Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension a.k.a. Pseudo-tumor Cerebri - One year later

As a passionate photographer most pictures interest me, but when I see images of the inside of my own eyes (taken by my wonderful Optometrist Dr. John Gallagher), I'm especially interested!

A year ago I went to Dr. John Gallagher in Suwanee, GA to have him check my eyes because I had a very strange blue spot in the vision of my left eye. I was diagnosed with bilateral Papilledema, which is optic disk swelling that is caused by increased intracranial pressure. After hearing the words possible brain tumor, MRI and lumbar puncture during my check-up I was shattered. 

Then I went through some interesting (to say the least) tests which brought us to the diagnosis of Idiopathic Intracranial Hypertension a.k.a. Pseudo-tumor Cerebri. I was put on medication to treat the "oversupply" of CSF fluid surrounding my brain and spine.

I managed to lose 30lbs and quite quickly improve my condition significantly. Since February I am completely off medication and in remission. I am still being monitored by my Neuro-Ophthalmologist on a regular basis and probably will be for the foreseeable future.

On Monday I went back to my Optometrist for my yearly check up. He took another picture of my retinas (you may have seen the pictures I posted last year) and I thought I'd now show you the difference.

Top: June 23,2011 - Bottom: June 18,2012

The image on the top is the one taken last year. The light colored circle to the right is the optic nerve and it is very blurry and enlarged. It does not have a clear and distinct edge. You may also be able to see two small red hemorrhages near the edge of the optic nerve (at 11 and 2 o'clock of the circle).

The image at the bottom is the one taken on Monday June 18, 2012, with me in remission and off medication. The optic nerve (circle to the right) is much more distinct and not as blurry, it is also much smaller indicating that the pressure on the back of the eye is normal (i.e. the eye is not being pushed in). Also there are no more hemorrhages to be seen.

Isn't that absolutely amazing? It certainly makes me very happy as a person with IIH and also as a photographer! Before and after, old and new, bad and good - what an improvement!

A picture is truly worth a thousand words. 

Without the first picture my condition could have led to severe vision loss and even blindness. I thank the good Lord each day that I listened to my body, sought help and managed to beat it.

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