It was July 25, 2008, a day I will never forget. I had just come back from my lunch break and as I pulled into my parking space, I noticed what seemed like a piece of hair in my right eye. Naturally, I kept trying to brush it away but it didn’t help. It was frustrating that I couldn’t get this piece of whatever it was out of my eye, but I didn’t think much of it at the time. It continued to bug me for the rest of the day and while I was starting to think it was odd, I just kept rubbing it trying to make it go away. For the rest of the day, I continued to rub my eye hoping that this bizarre sensation would finally go away. It didn’t. Little did I know that I had a detached retina.
After work, I went around the corner to pick up The Husband (who was then The Boyfriend) and I drove home even though my eye was still bugging me. I was telling him about it and how strange it was, so we stopped at CVS for some saline to flush it out. Of course, the saline didn’t work either. By now I was starting to worry; wondering if I scratched my eye somehow.
What the heck was wrong with my eye?!
MY EYE WAS STILL BUGGING ME THE NEXT DAY
The next day the sensation still hadn’t gone away. That was when I covered my left eye and realized that I could only see out of half of my eye. What?! Now I was really starting to panic, but we had tickets to bring Red to see Walking With Dinosaurs that day. Now what? We decided to leave a little early and stop by a Pearl Vision to have my eye looked at. The woman at the front desk seemed alarmed and told me there wasn’t anything they could do and to see an Ophthalmologist immediately. I didn’t want to let Red down since we’d all been looking forward to the Walking With Dinosaurs, so I called an Ophthalmologist and made an appointment to see him right after the show.
THIS IS WHEN I GOT THE SHOCK OF MY LIFE
At my appointment, I was diagnosed with a detached retina. I was stunned. I have never had problems with my eyes and didn’t even wear glasses. How could this have happened?
Then it dawned on me that about a month earlier I saw what seemed like a swarm of fruit flies in my peripheral vision of my right eye. I just assumed that I had been looking at the computer for too long. I don’t even wear glasses so a problem with my eyes wasn’t on my radar. Turns out that they were floaters and it was the beginning of the detachment.
The Ophthalmologist referred me to a retina specialist who set up an appointment for to me to come in first thing the next morning, which was a Sunday. The retina doc confirmed my detached retina diagnosis and the detachment has reached my macula, which meant that I could have lifelong vision impairment in that eye.
INITIAL TREATMENT FOR MY DETACHED RETINA
In an attempt to get my retina to lay as flat as possible for potential laser treatment the doctor stuck a gas bubble in my eye. I’m not even going to tell you how strange that felt! After this procedure, I was sent home with strict instructions to look down for 24 hours a day. No reading, no tv, no nothing. I could do nothing at all but stare at the floor. Boredom doesn’t even begin to cover the next week. Along with staring at the floor, I had to go to the doctor’s office every day to check the progress and look at the floor for the next week.
My extreme boredom paid off and things improved a little. Each day I had to lay in various other positions to change the angle of my head in an attempt to move the bubble around. Finally, after one little spot wouldn’t flatten, I was scheduled for scleral buckle surgery. This is a procedure where they attached a literal buckle around your eyeball to hold the retina in place. It’s kind of freaky to think that I have a buckle on my eye, but I’m happy to say that my procedure was a success.
FOUR YEARS LATER
Now, almost four years later I have pretty close to 20/20 vision again in that eye. When I look out of just my right eye things are slightly more narrow than my left, but I can see and that’s all that matters.
How or why this happened is still a big mystery. This doesn’t usually just happen to people in their thirties for no apparent reason without a family history. When I go in for checkups I am quite the novelty in the waiting room since I am a good 30-40 years younger than everyone else.
So please, if you ever see “fruit flies” that aren’t really there or flashes of light that you can’t explain, go to an Ophthalmologist right away! I would not wish this experience on my worst enemy.