My retina specialist told me to find another doctor. That’s right. I’ve been fired as a patient. In truth, she didn’t tell me — she had someone else do her dirty work. Whatever.
My regular eye doctor referred me to the clinic more than ten years ago. The retina specialist for most of that time retired a few years ago. After a year on the job, his replacement left for greener pastures. I’ve been seeing the new replacement for the past year or so.
My condition — Advanced Macular Degeneration — can’t be cured. Treatment involves eye injections of either Avastin, Lucentis, Eylea, or Beovu. I’m legally blind in my right eye — they stopped treating it in 2015. I need an injection in my left eye every four weeks to keep my vision.
After receiving more than 100 injections over the years from four different doctors, I consider myself to be an authority on the subject. A “perfect” injection is trouble-free at the office with heavy eye-watering for a few hours and sensitivity to light from dilation for the rest of the day.
For the injections, a technician numbs my eye with lidocaine-soaked Q-tips and paints the area with betadine. The doctor comes in (eventually), inserts a speculum to hold my eye open (think Clockwork Orange), and then gives the injection. The technician cleans up the betadine and rinses my eye several times with saline.
Lots of things can go wrong. Betadine often gets into my eye before the injection and burns like fire. Having to wait for the doctor to come in makes it worse. On rare occasions, the injection hurts — more from the pressure than the stick. Sometimes my eye burns and waters for the rest of the day.
My last three or four injections have been among the worst ever. I always have to wait a while for the doctor after prepping. Betadine got in my eye. The injections hurt too. My eye burned like the dickens for the rest of the day. My eye socket hurt for several days after. Attempts to explain my position got me fired.
Switching to the other doctor with the same clinic was my first option. No thanks. He gave me one injection in between the replacements and, before the new doctor came to town, was the worst ever. I’ll take my business elsewhere.
A Google search turned up two retina specialists in town. After reviewing the web sites, I called one and explained my situation. I was amazed and relieved to get an appointment the very next day.
My first visit was awesome! Technicians checked me in, tested my vision, scanned my retina, and then turned me over to the doctor. He injected dye into my arm for a second scan and stayed with me for the rest of the appointment.
The injection experience was great. He stopped stopped painting with betadine several years ago and hasn’t had any problems. He doesn’t use the Q-tips either — just drops. He prepped me himself, gave me a super-quick painless injection, and immediately rinsed my eye with saline. My eye watered a bit, but I was more or less back to normal by noon.
Things have a way of working out for the best. I couldn’t be happier. I should probably send my old doctor a thank you note. Or maybe I’ll get someone to do it for me….