I am going to be talking about some stuff that may be a bit graphic for some, so if you are squeamish, you may not want to read this.
I am nearsighted. Extremely so. We are talking about the kind of nearsightedness that when the doctor comes to see me he says, “holy crap you’re blind!” (This has happened to me before.) I have never met anyone with a prescription higher than mine. I wish it was a thing I could brag about but it’s not that cool. (The header is a realistic recreation of my vision without correction, no joke.)
“Nearsightedness occurs if the eyeball is too long or the cornea (the clear front cover of the eye) is too curved. As a result, the light entering the eye isn’t focused correctly, and distant objects look blurred.”
I am the only person in my family that needs eye correction. None of my 6 other siblings, nor my parents, nor any aunts or uncles has needed glasses. (My Uncle Tom wears glasses but I don’t think his prescription is very high.) He is the one uncle out of 9 aunts and uncles that does. I have needed glasses since I was bout 4 years old. It’s hard to tell exactly when I needed them because my father, for the longest time, didn’t want to believe that I needed glasses. When I was old enough to attend kindergarten, that’s when the teacher agreed with my mom, that I couldn’t see well AT ALL.
Skip to 2010. I woke up from the couch and noticed that my vision seemed… off. I couldn’t quite figure out what the problem was but I knew something was wrong. I went to work. A couple hours in my shift, I was doing dishes and I happened to look up at the soap dispenser. I could read the writing but the sentence was smashed in the middle.
I also remember there was a flashing dot in the left part of my left eye. It looked like the circle of flashing light you see after someone shines a flashlight in your face; which is called flash blindness.
“Flash blindness is caused by bleaching (oversaturation) of the retinal pigment.”
But I hadn’t been near any bright lights. I called an opthamologist (it was literally like a guy that worked at Walmart and sold glasses) and described what I was seeing, thinking that I would make an appointment, and see in him a few days. Whatever. He called me back immediately and said that what I was experiencing would need to be looked at by a specialist. Yikes! He gave me a number, and I called the office, and the girl there told me to come in as soon as they opened the next day.
I was in the office for literally over 4 hours. I had many tests done. It all started with a basic eye exam. “What can you read? Can you go one more line down? Cover your right eye.” Etc.
Then came the grid paper. Back them I could tell you exactly where the lines were messed up. I knew exactly where the problem was and how big of an area was effected. (Now I have so many scars in my eyes that a lot of the lines aren’t straight.)
Then came the eye pressure test. It used to be that you put your face up to this machine and it blows air in your face. Now they put numbing drops in your eyes, and they hold this thing that looks like a sonic screwdriver up to your face, and they put the little suction cup looking thing on your eye and “bounce” it on your eye to detect the pressure. Its not as bad as it sounds. It feels like…. Pressure. Doesn’t hurt. Its not wet or dry. It feels like.. not much.
Then they put your face in the stigmatism machine. You put your face close and looking inside this little lens you see a fuzzy picture. It wiggles and then comes in focus and it is a flat field with a clear blue sky and a red and orange striped hot air balloon is in the center. It’s a nice photo.
Then comes the dilation drops. The drops sting like.. you know people squirting liquid in your eyes. It burns. They leave you alone for 15 minutes so you can sit and await your inevitable doom. The doctor comes in after some time, and then holds this huge lens up to my face, that looks like they stole the magnifier from Sherlock’s magnifying glass and they shine a bright light through it to see in my eye. (Since my eyes are dilated, my pupil cannot retract from the light, and they can literally see the back of my eye.) They made me look as far left, right, up, down, bottom left, etc, as I can… and it hurts. The light, as it shines through this lens, is obviously crazy intensified and it looks like a bright yellow bar. As the bar moves around so the doctor can see; your vision turns red and you can see the veins in your eye. When he gets to just the right place the dark flashing spot becomes VERY noticeable and I can see the shape of it very distinctly. I learned that the part of my vision that made things looked pinched was a tear in my retna. The flasher blob was blood cells in my eye because of the tear. (One time when a tear was particularly bad the blood cell was long and I could see the faint outline with the darker center of the cell. If I was standing outsode I could tell that the blog was an red orange color. The nurse said, that in the photos she took later, it looked like a beta fish.) As you are looking as far as you can in a direction, the doctor takes this metal… stick thing ( I couldn’t see it) and he places it on the side of your eye and pushes HARD. He wiggles it up and down, trying to see the edges of your retna to make sure it is not detaching. It feels VERY unpleasant and it always gives me an instant headache.
Now, at this point in time, they took me to an IV specialist and they hooked me up with some dye to get a better picture of what was going on inside my eye. When this first happened they didn’t know exactly what was going on or why, normally if someone has problems like I was having, especially because I was so young, it is because of some trauma. (They asked if I fell or was recently in a car accident. I wasn’t.) So as the dye starts going through my body, it was like someone slipped 3D glasses over my eyes (old school 3D glasses with the blue and the red), except that everything was pink. No, not everything seemed pink or had a slight hue of pink… Every dilly dang thing, everywhere I looked, looked like crazy bright super strawberry slushee pink.
Then came another “chin to strap, forehead to bar” machine. This one got closer than the others (I had to like lean my head away a bit because sometimes it would hit me in the face by accident. I still see this machine every appointment I go to, without the dye though.) Looking through the little lens in this one, shows me nothing but a small blue light and black all around. When it starts taking the picture, a crazy thin red bar moved from the top down and then right to left. The machine makes this horrible high-pitched DINGDINGDING sound that often hurts my head really bad, especially after being poked and prodded like an alien test subject.
