Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp … oh, wait.

My office at the Courthouse has no windows.  For that matter, none of the halls on the entire floor of the Courthouse where I am located have windows.

Thus, I didn’t think it was too altogether odd when I walked past a window in someone else’s office, and the after-image from the bright Texas sky took almost 40 minutes longer to clear my left eye than it did the right.

At first I figured that the lack of sunlight in my office had triggered some latent Morlock genes, but then I noticed that my field of vision when both eyes were open was … odd.

When I covered one eye — didn’t matter which one — my vision was fine.  It was just when both eyes were open that something undefinable was wrong.

This was enough, and I hie’d myself over to my local ophthalmologist for a professional opinion.

Now, the local place is pretty high-tech, and the County optical plan is rather good, so they did the full work-up on me; and I’m sitting in the exam room when the doctor walks in.  He’s one of those chatty types, and we’re having a nice talk up until the following point:

“Well, Mr ‘Dog,” he says, glancing at a three-dimensional picture of the back of my eyeball, “I’m willing to bet from the symptoms that what you have is an optical migraine.  We’re not exactly … sure …”

And his sentence just kind of stops right there, with him blinking furiously at the afore-mentioned three-dee picture.

Long pause.

“Doc?” I ask, rather firmly, I do admit.

“… Wow.”

I’m here to tell you:  this is not the kind of thing you want to hear from a medical professional.  Kind of sends the old heart rate up a bit.

Next thing I know, the doctor has leapt at me like a leopard on a gazelle, and spends the next fifteen minutes staring intently into my eyes through what looked like a jeweler’s loupe and with the aid of what felt like a 5000-lumen flashlight, all the while muttering excitedly to himself.

The denouement of this whole wretched performance was when he turned off the flashlight, and sat back with an expectant air … and I discovered that I was completely blind in my left eye.

“Doc,” I said, with what I believe to have been commendable restraint, “I can’t see anything out of my left eye.”


The rapid sound of clicking on a keyboard.

“Doctor.  I have several weapons on my person, and you have just blinded me.”

The startlement in his voice is almost palpable.  “Oh!  I’m sorry!  It’s just that I’ve never seen this in progress before!  I don’t think anyone has!  We only see it after the train wrecks … so to speak!”


He finally explains, phone calls are made and I am scheduled to see a retina specialist first thing in the AM.

Next day my Lady Love is helping me from station to station in an even more high-tech office, until I wind up lying in a futuristic recliner when the retina doc walks in and shakes my hand.

“Well, I’ve got good news and bad news.”

I sigh, “Well, what’s the bad news?”

He grins, “You’re getting an injection in your eye.”

Well, hell.

“Ok, what’s the good news?”

He points at my sweetheart, “She’s not going to feel a thing!”

Not to be outdone, Herself asks, “How many shots have you had in the eye?”

“None!  Never had a baby, either, but I’ve delivered a bunch!”

Hyuk.  Hyuk.  Hyuk.

For the record, getting a shot in the eyeball is every bit as bad as you might think it is.


Back to see the retina guy next week.



postscript:  My bad, I left something out.  Turns out it wasn’t an optical migraine, it was a developing Retinal Vein Occlusion, which — from various reactions — is Not Good after it’s full-blown (so to speak), but entirely treatable, with excellent prognosis, if caught early.

Mine wasn’t just caught early, it was caught while still developing.  Which apparently doesn’t ever happen in  my neck of the woods.


Well, that was festive
Meditations on the Constitution

20 thoughts on “Better than a poke in the eye with a sharp … oh, wait.”

  1. The only cool thing about eye shots is the first minute or so as you see what they inject start to spread. The black dot afterwards is a bit annoying.
    With luck the shots will do the trick.
    I got six months of shots after which the doctor said it must be something else.

  2. Been doing that for almost a year… And yeah, the black dot is 'annoying'… Among other things… I'd much rather the needle than a sharp stick though…

  3. Hey, wait til you have to have catarack surgery. I screwed up and had the first one with out anestisia. Then the anestesia guy was pissed and wouldn't do me for the second one. But now I can see better than ever. But 'shots in the eye'? Ewe.

    1. But what does that have to do with the retina? …I'm confused. Also cringing ("needle" is a word that has no business being next to the word "eye". Just…no.), but mostly confused.

  4. Gee, thanks. I already have 20/525 vision with astigmatism and lattice degeneration, had to give up big guns because I am at "high risk of retinal detachment" and have developing cataracts. I have SO much to look forward to!

  5. Ugh. As someone who has had eleven eye surgeries, I feel your pain. "Needle" and "eyeball" should never occur in the same sentence. For that matter, I'm not fond of "knife," "stitches," "blood," "transplant," or "laser" in reference to eyeballs either.

