“damn your eyes!”

The line from Young Frankenstein is in my head.  The one to which Igor (“It’s pronounced ‘EYE-gore'”) retorts: “Too late!”

I’m hoping in my case it’s not.

Here’s the deal.  For a few years now, since at least 2008, my vision’s been getting a little blurry.  Not bad.  I always pass my vision screenings (although anyone who can think can compensate on those things…why do they use them?  You read it with your good eye then they show you the exact same chart and have you read it again, as if you won’t remember the order of letters and that that now blurred thing that might be a C is an E).

About two years ago, I notice that light on dark things looked weird.  I noticed it first when watching the opening credits in a movie, light titles on a dark background.  “Wow, that’s an irritating font” I told my husband.  He didn’t know what I meant.  I described the shimmering border on the letters, “It looks like they tried to put some fancy engraving effect on it or something but it just looks bad and makes my eyes water”.  With some concern, he explained that it was plain, unadorned white letters.  Shit.  Ok so off to the eye doc I went.  Nope, all good.  Nothing wrong there.

So now it’s two years later.  To the month in fact.  And I noticed last weekend when we were out at night that every light was way too bright, had massive halos on it with spokes of light shining out in a radial pattern broken up by striations of darker circumferal lines that were a little perturbed, warped.  The effect was sort of like seeing thumb prints on all the lights.  Shit.  Really.  I considered how I’d been so much more sensitive to light lately, which I had assumed was just the migraine status that I am always just this side of.  And now I’m realizing that it may not be.  I am experiencing glare effects in my vision, only in my right eye, to the point where it is making it hard to see the keyboard in front of me as I type even (the computer monitor light creates a glare that eats up the keyboard letter contrasts).

Off to the eye doctor I go.  I go to the same place because although I wasn’t in love with them, they had my most recent records and could make a comparison.  I got Ye Olde Timey Eye Doc, who explained patronizingly that “vision is never perfect”.  Excuse me sir, but I’m 40.  About to be 41.  And I am dealing with a vision defect that most people don’t encounter until they are much, much older (unless they have systemic diseases like diabetes, Sjorgrens, etc.).  “There is some mild clefting of the biologic lens” he tells me.  Like that means squat.  He explains (after I prompt him) that this could be the start of cataract.  But that it’s really mild and it’s not uncommon to see halos around pinpoint lights in the dark.  “That’s an extreme condition” (for seeing things) he tells me.  “So then this should be relatively stable, I mean it shouldn’t change  and progress quickly, right?” “It SHOULDN’T” he says.  Then says “Why don’t we check again in 6 months.”

Yeah, well, it’s getting bigger.  I’m not just using subjective measurement.  I’m using the radius of the distortion around a stable point.  The LED on my flashdrive from a fixed distance.  It’s getting larger.  And I’m having more daytime effects now too.  WTF.  I am trying to decide if I should call this doc back or just strike out to find another.  I think the latter will require support from another doc, my primary maybe, to get whoever I see next to realize that I do in fact have other health problems which could be causing this, whatever this is.  Cataract, vitamin deficiency, something.

And so the body has a new trick.  Just when  I was getting used to all the old ones.

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  1. Your body is doing a God on you – you’re Job, and it’s testing you to see how you stand up?

  2. That sounds like as good an explanation as any.

    Here’s how I like to try to think of it, when I can, because it helps make it suck less.

    While it has made me more stressed and prone to impatience, and while it can be exceptionally limiting, it also (somewhat paradoxically) has significantly increased my empathy. And I am, for now, still able to work. I have chosen to work in an area where I help to support people with disabilities gain opportunities for education. I love doing this. I helped a student with daily chronic migraines find solutions for her readings, I helped a student with lupus get some accommodations that will make getting to, staying at, and succeeding in school more possible. I am helping a blind woman get her law degree. I like my work (even if I don’t always love my job) because I feel like I am helping to change the culture of disability, by doing it I am helping to change how people with disabilities are perceived by being a person with a disability in the workplace; I am helping change what they can do by making sure – as much as I can – that they have the tools to do it.

    This is my enlightened approach, which I cannot always get behind but which I try to appreciate when I can. It helps make me feel less lost.


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