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Glaucoma Update

A correspondent reminded me over the weekend that I haven't updated my Marinol posting from June, 2013. He wanted to know if my ophthalmologist's idea to dab artificial marijuana over my eyes had continued to reduce my optic nerve pressure and fend off the effects of glaucoma. He said it in terms that no writer likes to hear: "You left the reader hanging."

Thanks for prompting me, Bob. Here's what happened:  Read More 
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I'm a Medical Research Pioneer

I am on the front lines of medical research.

Some quick background: I was diagnosed with glaucoma a few years ago. It’s the kind where stuff clogs up the mesh that allows your eye to drain and causes fluid buildup that raises the pressure on your optic nerve. The pressure eventually causes irreversible damage and blindness. There are drops that lower the pressure, but I can’t tolerate some of them and the ones I can are less effective.

There are two laser procedures. They’re supposed to blast openings in the mesh at the back of the eye to promote drainage. I’ve had both of them on my left eye. They leave you with diminishing options since they cause some tissue damage. I had the last one about three weeks ago.

It diminished the pressure in the eye a little bit. Ideally, the pressure on your optic nerve should be measured in the teens. Mine was 30 before the procedure and in the mid-20s after it – better but still not where it should be.

My doctor’s name is Robert Ritch. He’s what Mark Twain would have called a rip-snorter: loud, demanding, volatile, impatient and obsessive on the subject of glaucoma. An office visit is a ticket to performance art; interns and fellows swirl in his wake like leaves in a stream, moving from patient to patient in five examining rooms at any given time. He treats rock stars and royalty and the heads of unsavory governments because he’s very, very good at what he does. Which is why I go to him even though he doesn't take Medicare and I pay out of pocket. Plus he’s fun to talk to.

He’s also curious, smart, and willing to try anything. Read More 
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