The first two will correct cataracts in both eyes, courtesy of the long term use of prednisone. Turns out that even low dose usage (I currently take only 4mg per day - and have been for about 4 years) can impact the development of cataracts.
Having said that, I am in my late fifties (58) and they are not unheard of at that age irregardless of other diseases. In reading about cataracts I have discovered that there is some valid research that supports the notion that not wearing appropriate sunglasses can hasten the development of cataracts, particularly as Earth's ozone layer shrinks. So now I tell my sons to wear their sunglasses all the time!
Of course anytime I have to have a procedure I tend to study it to the point of absurdity...that comes from years of managing a chronic disease. I suspect that many of my RA friends out there do the same thing...just sayin...no judgement, just stating the facts. The point is that I will come out of this with an implanted lens in place of the "cataract" lens and I will no longer need glasses for distance!!! That's right - after nearly 50 years of wearing corrective lenses I will be able to see the alarm clock from across the room in the middle of the night! Yippee! The trade-off is that I will now need "cheaters" for reading most likely. I had hoped to get the implant that corrects for all distances but alas I was not a good candidate for that as I have Sjogrens Syndrome and that combined with an astigmatism tossed me from the pool of folks likely to have success with it. No worries though. I am happy to be getting better vision back.
There are some signs of cataracts that those of us with RA and users of corticosteriods need to be aware of. Without a doubt the worst symptom was the discomfort and distorted vision while driving at night into oncoming traffic.
For me this picture comes close but it was even more pronounced than this. Some folks see a blur, some halo's, but I saw a splintering/glare effect that was really horrible. I live in a rural state where we primarily drive on two lane roads so oncoming traffic is the norm and that means that anytime I was out past dark driving I had to cope with compromised vision. This symptom was the key reason I am getting the surgery.
Another slow building but persistent symptom is the lack of clarity and sharpness with colors. Clearly this is not pleasant and although it does not effect your actual ability to see, the truth is, that over time it really impacts your enjoyment of life.
Additionally, having "clouds" or "fog" appear within your line of vision is another and often first sign of cataracts. This photo shows it directly in the middle but in my case this is off to the side in both eyes and not quite this large an area...thanks goodness!
Lastly, for me anyway, is the problem of looking into any type of light head on and having it literally block out whatever is in front of it. The best example I can give is if you are talking to someone who is standing directly in front of a window and light is coming in..you can barely see the person's face and it is almost painful.
So, all in all, getting this simple corrective surgery done will be quite a blessing indeed and I am actually looking forward to it! I will blog again post surgery to update you on how the procedure goes, what, if any, RA medication adjustments I need to make before the surgery, etc.
The third and by far most complicated surgery is the foot reconstruction I am having done in June, first on the right foot and later in the year, the left one.
I, like many of my fellow RA sufferers, have seriously compromised foot mechanics. Not only from years of RA, but also from having lousy feet to begin with! In fact, when the orthopedic surgeon looked at my xrays he was pleasantly surprised by the almost total lack of joint erosion, which was welcome news to me as well. We both concurred that this was a real endorsement of the treatment and medication choices that I and my RA Support team have made over these last 15+ years. That was the really good news....