Julie Barrett is a freelance writer and photographer based in Plano, TX.

The Eyes Don't Have It

Fresh when it gets here from Julie Barrett
Wednesday, January 30, 2013

So, I was just going to tell a few people who needed to know, and that circle kept expanding. So the cat(aract) is out of the bag: I've had a retina tear.

This happened Sunday. I saw a few flashes in the eye that went under the knife last fall. Then while I was in the shower (cue the Psycho theme) there was a rapid series of flashes in the eye, then I saw lots of spots before the eye. Oh, lovely. Fortunately, my eye docs have been warning me that this might happen. My optometrist has been preparing me for a couple of years, and then the surgeon reinforced his warnings. I'm at risk because I'm freaking blind. My eyes are very oblong (think an egg instead of a sphere) and because of that, the retina is thin.

There's really nothing I could do but be prepared, and prepared I was. Went to the surgeon on Monday, and he sent me to a retina specialist, who got me in first thing yesterday morning. I had to have an ultrasound on the eye because there was bleeding. Eeeeyyyiiiccck. (Not a real word, but that's the sound I made.)

How bad was it? Imagine looking through a very thick fog with a heavy suspension of coffee grounds. And there was something viscous and jelly-like swimming around. (All together now: Eeeeyyyiiiccck.) I couldn't see out, and they couldn't see in. Not a good thing.

We'll gloss over the ultrasound, except to say I didn't know they made wands that small. They were able to discover that the retina had torn, and the piece had broken off and was floating around. (Eeeeyyyiiiccck.) Except that was actually good news, because that meant the torn piece wasn't tugging at the rest of the retina, which would greatly increase the odds of a detachment. And it appeared the tear site was healing. But yeah, they had a tough time seeing even that.

The retina guy explained that the tear managed to break a blood vessel (as far as they could tell) and the coffee grounds I'm seeing is blood. The good news is that virtually every time this happens that will eventually settle out. From what he could see, this is something that can be fixed in his office with a frickin' laser. 

So, what's next? I get to take it easy for a few days. I'm at the computer in limited sprints. I have a follow up tomorrow morning, and I expect they'll be able to see a lot more. I can actually read the text I'm typing through that eye - barely. Compare this to Monday's visit to my cataract surgeon when I couldn't even see the big "E" they projected on the wall. It was all a white blob. I couldn't even see the black in the letter. Yesterday I could read the "E" plus the first three or four lines. 

The specialist is very optimistic that he can fix it with a laser treatment, but we have to wait for everything to settle. The reason they have fog at laser shows is to disperse the beam so the human eye can see it. The crud in my eye would disperse the beam as well, and that's not a good thing. The laser needs pinpoint accuracy to do its job.

I'm willing to wait and take it easy. This may mean I won't have the new stock I was hoping to have at Sci-Fi Expo next weekend. I hope I'll have something new for the art show at ConDFW the following weekend. The main thing right now is to get the eye healed, and if I lose some income, well, that's the price I have to pay, so to speak.

I may also be bowing out of the Month of Letters challenge. We'll see what happens tomorrow. 

The worst parts right now? I'm not getting behind the wheel of a car. I'm doing a lot better today, but I'm not going to get out and drive with impaired vision in one eye. And the "taking it easy" bit. You know, it's fun to watch TV, unless I'm forced to do it. I'm thinking of a zillion things I'd rather be doing.

I'll try for an update tomorrow. Right now I've hit the end of this computer session. Gotta go relax a bit.

Tags: Life

Filed under: Life            


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