Throughout this journey I have always considered myself lucky. I have a disease that has a treatment plan and I have incredible doctors. I have always had a fear since I was little about losing a limb or losing one of my senses. I am always grateful that my disease is manageable. I cannot imagine what someone people go through when something like a limb or a sense is taken from them suddenly.
So imagine having this fear. And then imagine waking up one day and suddenly everything is a blur. You panic for that 5 seconds that everything is a blur and give a big sigh of relief as your eyesight returns to normal. So you get in your car and drive to work. Along the way you notice that the number plates in the car in front of you are not as clear as they usually are. Fast forward a few day and suddenly the blurriness is happening more often. So you go to your ophthalmologist (eye specialist) to see what is going on. He performs several tests and you hear him mutter words like “hypertensive retinopathy” as he types away. He tells you that you need to see your kidney specialist ASAP because your high blood pressure is causing damage to your retina and retinal circulation. I looked at the images of my eyes and it was incredible. My one eye was not as bad as the other but the very damaged eye was covered in white spots. If you look at the diagram below, the image on the left is what your eye should look like while the image on the right is what my eye actually looked like.
You can only image how scary that is to look at. I drove home after the appointment and while on the highway, everything went very blurry very quickly. I started seeing white spots everywhere. I panicked for about a minute while I tried to get my car into the side lane. When I had calmed down, I slowly drove myself to my brothers workplace. I know it was an irresponsible thing to do but he worked two minutes away from where I was and my phone had died. I had no way to call for help.
He took me home and from there, things got worse. I was hospitalised the next day because I had too much fluid on my lungs. You can read about that experience here. I started emergency hemodialysis and during my seven day stay in the hospital, I could not see much. I could barely send a text because I could not see anything on my phone.
In the end, I was very lucky. The emergency hemodialysis helped control my blood pressure. It had spiked quite a bit because of all the fluid I had been retaining. As my blood pressure stabilized, my eyesight started going back to normal. I am very grateful to my doctors for acting so fast before things got a lot worse.
According to Davita, you should look out for the following symptoms if you have high blood pressure or kidney failure:
- Blurry, double or cloudy vision
- Pain or pressure in one or both eyes
- Trouble seeing things out of the corner of your eyes
- Floating or flashing lights
- Dark spots
Not everyone is as lucky as I am. High blood pressure can easily cause eye disease and loss of vision. My blood pressure is caused by my kidneys that have failed unfortunately. Some people have high blood pressure which is not controlled and then causes kidney failure. Its often scary to think our one illness can lead to another. I take two blood pressure tablets a day to control my blood pressure and I watch what I eat. My eyesight has very slowly gotten worse over the last few years but I am lucky that I am still only wearing reading glasses. My eyesight has not deteriorated badly.
Remember to always count your blessings xx