Musician Back on Stage Thanks to Expert Treatment by Retina Specialist
Glen Washington, a professional drummer, singer and songwriter, was on tour in Europe when he noticed his eyesight wasn’t quite right. At first, Glen’s vision seemed blurry and he didn’t feel comfortable driving at night.
Even with reading glasses, he had a hard time reading normal-sized words in print. With his ability to drive and read impacted, Glen had to rely more on his wife and felt he was losing some of his independence.
Glen has diabetes and always did his best to follow his doctor’s advice and keep his A1C, or blood sugar, under control even as he toured the globe, singing and performing with a band and as a solo artist. On his recent European tour, Glen’s hectic travel schedule affected his ability to manage his diabetes and he experienced symptoms of diabetic retinopathy, a retinal condition that occurs when diabetes damages blood vessels in the retina.
“I could tell my vision was getting worse and I was having trouble not only driving but also reading and watching TV and I started to get depressed,” Glen said. “I’m a songwriter, and I had to start writing the words to my songs larger and larger so I could read them. At that point, I knew I needed to see someone for help.”
After returning to the states, Glen was introduced to ASRS member Dr. Jaya Kumar, a retina specialist, who determined that diabetic retinopathy had affected both of his eyes. She immediately developed a personalized treatment plan to improve his vision that included laser treatments and intravitreal injections, also known as eye injections.
“When someone tells you that they’re going to give you an injection in your eye, that’s really, really scary,” Glen said. “But now I look forward to going in for my treatments. Dr. Kumar is so gentle and the process is a breeze. Sometimes I ask when the injection is starting and she’s already finished it.”
With ongoing treatment, Glen is back to performing, driving and can read even the smallest text which is helping him as he works on his next two albums and travels the US playing shows. He’s grateful to Dr. Kumar for the care she’s provided and for the ability to get back on stage, doing what he loves. Glen encourages his friends, family and bandmates to stay on top of their eye health and to seek out a retina specialist at the first sign of symptoms, especially those with diabetes.
“If you have vision issues, find a retina specialist like Dr. Kumar right away,” Glen said. “I look forward to my treatments now. I can see things I couldn’t see before and read the smallest print and I have Dr. Kumar to thank for it.”