Monday, September 21, 2009

The Eyes Have It....

Posted by Terry McNichols

I anticipated writing a much different post for today, detailing the fun-filled week I just experienced in Las Vegas. I met up with my son and his wife and took care of my 5-year-old grandchild while her parents attended a work-related Expo. I did, indeed, have a fun-filled week, and would recommend such an experience to anyone for whom the opportunity arises. Zella and I had a lot of time together and made many happy memories.

However, the 3rd day of our time together, things got sticky. We were walking around the Strip when things started happening in my right eye. I had noticed floaters and flashers in my left eye a few days before the trip, had done some research and talked to my physician husband. We determined that what I was seeing was normal and didn't need any attention. Armed with the information as to what to watch for was, however, extremely useful. I began to experience floaters in my right eye that can only be described as cobwebs. They increased rapidly over the course of an hour until my vision was impaired by the swirling shapes. I kept thinking this would go away. Suddenly, however, instead of just cobwebs, I could no longer see out of the right eye. I had a very thick fog as well as the cobwebs. I knew enough to be scared!

After several phone calls and a hand off of Zella to her parents, I spent an hour or two gathering information (read: on hold with insurance companies and doctor's offices) before determining that I should see a retina specialist. I was able to get an early afternoon appointment and it was determined I had a retina tear with a vitreous hemorrhage. In short, this means that the foggy haze I was seeing was blood from a tear across a blood vessel. It was repaired in the doctor's office by laser and I was back out on the Strip attending a show with Zella by evening. Had the laser repair not worked, I would have been looking at something more serious (detached retina) and would have been on a plane back to Seattle for major surgery.

My point in detailing this event for our readers is to suggest that knowledge in advance can save you an uncomfortable trip to the emergency room or urgent care. Because I knew a lot about the potential dangers of a torn retina and had done my research in advance, I didn't panic, but took the necessary steps to get to the proper care. Flashers and floaters are, unfortunately, a normal part of aging, but it is important to know the signals of a more serious problem. I have linked to two articles that detail the symptoms and repair procedures and would suggest you read them! Here and here.

It will be two or three weeks before the blood will clear and I can see well again. I am extremely grateful that this wasn't more serious, and I will be keeping a close eye on my eyes! Zella and I had a little fun, playing pirates. I was especially happy to hear that Saturday was "International Talk Like a Pirate Day." I fit right in!


Karla said...

So glad that you were able to get it fixed quickly and still enjoy your Grandma Time. That photo of you and Zella sure is sweet.

Kris Evenson said...

Yikes! That's not fun at all. But, I'm so glad that they caught that early. Mike had a similar thing happen when he was leaning into the trunk of our car and the trunk fell down (a faulty latch that was later recalled for the same issue). It hit him on the corner of his eye, stung badly but didn't seem to be anymore than just a bump. Two hours later, he asked me to look in his eye because he was seeing spots and his vision was looking blurry. It wasn't until then that he mentioned the trunk incident. A trip to the ER, laser, etc. and he too had a nice pirate patch! His vision seems to be doing fine...although I wish I could say the same for the hearing...but that's another story. :)

Hope you are on the mend soon! :)