Fixed and Dilated

As an avid lifetime reader, I’ve always harbored a fear of losing my sight. As I’ve aged, my vision has degraded and I eventually required glasses to correct for my impaired distance vision. Too many years spent staring at a computer screen has degraded my close up vision and now the only distance that is clear is about two to three feet away.

As I’ve visited with my eye doctor over the years, he has always checked the pressure in my eyes and discussed the inevitability of floaters. As part of his warnings, he has always cautioned me to seek immediate eye care if I ever experience flashes of light.

In early December I noticed an unaccustomed movement in the peripheral vision of my right eye, followed by a significant increase in the number of floaters in my eye. It got to the point it was like looking through a polka dot pattern. The little black dots overlaid everything, blurring my vision and setting off little warning bells in my head. Stubborn as I am, I did my best to ignore the symptoms until the evening of 13th of December when I started seeing flashes in my peripheral vision. That’s when I umm, is panicked too harsh a description?

I was referred to an eye surgeon and bright and early the next morning I was sitting in an examination chair. Over the next couple of hours I found out why interrogators use bright lights to soften up their detainees. An assistant dilated my eyes, took dozens of pictures of my eyes, and then the doctor started in with bright lights and magnifying glasses. It turns out the vitreous in my tired old eyes has started to shrink. I was experiencing a posterior vitreous detachment which resulted in a retinal tear.

I received laser surgery to “spot weld” around the retinal tear. From what I understand, the procedure creates tiny spots of scarring that serve to affix the retina back to the wall of the eye with the hoped for outcome that the tear won’t turn into a detachment. I left the surgeon’s office sporting a fashionable pair of light shielding, throw-away glasses. Not only was I styling, but the dark plastic hid my man-hole-cover sized pupils which had all but erased my irises.

The surgeon told me to watch for a marked increase in floaters, flashes of light, or a curtain effect drawing across my vision. Precisely one week later, I started experiencing flashes of light in my left eye. Another call to the eye surgeon resulted in dilation, pictures, and another totally uncomfortable examination. Yep, the vitreous in my left eye had detached but fortunately this time there were no tears produced in the process.

Once again, I staggered from the surgeon’s office with my disposable glasses obscuring my enormous black pupils. My beautiful bride drove me home, and fortunately we didn’t have an accident. I can only imagine what an emergency responder would have said had she/he flashed a feeble pen light in my eyes. “Pupils are fixed and dilated, looks like this one’s a goner. Too bad, he died with his stories still in’im.”

That’s not the way I want to go, or the epitaph I want to earn, so I guess I’d best get on with my storytelling. I can still see, I can still type, so as long as you keep reading my stories, I’ll keep writing them down.