David, a retired firefighter in the Washington D.C. area, is not the type to run to the doctor. But three years ago, sitting in his recliner watching TV one evening, his vision blurred and he started seeing what looked like spider webs floating across his right eye.
He went to bed hoping it would just go away. “It’s a funny feeling when you go to sleep thinking everything will be fine, and you wake up and it’s not,” David says. “I knew something was terribly wrong.” After a visit to his regular eye doctor, David was referred to a retina specialist, who diagnosed him with macular edema after retinal vein occlusion (RVO) and immediately sought treatment.
In the U.S., RVO affects more than one million people, most over 50, and is the second-most common cause of vision loss due to retinal vascular disease. In RVO, blood vessels within or behind the eye become blocked, leading to a buildup of blood and other fluids, which eventually leak into the eye, blurring central and peripheral vision.
At first, David was upset about his diagnosis. He feared he’d no longer be able to read the newspaper, use the computer, or drive his ‘86 Chevy El Camino. He worried it would affect his ability to spend time with his three sons, nine grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.
Fortunately, there are treatment options for David’s macular edema following RVO and he has worked with his retina specialist to keep his condition under control. He’s still able to enjoy his family and favorite activities, and doesn’t show signs of stopping anytime soon.