About a week ago in the evening my left eye suddenly started misbehaving. For one thing, a huge floater, shaped like the number 7, appeared then drifted across and out of my view. That was followed by numerous small black dots, as though someone had shaken pepper across my eye. Then there were a few small flashes off to the side.
There was no pain, but my eye felt a bit weird and my vision was blurry.
I can’t remember if I already had a headache, but the next week was miserable, with fierce headaches, blurred vision and a foggy head. I had trouble reading, writing and thinking but persevered with work. Sometimes life is just like that, for me, anyway, with foggy brain, headaches and not seeing too clearly.
Public Service Announcement: apparently if you suddenly see lots of floaters, flashing lights or a shadow obscuring part of your vision you should seek immediate help.
I tried getting more sleep, temporarily stopping my nasal spray for hayfever, and using some eyedrops from the local pharmacy.
When my vision didn’t clear up after a few days though I made an appointment with my regular optometrist. Late Friday afternoon she examined both eyes and decided I had
vitreous detachment in my left eye. My next step is to see a specialist in such things.
This highly technical info for health professionals explains vitreous detachment:
The vitreous makes up about 80% of ocular volume. It consists mostly of water (99%), the remainder being hyaluronic acid and collagen fibrils. These fibrils connect the vitreous to the retina. Some areas (at the disc, the fovea and around the periphery anteriorly) are more adherent than others. The concentration of hyaluronic acid decreases with age and the vitreous liquefies (synchysis) and reduces in volume, causing it to fall away from the retina and cause a vitreous detachment. In doing so, it may pull on the retina (particularly if one of the more adherent areas has become detached) and a retinal tear may result. If fluid seeps under a retinal tear, a retinal detachment ensues.
Fortunately the headaches finally stopped and my brain cleared. My eye remains partly foggy, so detailed work, like reading, is tiring, though watching movies is just fine. I find as I read or write my right eye also gets a bit ‘foggy’ from time to time. I suspect it’s either
going out in sympathy or just reacting to the poor focus in my left eye.
Apparently it’s pretty common for older people to have this problem, and even more common for people with myopia, otherwise known in New Zealand as being short-sighted, or apparently, in the US, as being near-sighted. It’s to do with the shape of the eyeball that tugs the vitreous gel away from the retina.
I’ve been wearing glasses for short-sightedness since I was about 11 or 12.
Tomorrow I have a specialist appointment. How lucky I am to live in a place where highly qualified medical specialists are only a short bus ride away.
For the last 3 years I’ve been painstakingly building up an emergency fund, though I had to dip into it recently for some unexpected expenses. I have no idea how much a specialist costs, or, if I require treatment, how much that will set me back. It sounds as though treatment is fairly high tech, with lasers that weld the bits of the eye back together, but reasonably quick and easy.
Still, my eyes are very precious to me — I use them almost every waking moment of every day. Even if I wipe out my emergency fund altogether it will be worth it. I just hope this foggy left eye can become clear again.