Hey everyone, I hope you all had an excellent Christmas and safe New Year. I've been a little quiet during this festive season as I've been recovering from eye surgery for a detached retina. It hasn’t been the best holiday but frankly my eyesight’s been saved and that’s huge. I'll be recovering for a while yet but want to acknowledge everyone who has sent me their best wishes and kept my spirits up during my recovery. I want to thank my surgeon Mark Fajgenbaum who saved my eyesight – a gift beyond measure.
Our public health system is excellent and I would also like to thank Reid Ferguson and the Waikato DHB aftercare team who were extraordinarily kind, professional and who got me over the first few days following surgery.
I encourage people to learn more about their eye health in the hope of preserving their vision and don't rely on Google to diagnose yourself! My self-diagnosed "cataract" prevented me from acting swiftly, and only luck and my surgeon's skill prevented permanent sight loss.
Retinal detachment itself is painless but warning signs usually appear before it occurs or has advanced, including sudden appearance of many floaters — tiny specks that seem to drift through your field of vision, flashes of light in one or both eyes, blurred vision, gradually reduced side vision, or a curtain-like shadow over your visual field. Seek immediate medical attention if you are experiencing the signs or symptoms of retinal detachment as it is a medical emergency in which you can permanently lose your vision. Thankfully, I intend to return to Parliament soon after a full recovery from my surgery and hope to see more of you out there in the Bay of Plenty in 2021.