Monday, November 09, 2015

Not An Adventure

     So, yesterday I had an--  H'mm.  Not an adventure.

     I was working a fill-in shift, which meant getting up a little after 1 or 2 a.m. to get to work not later than 5:00 a.m.  Getting ready, I realized I was seeing little flashes of white light in my peripheral vision on my left side and there was something -- maybe stray strands of hair? -- at the edge of my vision on the right side.  And hey, was that a spider or a little bug on the  floor?

     But it whisked out of sight when I looked at it, at which point I realized the various dark spots were floaters inside my eye, little bits of stuff.  You get them as you age; if you haven't had one, you probably will eventually. Mystery solved.

     Hours later, I was at a desk at work when I realized a really big floater was moving around in my left eye.  I looked up at a well-lit, plain wall, and realized that in addition to the big one, there were layers and layers of tiny specks in the vision from my left eye, drifting about.  It was kind of scary and the symptoms, flashes and a sudden bunch of floaters, seemed vaguely familiar.

     Of course I looked it up online.  That combination of things has something greater than a ten percent chance of indicating a torn or detached retina.  They can be repaired -- if you get treatment in 24 to 72 hours.  But it was Sunday.

     A few calls later, I had learned hospital ERs deal with this kind of thing routinely; I left work an hour early and went to the ER, where they checked things out pretty thoroughly. An ER is not an ophthalmologist's office but they have a specialist on tap, along with the good old fashioned instrument for looking into one's eyes -- chin rest, bright light and fancy optics for the doctor.  That was about the last step, after the regular ER doctor had done pressure checks, dye-and-UV checks for damage, and -- to my surprise --ultrasound imaging.  Nothing turned up.  That's a relief.

     They sent me home with hugely dilated eyes and instructions to contact them if anything changed and to schedule appointments with my eye doctor and family doctor.

     I've still got the floaters but at least I have a plan.


fillyjonk said...

Best of luck to you. I admit I said "oh no" when I first read described your symptoms - I have known too many people who have had this problem, and as someone pretty seriously myopic (and therefore at higher risk) I worry about it myself.

As I said, best of luck to you. Eye stuff scares me.

fillyjonk said...

Oh,'s possible it was something as uncomplicated as an ocular migraine. I get those and the first time I had one I would have sworn my retina was detaching, and rushed to the eye doctor....only to have the dang thing go away as I walked in his front door.

Blackwing1 said...

Yet another cause of light flashes and weird stuff is a "posterior vitreous detachment", which sounds bad but usually isn't a terrible thing (although occasionally it can be bad). As we age, the "aqueous humour" in the eye starts to thin, and it can pull away from the retina at the back of the eye. As it does so, it will sometimes cause some really amazing visual effects as it exerts tension on the retina. Usually it just pulls away, with some truly awesome floaters resulting. If it pulls away cleanly, it's just not an issue. The only bad side effect can be if it's too tightly attached; then it can pull the retina away with it...but that's rare.

I've had it happen in both eyes now, and I've named the big floater in the right eye "The tadpole".

What's getting to be really discouraging is when your (looks like a kid) doctor tells you something that starts with, "At your age you can expect..."

(When you got home, did you tell your housemate, "Dilated to see you"?)

Ruth said...

I've had "ocular migraines" most of my life :/ But a few years ago they suddenly got bad enough to cause problems with being able to see (like, 90% of the vision in one eye covered in flashies) but the eye doctor said things were fine. They went away a few months later and I'm back to my occasional colorfull floater and the like. They're not fun. Hope yours goes away without to much more problems!

JPG said...

I wish you well with the situation and hope it IS a minor matter. (I almost wrote, "Keep an eye on the problem," but realized the utter . . . What?) I had a detached retina about three years ago but had the /rare/ good sense to declare an urgent situation and got in to see my ophthalmologist. Twelve hours later I was in surgery and it all worked out.

Similar manifestations this year in left eye. THIS one turned out to be a macular hole in back of the eye. Laser surgery done promptly, with a much more rapid recovery. Result not perfect but a vast improvement.

Best of luck to you.

Hat Trick said...

I too hope it is minor. Wish you well.

Old NFO said...

That's good news. I had something similar, required shots in the eyeball... NOT fun.

pigpen51 said...

no experience with this at all, but am concerned for you. Use caution, it is ok to talk like a pirate once a year, but definitely not ok to be forced to wear a patch like one.
on a serious note----b sharp. something like that could gain sympathy in a shooting match, but most gunnies have no heart.
even it you feel 100 % still get it checked out, just to be safe, ok?