Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Can I remain "athletic?"

My vision is still very blurry, but I am assuming that is due to correctable focus problems, not retinal disease. So, my attention is turning to the future -- will I be able to remain "athletic?" The following questions come to mind:
  1. Given the nature of the detachment and its cause, is my right retina more likely to detach now than it was before?
  2. Will there be some time period after which detachment is no more likely than before?
  3. I was told that the risk of detachment from cataract surgery was less than one in one thousand. Assuming that that is the overall rate, what is the rate for someone my age, with my degree of myopia and level of physical activity? (I have even read that being of Jewish descent increases the probability of retinal detachment).
  4. It has been a couple of months since my left eye was operated on. Is my risk of retinal detachment still elevated? Will it ever be as low as it was before the cataract surgery?
  5. Is it certain that walking home from UCLA did not precipitate the second detachment? Is it safe to walk now? At what rate and for what duration?
  6. What are the mechanisms through which various forms of exercise cause detachment -- jarring, straining, physical contact, etc? Specifically, I am interested in the risks of heavy weight lifting, running, swimming and hard bike riding. What about a sport injury such as a bike crash?
  7. Are some weight lifting exercises more dangerous than others -- for example using a squat machine in which one's legs are elevated or dead lifts where one lifts a weight from the floor?
  8. Have there been studies of masters athletes, for example members of national track or swimming associations or senior Olympic competitors?
  9. Are there warning signs that I could watch for during exercise, and, if so, would immediately stopping be sufficient?
  10. Are there warning signs that can be detected during a retinal examination? If so, would it be possible to resume vigorous exercise and have regular (quarterly? monthly?) retinal exams?
  11. I was told there was close to thirty percent chance that the capsule behind my implant would cloud over. If that occurs, would fixing it be likely to detach either retina?
  12. What sort of fluid will fill my eye and what is the effect of that? Might it reduce/increase traction -- lower viscosity? greater velocity when accelerated? Are there fluid dynamic models of the inner eye? Have ophthalmologists collaborated with mechanical engineers on this?
  13. What is the effect of the scleral buckle on the likelihood of recurrence?
  14. Why have my physical restrictions been less stringent than anticipated before the surgery? Does that indicate a lower likely hood of re-detachment?
  15. I have been told that there are several types of cataract procedure, each with differing levels of retinal risk. If this is the case, what are those alternatives, and which did I have?
  16. Has the vitreous gel in my left eye shrunk away from the retina, and, if so, what are the implications of that?
  17. Before the cataract surgery, there were more floaters in my right eye than my left, and they were larger and darker. Did that indicate more risk for my right eye?
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