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Flickering eyesight
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Flickering eyesight

I am 60 year old, and have had good eyesight, except for needing reading glasses now. However in the last few weeks I have been experiencing a lot of flickering in front of my eye, or eyes, not sure if it is one or both. It has nothing to do with looking at florescent lighting, or a flickering monitor. It seems worse in the morning, and coming indoors from outdoors. It is driving me nuts. Any ideas what it may be? There is no pain involved.


This discussion is related to Flickering vision.
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233488_tn?1310696703
This could be a serious internal problem in the eye. It is the type of symptom that needs to see an Eye MD ophthalmologist. Find one at www.aao.org

JCH MD
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Avatar_f_tn
Thank you for your comment Dr. I was really thinking about booking a Dr's appt. but wanted to do a bit of reasearch first. Here in Ontario you can't just go to any Specialist, you have to be referred by your family Dr., so it is good to go a bit prepared.

I also just realised I did not mention a previous eye problem that just may be related.
A few years ago, I began to see wavy lines, and distorted vision when I looked out the corner of my left eye. I did end up seeing two Specialist, and have tests. I was told I had a "growth" pressing on my eye. This growth, I was told was like a "blood blister" and was already going away, by the time I had my more intense tests. However my vision problem remained, and I was told that the pressure on my eye likely caused my lense to alter. This problem has not gotten worse, not is there any pain.

I also should have mentioned that I have dry eyes, and frequently get a lot of burning in them as well. I do not need stronger reading glasses I have been told, and that maybe it was eyetstrain. I do read a lot of books, almost constantly in fact. My eyes always seem tired as well. Could this be from eyestrain also.

I hope this other info. may shed more light (sorry, no pun intended) on the subject.
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233488_tn?1310696703
You know there is a huge fight brewing in the USA about adopting a system that could lead to the type of system you have in Canada or UK.

It would not even be up for consideration if people in the USA understood how health care is rationed.

In the USA you would see a retina specialist within 24-48 hours of these types of problems. If you were penniless you could go to an ER with eye services and get treatment reagardless of your ability to pay. MRI and CT scans can be done with 24 hrs in emergencies and in less than a week in non emergencies. I can get patients to neurologist, cancer specialists, etc  within 1-2 weeks for non-emergencies and within 24 hrs in emergencies.

We have both Canadian physicians on our staff that left because they did not want the government ration board to tell them what they can do and I have over 20-25 canadian patients that state they would never return to Canada till that system is changed.

That's a long way of saying you need to see a retina specialist ASAP.  

There is a wonderful new medicine for "wet" macular degeneration and it is treated with Lucentis or Avastin. In England the NICE ration board has decreed it is so expensive that it can be used in only 1 of 5 possible cases that need it and only in one eye. The rest are left to go blind because its too expensive.

JCH MD
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Avatar_m_tn
As a very satisfied user of the NHS in the UK, can I just comment on that last paragraph?  Without getting into political discussion about how health care is best funded, the example of Avastin and AMD is rather misleading.  Avastin does not have a produce license in the UK for opthalmic use. I think the US, like the UK, has a drug licensing system - this has nothing to do with cost or rationing.

Nevertheless our system is not rigid - a drug can still be prescribed outside of its license conditions on clinical grounds.  The NICE guidelines for Avastin state: "Bevacizumab (Avastin) is conventionally a cancer drug, and in the UK it is currently given along with chemotherapy, usually 5FU (fluorouracil) and leucovorin, and sometimes with irinotecan as well. However, medicines can be prescribed for purposes for which they are not licensed (off-label) and Bevacizumab has recently been used by ophthalmologists as an intravitreal agent in the treatment of proliferative (neovascular) eye diseases, particularly for choroidal neovascular membrane (CNV) in age-related macular degeneration (AMD)."

