Thursday, January 19, 2012

Here's Looking at You

So I have to share my scary story for the new year. I went to the eye doctor on Friday. Not the optometrist that I've been seeing to have my prescription changed, the "I think there might be an issue" ophthalmologist. I haven't been to my ophthalmologist in probably 10 years or so. My eyes had been good, only some minor prescription changes and I figured I was doing fine. Then Christmas rolled around. 

Jeff and I spent Christmas Eve with my parents, having dinner and just visiting. As we sat around the living room I decided that it was the perfect night to build a fire (they have a great woodburner that I love). So I wandered out into the dark backyard to get some wood. I found the woodpiles without too much trouble although it was dark. As I was bending over gathering the twigs, suddenly I saw a flash of light. A bright round flash of light. Like a circle in my field of vision. My eyes were open. I closed them and saw the same round glowing circle. 

Now I know what flashing lights in the eye mean. They mean a potential for a retinal tear. My mother had issues with flashers. My aunt had issues with flashers. Both had surgery to correct the issue. So a flashing light, no matter what shape is serious. This flash of light caught my breath. I was shaken. I went inside and pretended that nothing had happened though. I waited. And then I didn't say anything the next day. But each time I was in a dark place I would see the ring. Finally, right after the new year I was freaked out enough to make an appointment. On Friday I went in and had a complete work-up. Full dilation, full exam. He even did some specialized tests. Nothing. Absolutely nothing wrong. I can relax.

For those of you who know me, you know how scary this was for me. For the rest of you, I'll explain. I was born with a defect. A stray artery (called the hyaloid artery) that was supposed to disappear when I was born, didn't disappear. Instead it stretched and ripped a hole in the back of my eye, right at my retina. I have a retinal detachment, in a relatively bad spot. The tear took with it my central vision. I have good peripheral but no central vision at all. What that means is that I'm legally blind in that eye. The ring I was seeing was in my other eye (the good eye). If that one had detached I wouldn't be typing this. I wouldn't be able to read it. I would be legally blind. Not completely blind but enough to change my life forever, in a bad way. I would have to learn braille. I wouldn't be able to drive. I wouldn't be able to do my job. 

And that scared me. I thought about how hard it would be to not be able to just pick up any book I want. I thought about how hard it would be to not see what I was writing. I thought about how hard it would be to get around without being able to drive. As I type this I close my good eye and see how well it would go. The red line under my misspelling doesn't even show up in my vision. Easy writing would be a thing of the past. All that said I know that there are people out there who are completely blind and they lead normal happy otherwise healthy lives. I know that I'm blessed with this one eye, that has done double duty since I was born. I know that my story came out good and I'm healthy. I still see the ring but I'm not as worried. But for a moment I was, and because of it, I treasure the sight that I have all the more. 

3 comments:

Deena Nicole said...

Great post, Cat! I love your blog and love the photos of Dr. M.L. King. So glad that your eyes are OK. Here's looking at you, too, kid! :)

Cat B said...

Thanks Deena!! You're so sweet. I love your blog too! Your new years post inspired me. Although more on the cupcake side. :-)

Wasn't that picture of MLK at home wonderful? I knew I had to post it when I saw it. Thanks for the kind words.

Gabby said...

Glad you're ok :-)