Sunday, November 05, 2006

it's all about the eyes

I've complained about my vision before. Or whined really. It could be worse. It could always be worse.

But here's the story. My eyes were probably 'bad' from birth. It was the advice of my 2nd grade teacher that pushed the egg donor and her second husband to take me to the eye doc. It wasn't covered by insurance, and it was expensive. Turns out even in the 2nd grade, it was pretty bad. I had never known, for example, that when the teacher was writing things on the board, I was supposed to be able to see it.

I could say that my first pair of glasses became my window to the world, that all was as it should be. But it took me some time to get used to being able to see, and figuring out the damned bifocals was a challenge. And the lenses were so thick (no high powered plastic lenses back then) that my nickname at school soon became 'coke bottle.' You remember the old coke bottles, how thick the glass bottom of the bottle was? Yeah.

So, fast forward to today. Minus 10 in the left eye, minus 11.5 in the right. Severe astigmatism. Severe myopia. Reading glasses with my contacts. I hate that I can't see as well with my eyeglasses as I can with my contacts. And I hate that for the last few weeks, my eyes seem to be rejecting my contacts. I'm wearing them less and less, and they irritate my eyes more and more. And over the last couple of years, I've begun to have problems seeing at night, which has made driving a challenge.

And there are the admonitions at every yearly exam. 'You're at extreme risk of a detached retina. If you ever see flashes of light when you shouldn't, or black 'floaters' moving across your eyes, get to an emergency room immediately.'

I'd always scoffed at that. But about two Fridays ago, I began to see those black floaters at the end of the work day, after working in front of the computer screen all day. I panicked, of course, and tried the whole blinking and closing/resting my eyes, getting up to do something else so I could focus on things further away than my computer. But they didn't go away. So I left work a slight bit early, thinking I'd go by the emergency room at the hospital on the way home. But during the drive, it seemed to get a little better, and all I could think about was how stupid I'd feel if I went to the hospital and it was nothing.

So I let it go, and went home, took out my contacts, and took a nap. I figured maybe it was just eye strain from all the computer work. But at some point in the last week, I've also noticed that the vision in my left eye has become worse. Significantly worse. When I close my eyes one at a time, I can still see quite clearly with my right eye, but everything is blurred with my left.

So I went online to learn more about eye things like detached retinas. I also read a bit about astigmatism, and found that people with severe eye curvature like mine can have problems with headaches and sensitivity to light, both of which I deal with regularly. Who knew!?

But I digress. Back to the detached retina. Seems that if the black floaters continue, or get worse, or tend to be followed by a loss of vision, it could be serious. But what exactly is a 'loss of vision'? A complete loss, or a loss like mine? I have no idea.

So, I could call the doc and ask, right? Make an appointment? Problem is, the doc I usually see at Costco has left, and there is someone new there who doesn't know my history. Plus, it would cost. And they are usually optometrists, not opthalmologists (which I need). I have insurance that covers one eye exam and one pair of glasses every 24 months, and I was just there last spring. I don't know if it covers emergency issues like this. I'll have to call the insurance company tomorrow. But I really hate having to see someone new who has no sense of the history of my eyes.

Geez, I hope it's nothing.

1 comment:

lovelyand said...


yeah, there are photos posted,, and I won't even make a joke about not being able to see them.
because i JUST went through the same thing you are going through.

a few years back, i was seeing yellow sparkles and had the detached retina check... no detached retina
last month I had it checked again due to white detached retina, so soon i go to the neurologist, why? to see if I have a tumor instead.
the yellow sparkles were deemed occular migraines
nobody knows what the white flashes are...
the black floaters are seriously fucking serious and i don't have them, but if you do, well, once the fucker detaches, it don't go back.

i have astigmatism and my eyes are -4.5 and -5.25 (left is worse)

but um, well, honey, combined with the losing time last month and now the black floaters, you need to at the very least call a nurse or something and find out if you need to go to emergency. you know?

because my doctor and the opthamologist were FREAKING out over black floaters, and I did not even have them.

It is serious.

so you get your retina checked, and I will get my brain checked and we will both be freaked out, and hopefully it will be nothing.

(I got my glasses in 2nd grade too)

my appointment is for the 17th
I am not telling anyone, but I am flipping out on the inside.
nerologist appts make me nervous. i have stopped doing my homework.

make and appointment, OK? You can see a gen. practicioner and get a referral, can't you?

(it's infinitesimal)