However its use is controversial and it is actually the Royal College of Opthalmology - whose views are, I think, generally respected in the US - that does not recommend its use:
"However, at the present time, the College does not recommend the routine use of intravitreal bevacizumab for choroidal neovascularisation over anti-VEGFs which are already licensed for that indication, and recommended by NICE. There is currently insufficient data on the optimum dose and dose- frequency, as well as medium to long term efficacy and safety of bevacizumab. This is especially so in light of the recent warnings of the manufacturer.  The College cannot endorse the commissioning of Avastin services on the basis of current evidence. Should intravitreal bevacizumab be used, the College advises such use must either be part of a research programme (as in the IVAN Study) or be documented by robust ongoing audit, with systematic prospective data collection."
The Royal College of Ophthalmologists: The Use of Bevacizumab (Avastin) in AMD – 24th February 2009.

(Oh, and by the way, I was seen by a retina specialist within 24 hours of attending my local NHS hospital's emergency department with my RD and I had surgery within 48 hours. This is unremarkable in the UK.  And I do not have to consider the cost, or whether my health insurance covers me (or if the provider will increase my future costs or limit future coverage.)
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233488_tn?1310696703
Okay I keep score:
Happy with NHS posting here: 3
Unhappy 64

Glad you're one of the three

JCH MD
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Avatar_m_tn
Okay.  
Well I haven't kept score, but I suppose I could go through these forums and count the number of posts by US residents that go along the lines of  "I can't afford it.......... I don't have insurance............. my health care provider won't pay for this drug...........  I'm unemployed, so I can't buy the meds......... This condition isn't covered..... etc. etc."

You get the drift, I'm sure, but I don't want to get political.  Our NHS in the UK isn't perfect, but neither is the private health system over your side of the pond.  I was simply responding with plain facts - not opinions - to your posting that for some inexplicable reason chose to take a swipe at the NHS in response to a post that gave no reason for such an attack.

Truce? :)  
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233488_tn?1310696703
Long live the friendship of the British people and their cousins in the USA. Peace indeed.

Thanks for your comments.

JCH MD
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Avatar_m_tn
Dr Hagan,

You are completely mis-informed. I am a Brit Living in the US. I have good health insurance with a large Oil company but can tell you theat I have mostly negative experiences with my Insurance company and the level/quality of healthcare that I get over here. I have been denied certain procedures/tests by my Insurance company here, plus they have tried to have me pay additional huge copays for services already included in my plan. Its disgraceful, not to mention extremely tacky and worrying when the day before you go in for an MRI they tell you need to pay $2500 as a copay then thirty minutes late (after arguing with the hospital and insurance company) they back down.
The quality of the healthcare here in the US is not as good as one might expect. My PCP and neurologist seem to walk around with their head in a  cloud of fog and their level of knowledgee seems low, not to mention the level of compasssion is almost zero.

I also just saw on the news (CNN) that the overwhelming majority  of the radiologists over here cheat on their radiologist exams which only concerns me more about the quality/knowledge of these doctors. Do they even know how to read an MRI?

The NHS is not perfect but my experiences of the healthcare system in the UK have been overwhelmingly positive. I have never had to wait one day, never been denied a visit to a speciallist or felt like the Doctors are unqualified either. In my opinion, the Doctors overin the UKare just better at their jobs and are definitely more knowledgable, escpecially the GPs.

Based on my experiences it s a misnomer that healthcare in the US  is not rationed. It is completely rationed by the insurance company and whats worse its rationed also by your ability to pay and not administered based on ones medical needs.

My one worry is that our new Prime Minister is slowly privatising the NHS (you can also go private anyway) which our surgeon general has proclaimed as the biggest threat to the health of our citizens and will be a step backwards.

Brits live a full 2 years longer than my fellow Americans, which can in part be attributed to our health sevice

Healthcare is not about profits. It is about People. Hopefully Americans will realise this soon.
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Avatar_f_tn
I would like to say that my experience of the national health service in the UK has been excellent,after being diagnosed with a macular hole last year it was dealt with quickly and successfully.the follow up care has also been excellent.
If i had paid to go private (which is an option everyone has ) i would not have been treated any better.
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Avatar_m_tn
I am from Germany and while living there I had excellent health care with a private socialized system.  Much better than in the USA.  The doctors don't make as much (even though I have never met one who is not a millionaire in either country ( with his own practice) .  That may be the real beef with the so called bad system in the UK and Canada.  if you want to be exploited, misinformed, misguided and overmedicated let's keep what we have in the USA!
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