Thursday, December 6, 2007

Eye exams! Oh boy!

Boring medical entry-- mostly to remind Future Me of what happened, so don't feel guilty for not reading. (g)

Donald and I both had our eyes examined yesterday afternoon/evening. It had been a few years since his last one and I think my last exam was sometime around 1998. So it was about time.

I was afraid they'd want to do the test where they put some sort of powder in your eyes-- to look for glaucoma, I think. I guess they've made advances in the past several years, though, because this place had a machine that puffed air into your eyes to do that test. It was kind of startling, but much better than the horrid powder stuff. (Honestly, that test was a big part of why I didn't look forward to having my eyes examined again!)

The doctor (someone new that neither of us had seen before) informed us of a few curious facts:
  • In each of us, one eye is significantly worse than the other. However, one of us has a "bad" right eye and the other has a bad left. (I think my left eye is better than my right. That would explain why I'm "left-eyed" and "right-handed", I guess. Usually your dominant eye is on the same side as your dominant hand. Or maybe I'm completely wrong...)
  • Since we're both nearsighted, he predicts that any children we have will be in glasses by the time they're in first grade. (Hm. Thanks for telling me that. I'd kind of already figured they'd need glasses at some point, but still!)
  • Donald's retina have "stretch marks"-- or something. And if he were to start seeing bright lights or shapes (??), he should seek medical advice. (What they'd do about it, I don't know. Apparently it's not that rare, but it still sounds scary to me!)
Less than a minute into my exam, he asked me if anyone had ever told me that I have cataracts. (!!) He went on to explain that they're congenital cataracts-- essentially birthmarks on the retina-- and don't require surgical removal, since they aren't interfering with my sight. Based on something he said (I don't remember the exact words), I got the impression that he couldn't be absolutely 100% sure about that, since this was the first time he'd seen me, but he didn't seem concerned. Supposedly, some doctors won't even mention them, since they don't require attention.

Now I can't help but feel a tiny bit worried, even if it is silly. Every other time I've had my eyes examined, I've gone to the same doctor. I don't think he ever said a word about cataracts, congenital or otherwise. I wonder if his office still has my file, and if it might contain any mention of the cataracts. I'd just like to know if they've always been there or if they're a recent development.

Part of the reason I worry is that, well, I fibbed on the medical history paper I had to fill out before the exam. I didn't mention certain health issues in the family (high blood pressure, diabetes. . . and I'd forgotten, but cataracts, too. . .) because I figured it could only lead to the evil powder glaucoma test. (I know, I ought to be ashamed, and I am. But I didn't think it would really matter. . . I mean, why should I undergo the awful test just because I need glasses, when I'm probably not at any more risk than the non-eyeglass-wearing portion of the population?! Ok, I have a lot of pent up resentment, as you can tell. That powder test was really unpleasant! (g)) I could look around for info on-line, but I'm afraid that doing that will just make me more worried, because most of the times I've done that before, I've seen more to frighten than to comfort me. (g) I don't think cataracts are related to high blood pressure or pre-diabetes (assuming I'm starting exhibit symptoms of either, which I don't think I am), but I'm the first to admit that I'm no expert on the subject.

ARGH! This is exactly why I hate seeing medical professionals of any description-- so often I leave them feeling worse than when I went in to see them! Yesterday morning, I was perfectly happy with my cataracts ;o) -- even if only because I was blissfully ignorant of them. Now I'm wondering in the back of my mind if this isn't an early symptom of some dire disease of the eye. I really like being able to see, you know. I've gotten so used to it! ;o) I know it's an unfounded worry, but that doesn't help dispel it. I'll just have to wait it out. In a few days I'll have almost forgotten, probably. It'll just lurk in the shadowy recesses, popping out from time to time-- when I take my blood pressure, for instance, or when my eyes do anything out of the ordinary. Just that little spice of fear to keep life from being too good.

. . . Maybe I'll call Mom to make sure the other doctor never mentioned the cataracts to her. . . and ask how old Granny was when she developed cataracts. . .

Anyway, my eyes are possibly a teensy bit worse than last time, but they've mostly leveled out. ( I just realized that I didn't ask Donald if his had gotten any worse or stayed the same. . . ) Now that we have fresh prescriptions, we're going to order new glasses (and possibly contacts for Donald). There's a place online that we want to try, because it seems like a very affordable way to get multiple pairs. More later, as the story unfolds. ;o)