Friday, 8 May 2009

If thine eye offends...

(Warning - eye talk that may make some people squeamish follows in this post !)

 My eye has been offending for some years now - the last two of them being due to not only having large useless areas of scarring in the retinas, which cause blind spots, but also an allergic reaction in my right eye to my contact lens. Or to the solutions I use to clean and soak it. Or to the protein that naturally builds up such little discs of plastic when they have to live in one's eyes all day long. Or to there being an R in the month. Or to some other thing that the eye bods don't really know about. Or if they do, they don't tell me.
My left eye hasn't been able to see anything useful for the last sixteen years. One morning I woke up and Whomp, there it was (to paraphrase the song) - or rather, Whomp there it wasn't. In the night I had had a massive bleed through my retina due to myopic macular degeneration, and by the time the doctors figured out why and what it was caused by (several years later as it goes) it had scarred so badly that the only thing I have in that eye is light perception in the very bottom right peripheral.
Two years later I was drying my hair, and Whomp - you guessed it - but this time, it was my right eye and luckily only in the very centre. I've had some lattice degeneration in the peripheral and surgery to wall the areas of bleed off in an attempt to prevent them spreading since then. But in 2000 I got registered blind, and it's been downhill ever since.
This year I was told I had cataracts forming too - nice, just what I wanted - and for the last two years on and off my right eye has been reacting to my contact lens, which clears up the sight that remains in the peripheral of my right eye. Without it I only have light perception in that eye so it's important for me to be able to wear it - as wearing a lens makes not one jot of difference in the other eye of course. I can't wear glasses due to the strength of the prescription needed for me (at the last count when it was able to be "tuned" it was minus 20.00 or so) - they would be so heavy that they would hurt my fibromyalgic phiz, and even then, glasses don't deal well with peripheral vision, which of course is the only thing left for me.
So for the last two years the eye bods at the local hospital have been telling me to take the lens out for a month / week / days or so, then to keep it in, then to take it out, then to shake it all about... depending on who I see at the clinic  - you get the idea - and have given me various drops, salves, goops, and antibiotics in a bid to stop my eyes from forming little blisters on the underside of my lids where the contact lens irritates. Once they figured out that was what was causing the my eye to feel like someone has stuck a gritty stick in it, that is.
Their latest idea is that I should change the sort of contact lens I wear from a gas permeable (made of rigid stuff) one, to a soft one made of silicon hydrogel. Like a little flat jelly fish, in other words.
There are a few issues for me with this.
One, my remaining sight is so little that it is almost impossible for my contact lens bod to figure out what I can and can't see. I can't see letters on the chart at all - though with the right eye in a dark room I can tell it is there if it is lit from within. So to tune the sight in a lens is pretty difficult as we have no common frame of reference. 
Two - soft contacts aren't the best for the truly pathologically myopic such as myself as they don't offer the clarity of vision that gas perms do - which is why I started wearing gas perms when I was twelve. And thirdly, they are so jelly like and light that I can't tell if they're on my eye, on the end of my nose, in my hair, or somewhere else. Ad they don't seem to make much difference to my sight when they are where they're supposed to be, namely in my eye.
But I have given them a shot anyway, despite being fairly convinced that I am going to lose them in fairly short order. They keep getting deformed by the eyelid when I blink and falling out. They also make my eye sore in a different way by making me feel like I have a flattened jelly fish stuck on my eye. And the real weird thing - when I am walking outside and the wind is blowing into my face, the lens gets cold and feels very strange indeed. Even with shades on (which I wear in different tints all year round).

The other option the eye bods have up their sleeve is a clear lens extraction - or CLE - in my right eye. Like the op they do for cataract patients, but when the lens is clear rather than cloudy. Technically my lens isn't clear at all, due to the forming cataract I mentioned earlier - but that is what they are calling it. If the lens inside my right eye were taken out, it may well mean I didn't need to wear a contact lens in that eye. Or if I did, it would be a thinner one, which might cause less irritation. They could also implant a focused lens in its place that would correct any myopia that remained, so I am told.
 However, fiddling about with an eye with such a volatile retina as mine has its risks - big style retinal detachment being one of them. And we know what happens when the retina detaches - that's what happened to my bf in his left eye. And now he has no sight or light perception in that eye (and incidentally none in the right one either, as it is a prosthetic one !)

So I am feeling quite sorry for myself right now - I've been lucky in the past that my retinal problems haven't hurt me, but now I am hurting in my eye all the live long day, and it is making me into an irritable bint. Somehow the eye pain is worse than all the other pains I get due to all my other bodily failings (varied in strength and frequency). It makes my nose run like a tap too, which is inconvenient as well as annoying. Nobody wants nose juice in their dinner, do they ? And the dogs keep licking my face to get it off, the dirty little beasts.

So, no funnies today folks. I am too miserable and whiny. And snotty. And I've got a jelly fish smooshed into my eye. 

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