I don’t remember having any symptoms before a routine office visit to the local optometrist back in 1995 when he detected early signs of a detached retina. Within a week, I was having laser surgery to weld the retina in place to solve the problem.
Every time I see our local optometrist in Floyd (Mondays and Tuesdays in a permanent office in what was originally a suite at the Pine Tavern) he asks “are you seeing any floaters or flashes of light?” and I’ve always been able to say NO.
Until yesterday. At first I thought a gnat had just passed in front of my eye, and I brushed it away. Then a cobweb must have caught on my eye lashes, I thought, and brushed it away. It was occasional. Then frequent. Then constant. And I began to think this was not a good thing.
No flashes of light or blurred vision. That, it turns out, would have ramped up the urgency of this episode considerably.
Long story short, after I got home yesterday afternoon from a tiring morning, I didn’t think I could risk waiting until next week for an appraisal of my new and growing floaters (more strings and webs than spots and specks) so I got back in the car for the 45 minute drive down Bent Mountain to Roanoke and the optometrist worked me in.
Many stinging eye drops and an hour later: Nothing to worry about, he said, much to my surprise and relief.
“For folks who are 60 about 60% of them will have this issue, at 70, about 70%. The vitreous humor has some strands in it, in your case right over the optic nerve. It may resorb, or your brain in time may just learn to not attend to the wavy lines you see today.”
Even so, I think it might be wise to see the Ophthalmologist Ann saw in Blacksburg when she had that strange episode of double vision a few years back. Then, if something urgent were needed in the future, I’d already have a file with the specialist.
So, for my age peers, when the spiders, bugs, webs and broken shadowy shards appear in front of your aging eyes, just sit back and enjoy the show. It’s what we do for entertainment in our golden years, I suppose. Live and learn.