I just went for an appointment at Moorfields Eye Hospital for the first time in 15 years.
When I became an adult and left London for university, Moorfields said I didn’t need to keep coming to them. Instead I could just go to normal opticians to check my pressures each year. Since my sight has always been stable that’s been fine.
But I got a referral from my GP to get genetic testing. My medical notes contain no detailed results of the genetic testing that was done on me as a child in 1980. In fact there’s a stark inaccuracy that ‘perhaps 40% of any children would have aniridia’. We now know it’s 50%. Genetics has of course come a very long way since then so I felt it was time to understand my particular case better. Plus if I get a PAX6 mutation confirmed, I can go to the USA to take part in the NIH study – a good basis for a holiday!
So at 8:30am I was first in the waiting area. First a nurse did an initial sight test, checked blood sugar and pressure.
After a short wait a doctor performed the usual eye examinations, checked pressures, peripheral vision and took a complete family history. He also tested me for colour blindness, The spotty numbers were very difficult to see but he didn’t remark on it later.
Next was a trip to the Laser Suite. A gadget shone lots of coloured wavey lines in to my eyes to map my retina. There was a very bright square too which was very uncomfortable and made my eyes water. The person doing it remarked that it would have been better if they hadn’t just put drops in my eyes!
Then it was back to the doctor and his consultant to review. They were very nice and were happy to organise genetic testing. In additon they said from now on I could have annual checks at Moorfields instead of at opticians. I’m very glad about that as I’ll be seen by more experienced people with better equipment and build up a consistent case history.
They sent me to have a photo taken. This was the worst bit of the day for someone with photophobia. The camera was really close and then a massive flash went off! Three times in each eye! That was horrible. I had a headache now from all the brightness and handling.
Next a genetic counsellor explained the testing consent form to me so I could sign it. Then I went up stairs for a blood sample to be taken. The results will take between two and six months to come back.
I left at 11:45 having signed with trepidation up for more at the same time next year!