from flowing as they should to keep the eye properly pressurized. So how to fix that? Drill, baby, drill, right into his iris. This allowed a nice re-routing of the fluids so that they could keep on keepin' on, as it were. And what was he left with at the end of the day? A slightly different-colored eye with a black spot in the iris and the ability to still see out of it, that's what.

     This all happened almost ten years ago. Fast-forward a decade or so to last night, when he mentioned to me that something was not functioning as it should. The first thought was that he'd blown a blood vessel. This is a really common occurrence in our house, so I took a quick look at his eye, fully expecting to find an angry red mark in the white. Instead, I saw that his normally greenish-gray eye was turning brown on the inside of the iris. Um, what?

     When I told him what I saw, he didn't believe me at first. I told him to go look for himself, but of course he couldn't see well enough to know what I was talking about. We decided that since he wasn't in any pain, the best  thing to do would be to sleep on it and see what the morning brought.

     No real improvement, as it turned out and a unexpected new development. At the top of his eyeball was something that looked like a semi-clear bubble. I'd never see something like that pop up before and when I described it, it didn't sound like anything he'd yet experienced, so he decided to call the doctor's office as soon as they opened. When he told them what was happening,  an appointment slot magically opened up! I love when that happens. Our fear was that the prosthetic lens had somehow become detached and was working its way out of his eyeball. (I know, sounds gross, but it's all par for the course with us.) Luckily, this was not the case.

     Apparently, he had had a small hemorrhage in his eye the night before and the pressure of the blood was what had caused his vision to become temporarily obscured. It was also responsible for the odd change in eye color. I feel as though we've dodged a bullet, because he and I were both afraid it was going to be something that required surgery, which is always an undertaking of unpleasant proportions. I'm finding that as we go along, I'm learning more and more about this and similar disorders because there's really no choice but to educate myself.

     I found a page about eye issues related to Marfan's and linked it, just in case anyone else should need it. Check out for more info. (My never-ending search for information is still an exercise in frustration, so I want to share whatever I can, whenever I can.) In all likelihood, the hemorrhage was cause by his blood being too thin, which happens from time to time. Right now, he's running on red Kool-Aid, as we call it, so I'm sure they'll make adjustments to his Coumadin dosage and we'll be good to go...for awhile.

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