20/20 Vision

A fortnight ago on a Wednesday, I felt as though I had something in my eye. No matter how many times I washed it, blinked or rubbed it, it persisted. At the time, I figured it’ll sort itself out and go away in a day or two.

Fast forward to that Friday and I woke up and my eye was quite red and it still felt as though I had something in my eye. After close inspection in the mirror, I could see a mark on the edge of my iris – which prompted a rather quick trip to the optometrist.

The optometrist that I had was great and confirmed what I could see in the mirror to be an ulcer. We went through the standard set of eye tests and one that that shot three bursts of air at my eye. I didn’t realise it at the time but it measure the pressure in your eyes – which I was happy that he checked since Jude came down with acute glaucomer many years ago. The optometrist also put a dye in my eye to get a closer look, it was absorbed into the eye instead of glossing over it like a drop of water, which indicated some sort of damage to the surface of my eye. He’d said that the mere presence of that behaviour was enough for an immediate referral to an ophthalmologist, which got me a little nervous.

I was lucky enough to get into the ophthalmologist that afternoon and fortunately Lucy was able to drive me in. When I arrived, I went through two different sets of staff – firstly another optometrist. He did a standard eye test, which I passed with better than 20/20 vision. That was followed by the first set of eye drops, which was an anesthetic to numb the surface of my eye. Second was a set of drops that relaxed the muscles in my eye to make my pupil expand. What a bazaar feeling that was, I was trying as hard as I could to focus on something and just couldn’t – hence Lucy chauffeuring me. Once the pupil expanded he had a really good look around and in my eyes. That was really hard on my left eye, as it was sensitive to light and he was shining a bright light into it at close range and I couldn’t blink.

Next up was the ophthalmologist, who put in another set of eye drops to numb the surface of my eye again. He also looked in the back of my eyes to make sure nothing was wrong, which there wasn’t thank god. The specialist however had a new instrument, something fitted to the front of his normal machine which literally touches the surface of your eye. Touching the surface of my eye was another way of testing the pressure in my eyes and he reconfirmed it was okay. Now for someone that hasn’t needed glasses or even a visit to an optometrist for as long as I can remember, I can’t tell you how strong the urge was to pull away from the machine as it got closer and closer to my eye!

After all was said and done, the ophthalmologist informs me I have something known as marginal keratitis. Keratitis is an infection in the eye, can be caused by any number of things and comes in various types and severities. In my instance, I was lucky as the infection was on the edge of my iris, so had no impact on my vision while infected and no chance of long term damage to my eye sight.

Treatment for it was quite straight forward, the doctor prescribed me with two different sets of eye drops which I had to take four times a day. Putting drops in my eye was a new experience as well, again not used to putting things that close to my eye and I was a horrible aim for the first few attempts!

A week on and I’ve now had a follow up appointment with the specialist and he is really pleased with how well my eye has healed in the week. In fact, the second appointment was nearly a non-event as I was in his office for less than 10 minutes and not all of that time he was in the room. I now have another week of using the drops but only twice a day instead of four times daily.

I have taken my sight for granted, like most people do, for such a long time. It was a frightening thought when I was referred to the ophthalmologist that it was that serious. I’m so thankful that the infection was minor and wasn’t going to impact my vision going forward.

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