Thursday, April 24, 2008

Eye-Opening Experience

Thursday, April 24, 2008 -- Vancouver, WA

After crawling out of bed yesterday morning, I became increasingly aware of some changes to my vision. I've always had some "floaters" swimming around in the vitreous gel inside my eyes... I think almost everyone does. But yesterday, a new and bigger blob was floating around in my left eye and was very noticeable as I read the morning news on my PC screen. As I was "focusing" on this problem, I became aware of another -- I was seeing "flashes", small bolts of lightning, off to the far left of my field of vision. What could this be? Hmmm.

I've been fairly vigilant about getting to an eye doctor every year or two. Other than the normal vision degradation that accompanies aging my eyes have been healthy. I always mention the floaters to the doc and when I do they always ask if I've noticed a change in the number or size, and if I've experienced any "flashes". It seems these two symptoms can accompany a tear in the retina and the beginning of a detached retina. Yikes. Now my mind is working overtime.

After a period of denial -- no, this isn't any thing serious, it's just a passing thing, I'm really ok -- I brought Dar into the picture. If you know Dar, you know that she doesn't fool around. Within an hour and a half, I was in an examination room at the Vancouver Eye Clinic as they looked and checked and gave me the twice-over. The doc didn't see anything to be concerned about, but I've got to watch it for the next few weeks. In his learned opinion, the vitreous -- the gel inside the eye -- is normally attached to the retina at a few points. As we age, that gel starts to shrink a little, and as it does it often pulls away from some of those connection points on the retina. In the process of doing so it excites the vision cells on the retina creating those intermittent flashes. It can also cause new floaters. If that's it, there's nothing to be concerned about and nothing to do about it. That's the hypothesis anyway.

So we'll keep an "eye" on it.