(At this point, I went to try and find you an example of what the picture of the back of my eye looks like but I couldn’t find what I was looking for…. Also don’t google this shit… Its horrible.)
OKAY. Now to the good part.
The doctor came in and talked a bunch of mumbo jumbo. Basically this is expensive and obviously you don’t want to be here. Bottom line: if you don’t take care of this.. You WILL go blind. Yay!
People tell me, ‘I’m so brave.’
“Wow, you get eye injections? I could never do that.”
“I would rather go blind then have someone touch my eye.”
Oh, would you? Would you rather BE BLIND then have a doctor help you? Sorry if this seems a bit.. salty, but this happened to me. I had to make a choice. Literally slowly lose my vision forever. Or let a doctor inject medicine directly in my eye. Bottom line, when I get a retna tear, there is damage in my eye. Blood is going where it is not supposed to go. It is technically internal bleeding, I guess. And what does it mean when something is bleeding? It means that thing is dyeing. I am not brave. I had to do what had to be done. I’m sure everyone who is forced to make this choice in life would find it inside themselves to do it too. I’m no hero.
They sent me to a small private room and I balled like a little child. I cried like I never had before in a somewhat public space. The doctor was respectful and she let me have quite a bit of time before coming in to finally do the thing. Now… my first time getting this done, was different then how I have to get it done now. First, they give you a bunch of drops that do different things. Antibacterial, numbing drop, and (they don’t do this one anymore, I don’t know what it did) but this drop that makes everything really really sticky. It didn’t hurt but it made it very difficult to keep my eye open at all and I couldn’t see a damn thing. It was like being underwater. (I wonder now if she used this stuff on me back then to help with that exactly. Because obviously not being able to see a needle coming directly at your eye is a definite plus… Also did I mention I had a HUGE PHOBIA of needles? Like seeing someone give blood will make me feel like I am going to pass out.)
ANYWAY. So after the drops that I get, I get a first numbing injection. The needle (from what I am told, because I cant see shit, Captain) is smaller than the medicine needle but it feels like a bee sting to the eye. It really hurts. Luckily though, it doesn’t last too terribly long; unlike an actual bee sting. Then you wait for a while, 5-10 minutes I think. The doctor gets a head light and tells you to look up at the ceiling. As you comply, you feel this sharp metal “claw” feeling thing on the bottom of your eye lid. “Look down to the floor.” Sharp claw feeling at the top of your eye lid. You now realize that you are paralyzed… There is not a damn thing you can do. You don’t even have permission to blink and that is once of the WORST feelings in the world. Instinctively your opposite eye closes, and stays closed, as if that will help your other eye. Then comes the big needle. Now when I was first getting this done it hurt. I remember it not only being uncomfortable beyond reason but it hurt. I remember being in a full panic, my hands gripping the chair I was reclined in as hard as I can, and not realizing that I was holding my breath. I almost passed out after the first few times, because I would get so stressed that my body couldn’t take it. As soon as I got in the car, I would cry and then fall asleep for 40 minutes until we got home and then sleep some more.
Now, I don’t have the goobly goop stuff. The doctor puts on his headlamp and tells me to look in the top right, as far as I can, and I get the shot in the lower part of my eye. I can kind of see the plunger part of the syringe but I cant see anything without my contacts in. It sucks. It is very uncomfortable. The shot itself doesn’t hurt anymore. Not saying I didn’t have a good doctor in Arizona. She was very awesome and she gave it to me straight, which I appriecated. (She also looked like Mrs Clause. She wasn’t old but she had light hair and big glasses. Her hair was in a messy bun the first time I saw her. It was November; she had on a knee high skirt that was green? And she had a white long sleeve sweater with holly on it.) But after seeing my new Washington doctor, he has perfected the time of numbness where I really don’t feel pain for the medicine shot. He also found a new version of eye clamp thingy that doesn’t feel like a sharp monster holding my eye open anymore. Don’t get me wrong it is the WORST part about everything and it still does hurt. Just not as much. (Its even worse now too because I have to get shots in both eyes now instead of just one.) I can see the medicine as it goes in my eye. I can feel it too. It looks like a trickle of water pooling in my eye, floating down with the gravity. The best part is after he takes the clamps off and he literally squirts saline in my eyes straight from the bottle. It sounds horrible but my eyes are numbed remember? Imagine a horrible headache and horribly dry eyes. Now imagine cool water on a hot day and how refreshing it feels splashed on your face. Its very nice. It rinses all the drops out, it makes the stinging go away, it feels very relaxing.
I feel like the medicine is always doing something different to my body. I have switched medicines so that may be part of it. Twice after leaving, I have seen “black marbles” in the bottom on my vision. They roll around when I am in the car or when I turn my head. It is very strange. Once, after taking a nap I saw waving lines in the side of my vision; like a fan that is spinning in your peripherals, but with no fan.
Another time, I woke up the next morning and when I put on my contacts, everything had a fish eye type look to it and I couldn’t really walk because I thought I was going to fall over I was very dizzy. I normally always have a horrible headache afterward. Always the next morning, or even a few hours after after my visit, I have hard balls of eye drops or blood in the corner of my eye. Those are painful. Sometimes I feel sick. The eye drops and medicine in my eyes tastes gross in the back of my throat. That sucks too.
Well yeah, I think that’s about it. I dunno. I lost my thunder and now I feel a little sick thinking about it all. I actually have an appointment tomorrow…
Now go watch some cartoons to make you feel better. That’s what I am going to do.