On July 8, 2011, I was diagnosed by Dr. Harrison of the Retina Institute in Palm Springs California with a giant tear in the retina of my right eye. The decisions I made that day following this diagnosis altered my life. Dr. Harrison informed me that I was in need of immediate surgery. Being uninsured, I was instructed to go to emergency at Riverside County Regional Medical Center (RCRMC) for immediate treatment. The chances of full vision recovery were good at this point. Graciously Dr. Harrison offered to assist in the surgery if needed.
At that time I had no medical insurance. Ignorant of medical state law, I believed that I would be turned away because of my inability to pay, or that they would max out my credit card and plunge me deeper into debt. What I did was go to the Medi-cal office in Moreno Valley, California and applied for assistance; which process took six weeks to approve me. Had I gone to emergency as instructed, the assistance needed would have been expedited, and surgery immediate. By the time I got to an Ophthalmologist at the Eye Clinic at RCRMC in late August 2011, emergency status was cancelled. Exposure to my macular was extensive and permanent, and therefore taken off emergency status; surgery wasn’t scheduled until December 14, 2011.
Retina Detachment is a growing concern in the United States. According to the National Institute of Health, (NIH) 30,000 people per year are diagnosed with Retinal Tears or detachment. While doctors insist that there are no known preventions specifically for Retinal Detachment, common holistic sense, (CHS) points to diet for essential nutrition for eye health. Researchers at the National Eye Institute have found that besides Beta-Carotene, (commonly found in carrots), Vitamin C and E, Zinc, Omega-3, fatty acids, lutein and zeaxanthin are proven nutrients for good eye health. The following is a list of foods that contain these nutrients:
Vegetables: Kale, collard greens, peppers, broccoli, sweet potato, spinach, peas, pumpkin, carrots and Swiss chard
Fruits: Peaches, blueberries, oranges, tangerines, mango, tomato, apricot, papaya, cantaloupe, honeydew, avocado and grapefruit
Sources of zinc: King crab, lamb, bulgur, lean beef, fortified breakfast cereals, beans, lean pork, dark meat of poultry, whole-wheat or buckwheat flours, pumpkin seeds
Omega-3-rich foods: Salmon, herring, tuna, mackerel, rainbow trout, sardines, flaxseed, English walnuts, canola oil, roasted soybeans
(Nutrition-Wise blog. Eating for Eye Health by Jennifer K. Nelson, R.D., L.D. June 18, 2014)
Since my surgery in December 2011, other procedures include laser surgery to repair leaks in my retina, another surgery in November 2012, Cataract and lens replacement surgery by Dr. Gimble in October 2013, and thanks to Obama Care, Medi-cal provided me with health insurance by IEHP which was accepted by The Retina Institute. On July 22, 2014, Ragui Sedeek M.D., performed surgery to remove a membrane growing over my Retina. Because of so many surgeries, my eye is still very sick though my Retina is flat and attached.
If you are over age 40, awareness and consciousness of good eye health can help you avoid what 30,000 Americans face every year. Awareness of early symptoms of Retinal Detachment is essential, and if detected early can be restored to the quality of vision before the detachment or tear happened. If you experience floaters or strobe like flashes of light in your vision, it is critical that you see an Ophthalmologist immediately. Early detection will restore your vision to normal, while procrastination will leave you blind.