Thursday, September 02, 2010

Beware the Floater!

And I'm not talking about the kind that you find in your toilet bowl. (Not everything I talk about is scatological, Big Dog, despite what you may think.)

I first noticed it on Saturday. A little black floater in my left eye. It was like a pesky fruit fly -- I kept swatting at the air, trying to get it to fly away.
"If it weren't in my dominant eye, it wouldn't bother me as much, but this sucks," I complained to Big Dog's sister who was staying at the ranch with her husband.

The next day, it had shifted shape and location, but it was still there. By Wednesday, it was joined by several buddies, some of whom were like shreds of pretty black lace. That was when I also noticed that my left eye was looking through a ProMist filter. (That's what we used to use on our video cameras to give the picture a film grain.) AND neutral density filter.

Actually, it was more like a piece of really dirty 8mm film. Life through an unwashed windscreen (whoops, that's "windshield" for you Americans.)

So I started doing a little research and found out that the medical term for floaters is "posterior vitreous detachment" and is normally caused by bits of vitreous gel coming loose inside your eye. "A normal aging phenomenon" the article said, depressing me somewhat. I actually LIKE the idea of getting older because I don't necessarily equate added years with added wear and tear. Now it looked like what I had was a sign of premature aging! Wearing out too soon! Rusting away from misuse! But the article also added that in a small percentage of cases, it was also a symptom of retinal tear or retinal detachment that, if left untreated, could cause blindness.

Being a very visual person, the idea of losing my sight scared me into making an appointment with an ophthalmologist immediately and so off I went to see Dr. O.

Dr. O was as gentle as could be, but I was still gripping the armrests as he poked and prodded me in the eye.

This is what I felt like:


And -- surprise, surprise -- it turned out that my condition was not a "normal aging phenomenon" but a result of retinal tear! It should have made me pleased ("Oh, so these wrinkles AREN'T a sign of aging but a terrible skin condition? Great!") but the thought of going through more "Clockwork Orange" kept elation at bay.

It didn't take long and here I am, back home again with my retina welded back into place, vision a little blurry but at least still there. With the pupil dilated to the max, my left eye looks very trippy! I should go and fashion myself a pirate's eye patch. Yaarrrr.

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