All About My Stupid Eyeballs

2015 has been a hell of a year so far, dear reader. Multiple family deaths, car troubles, and weird health issues for yours truly. I had fully intended to start reviewing a lot more (and I've been on a creative streak, so more DIY posts too) but I've had a totally bizarre health scare this month, and it's not resolved quite yet. I doubt anyone is particularly interested in this unless maybe you've been having a similar issue and stumble across this post, so basically I'm writing this out so I have a record of my experience with this.

About a month ago, I started noticing that when I'd help patrons on the computers, I was having trouble seeing what they were working on. I was used to getting occasional computer eye strain, but my vision was actually starting to get blurry. I had to really strain to help people, and a couple times when they needed help with their phones, I had to get a co-worker to do it because I simply couldn't see clearly enough. I noticed I was getting a lot more floaters in my right eye, and most of the blurriness seemed to be originating from that eye. I have severe myopia, and my eye doctor always told me to be on the lookout for the signs of a detached retina, which I would be predisposed to because of that. So I was pretty damn worried something serious like that could be going on. I tried making an appointment with my regular eye doctor, but I couldn't get in until after G and I returned from vacation. I already had a small trip planned and a week and a half already scheduled off work, but I didn't want to wait that long to get in. So I called a different practice, and they were able to get me in the day before we left for our trip.

The doctor was super nice, and did LOTS of tests. The standard eye charts I failed miserably. I couldn't get past the top largest row of letters now matter how she adjusted it, with glasses or without. I paid a little extra for this new test, a machine that takes a picture of the structure of your eye. You can see your optic nerve, everything. She said it wasn't a retina issue, I wasn't going blind or anything. WHEW. 

But. My corneas were really inflamed, which is what was causing my blurriness. She diagnosed me with Superficial Punctate Keratitis. What the hell is that, you ask? Well, I guess my corneas are covered in tiny little spots/lesions that are causing the blurriness, sensitivity to light, double vision. The doctor described it as "like looking through a stained glass window." And that's what it feels like. Everything's distorted, text and computers are especially problematic, and even if text is magnified, it's still blurry. I couldn't even get through watching a movie. I haven't presented like other descriptions I've read- I don't have any pain (aside from the photo sensitivity and achiness from eye strain, and I didn't have any redness or outwardly visible irritation. She suspects it could be contact lens related, so no contacts for me until this is resolved. There are a lot of potential causes though, and it's hard to know for sure. And the extra shitty thing is, this may be a chronic condition. If it goes away it could come back again, perhaps over the span of years. I personally suspect it's immune system related. I was feeling really stressed out and run down around the time it started (hence the planned vacation) and I've been having some painful eczema/dermatitis flare ups too. It just seems related to me, though I don't know exactly how. 

So, she told me to use preservative free eye drops often and come back after a week to see if it would resolve on its own. No such luck.
We went on our trip, and it was fun, but my sight did hinder my enjoyment. I couldn't see all the nature on our hikes. We saw a family of deer in the woods, but all I saw was a blur when they moved, otherwise I couldn't see them at all. I told G that I'm like a T-Rex, my visual acuity is based on movement. Ha ha. But it wasn't funny in the moment. I was disoriented, and felt detached from everything. I couldn't see people's faces clearly (or my own in the mirror), and couldn't see expressions, nuances, details. Signing forms for our car rental reservation and lodge rental was difficult. I just felt kind of adrift, not like myself. I haven't worn glasses for so long since I got contacts in 2008, and while I don't mind them at home, they just don't feel like me anymore. And doing my regular eye makeup was an exercise in futility, since I was using eye drops every couple hours. So on top of being pretty scared and frustrated about my vision, I was feeling kind of self-conscious and not my best. I made the best of the situation though, and we still had a good time. 

The rest of my time off I had a zillion craft projects planned. I only managed to get a couple done. But I am proud of them considering, and I hope to get some posts done about them. I went back to the eye doctor the Friday before I returned to work, and she said it was no better, and seemed to have gotten worse, as my left eye was now in bad shape too. She gave me a sample of steroid drops and Restasis. She warned me that the steroids were "hit or miss" and my own research suggested that they may prolong the disease in the long term, so I'm glad it was just a sample, as I didn't really want to continue them. Going back to work last week was not much fun, I was feeling like I was only partially refreshed, and kind of like a failure for not getting as much done as I'd hoped. The lights are so bright in the branch, with tons of natural light too, so I was constantly squinting and uncomfortable and struggling to help people. Feeling generally helpless. I went back to the doctor AGAIN last Friday, and she said my right eye had marginally cleared (fewer lesions) and I could mostly get the top line of letters on the eye chart. But it hadn't improved to her satisfaction, so she made me an appointment with a cornea specialist, and I'm going to see him this Friday. 

Over the weekend I feel like it's improved a little, but I'm not ready to get my hopes up just yet. The chronic nature of the condition is weighing on me and keeping me from getting too excited. But I'm able to type this post (hopefully not too many typos), so that is an improvement for sure. A couple weeks ago I simply couldn't. Even if it gets totally better, I'm still going to see the specialist, because I want to know if there are any other new treatments out there, especially if it happens again. My doctor told me about something called Autologous Serum Drops that may be an option for me. They're basically eye drops made from your blood that has been centrifuged to isolate the plasma. They're supposed to be regenerative and great for dry eye syndrome and other ocular diseases. Sounds weird, but it seems like they work. And since it's made from you, you can't really have an allergic reaction to it. But I will have to ask the specialist about them, as they're outside her realm of knowledge. I don't know if they're cost prohibitive or if there is a lab nearby that can make them. I'll see soon. LOL. I hope.

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  1. I haven't suffered from your specific condition, but I have keratoconus (a degenerative corneal condition) and I know exactly the feeling of frustration and helplessness from not being able to see. Vent away!

    Hopefully you can get a solution soon!

    1. Oh man, that one sounds pretty rotten too :( I've always had bad vision (started wearing glasses in the second grade) but it was always correctable with glasses. But having it be terrible even with glasses has been a surreal experience. I guess the unpredictability of it is the worst part, and not being able to do a lot about it. Thank you for commiserating!

  2. I hope the specialist and the treatment are able to help you. Take care.

    1. Thank you Iris, I'm actually pretty much back to normal now. So weird! Fingers crossed it stays that way!.


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