|Approaching Abuja, the Capital of Nigeria|
The exact aetiology of this condition is still not properly understood, but it is more common in people with high blood pressure - which I have, though it has been treated - and diabetes, which I don't have. The one thing agreed on is that it almost only occurs in people born with a smaller eye and especially a smaller optic disc, which is the place where all the nerve fibers of the retina converge and form a bundle that exits the back of the eye like a cable through a circular space in the eye coverings to enter the brain behind it. If that disc is relatively small, ( the so-called Disc at Risk) fibers are more tightly packed together, along with their accompanying blood vessels and this crowding is thought to predispose these blood vessels to blockages,the event that precipitates the retinal damage and the loss of vision. There is also controversy about whether there is any effective treatment, and the prognosis, both in the short term and longer. My other eye - what the Opthalmologists charmingly call the "companion" eye - also has a "disc at risk" because genetics have determined what sort of eyes I was born with. Larger eyes don't get off scott free however - they are more prone to Retinal Detachment, which was what I thought I had and which is much more common (1 in 5000 over age 50 ) and also to Glaucoma.
There is some evidence that high dose steroids administered early in the course of the disease improves the likelihood of recovery of at least some of the lost sight, so that is what we have decided to do.
Now I will show you the test results and explain what they mean. The Eye Hopsital gave me hard copies of all their reports and I have taken photos of them, so the images are not good quality. The first image is close enough to what a normal Visual Field study should look like. The black area just below the 9 o,clock position is the normal "blind spot. All the other grey dots mark out where I can see.
|Visual Field Study Left Eye|
|Visual Field Left Eye|
|The Left Eye|
|The Good eye : distinct vessels at the Disc, no leaking|
|Vessels at the disc obscured by blood leaking out ( the thick white patch)|
Now I am waiting for permission from Paris to head off to work on Monday. MSF has a rule that if any Ex-Pat develops a problem in the field the advisors in Paris have to be notified and decide what should be done. I cant see why they wouldn't let me carry on - better late than never.