Eine Kleine Nichtmusik

Witty and pertinent observations on matters of great significance OR Incoherent jottings on total irrelevancies OR Something else altogether OR All of the above

Friday, April 08, 2011

A real eye-opener

A trip to the eye hospital this morning. My last couple of eye tests have shown up a slight roughness in the cornea of my left eye which means that I get mild double vision (which comes and goes depending on how dry my eye is). Also, the last test found a freckle (or as ophthalmologists call it, a "nevus") on my left retina. That has almost no effect on my vision: the optician inferred its presence from some of her readings and ran several repeats before being convinced enough to peer hard enough into the eye to find it. Anyway, I got an appointment with doom: I hate having my eyes messed with, and by messed with I mean pretty much anything. The only way I can put eye drops in my own eyes is to lie down and drip them in from a height like raindrops; I hate watching people put contacts in or take them out. So the knowledge that I was going to have several sets of drops, plus people pulling my eyelid around to get a picture filled me with dread.

In the event, not too bad. I warned everyone up front that however hard I tried I was going to be a bit difficult, and they were very nice. The drops weren't much fun (three lots, of which the anaesthetic ones stung a bit). The machine that was cranked up to my eyeballs to measure their pressure (fine incidentally) was bearable for just long enough to get a reading (on about the third attempt). The bright lights shone into my eyes were, well, bright (and always remind me of a recurring nightmare I used to have when feverish as a small child which involved a terribly bright light like a huge sun). (Or, hey, maybe I was abducted by alien ophthalmologists. In which case you think they'd have fixed my short sight....)

When I went down for the photographs, the one of my retina was easy-peasy (and looked like a NASA picture of an outer planet's moon). To get the one of my cornea (as far as I could tell it was with fancy sidelighting to see how reflective the surface was) the guy had to pull my eyelid up a bit, and as his technique was less polished than the ophthalmologist's his picture was mainly eyelash. He asked if I'd be prepared to have my eyelid lifted with a cotton bud: he might as well have asked if he could cut my eye out with a boxcutter while I sat on a sharpened fence post. So he said I could go, and when I asked if he'd got what he needed he said no. Which seemed a bit silly, as I assumed I'd simply have to come back and do it all again. So I asked him to have another crack, or two, or however many it took using the cotton-bud-free method, and I'd do my best. In the end he took four more pictures of which one was too dark. The others looked to me as though they were pretty good: they certainly showed the rough area.

Ninety minutes of drops, bright lights and pulling my eyelids around, and not once did they have to resort to a tranquilliser dart. Result!

This is rather how it felt though:


At 09 April, 2011 01:59, Blogger Eddie Louise said...

Oh you poor man! Can you pull your own eyelids back? Might want to practice that before the next appointment. The older we get the more of them there are - eye appointments I mean!

At 09 April, 2011 02:18, Blogger Rob said...

Sadly, no, I can't pull back my own eyelids (or anyone else's for that matter). No matter: all over now until my next appointment in August, when at least I'll know what to expect and know I can cope. The worst thing is worrying that you're going to make a total spectacle of yourself (see what I did there?)

At 09 April, 2011 14:46, Blogger Persephone said...

It must be ophthalmology week! I was in for my annual check-up this week and was surprised that the bit I had difficulty with (apart from spending the rest of the day groping my way through downtown Ottawa and squinting at signs with my dilated pupils) was the bit where they puff air on your eyeballs. It doesn't hurt, but I couldn't help jumping a bit and they kept having to re-do it.

My mum has to have injections in her eyeballs every six weeks or so. Does that make you feel better?

At 10 April, 2011 13:12, Blogger Rob said...


Er, no it doesn't. Can I come out of the cupboard now?

I never minded the air-puffy-thing too much (it's done before I really register it) but was unimpressed to find that wasn't how they were going to measure the pressure in my eyes this time: the ophthalmologist had a device that was cranked up to make gentle (and brief!) contact with the eyeball. As I said, it took a few shots for each eye before I didn't shrink back as fast as it cranked in.....

Are you sure I can come out now?


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