  6. I had my first bout of Wet Macular Degeneration at 40-ish. Treatment was a series of injections of a fairly new medication that the doctor had to get approval for. The little spring thing that held the eyelids open was the most painful part for me.

    However, I went from occluded vision in the center of my eye to a 98% recovery so I'm a very happy man. And if had happened as much as three years earlier, the medicine wouldn't have been available and what they did have would have only slowed the progression, not stopped it or reversed it.

    People don't realize how important eyes are until something happens to them. I'm glad you were smart enough to get to your eye doctor quickly.

  7. I can empathize. Went to the Army Optho because my right eye had taken to looking like I was looking through a screen door. Turned out I had occlusions all over the back of it. Had 90 minutes of laser surgery on it over a 3 month period. and don't believe it when they say you won't feel a thing. I wanted to grab the doc's testicles and squeeze every time my eye hurt. Fast forward to October of last year. Seems I now have cataracts. Surgery Dec 6 and 20, both sessions took less than 30 minutes from the time I went back to the time I walked out the door. Better vision but those occlusion scars still affect vision in my right eye.

  8. I had to have some minor laser surgery to help correct pressure problems in my eyeballs, not long ago.

    The initial work wasn't too unpleasant (although I swear, they had a shovel lodged under my lower eyelid to hold it down while they zapped away). But afterwards, it hurt to open my eyes, and it hurt to close them. I was NOT a happy man.

  9. YAAAH Lawdog is back

    arrgh needle and eyeball in same sentence?!!!

    Prayers for speedy recovery


  10. WOOSH! Ol' Pal, I must have read the first part of that post immediately after you posted it. I'm grateful you were prompt about entering that post scriptum. Being a veteran of several eye problems requiring surgical intervention, I admit that you did have me more'n a touch concerned. Very happy that you seem to be on the mend.

    I look forward to seeing y'all soon. We'll share eye trauma tales over a wee dram of conviviality.
    All best,

  11. The ever-indulgent wife had an occlusion in 2009. Went through all the pokes in the eye. Essentially healed up now but there's a bit of permanent fuzziness in one spot. That may be due to insurance problems causing some shots to be missed though.

    Since yours was caught before it did any real damage it will (hopefully) all come out fine.

    And you'll have a new standard for things you'd rather not be doing.

  12. Lawdude… I get the occasional optical migraine. It's vaguely reminiscent of looking through a kaleidoscope while on fairly good acid. Which I haven't done since Reagan was in his first term, but I digress… Basically, it's like you can't really focus on any of the multiple images.

    But nobody knows what causes it, and it seems relatively benign.

    Good luck with the retina.

  13. I'm still cringing from the idea of a shot in the eye.

    Glad you are on the mend.

  14. I had a branch retinal vein occlusion in the left eye some years back. It didn't affect my vision, and was only caught because it happened shortly before my annual eye exam. However, since my retina guy has only seen it twice in folks under 60, I got all sorts of workups and they figured out I have Factor V leiden, a clotting factor disorder. Yay.

    Whatever caused your's, I'm glad it's been sorted.

    I don't get optical migraines, but related to the migraines I've had a few "scintillating scotomas", in my case a thin kaledoscopic curved line through about half my visual field.

  15. I have had cataracts removed from both eyes.
    The thought of a needle in my eye scares the stuffing out of me

  16. I had a metal fragment stuck in my eye about 15 years ago. It hurt.

    The Ophthalmologist looked at it through some sort of scope while my head was clamped in the head-clamping thing (Stop me if I'm getting too technical) and exclaimed, "DUDE! There's a HUGE chunk of metal right the middle of your eye!"

    He administered some anesthetic eyedrops and picked it out with what for all the world looked like a sewing needle and then it got weird: He buffed the surface of my cornea with a rotary tool of some sort because the metal fragment had begun to rust and leave a ring.
    This made me woozy and nauseous, which wasn't unexpected by anyone. By the time the nausea subsided, so had the anesthetic and I was left to drive myself home now blind in both eyes from the pain. I then slept for 14 hours and felt much better.

    This occurred while wearing a hat and safety glasses and using an angle grinder to cut pipe. Now I wear goggles AND a face shield.

  17. Ouch. My sympathies, Mr. 'Dog. I got to discover first hand what the phrase "better than a poke in the eye with a sharp stick" meant one day at the Pennsic War when I discovered that "safety glass" lenses AREN'T. I owe the vision in my left eye to an unnamed ophthalmologist at Butler County Memorial who knew his limitations and said (and this is a direct quote) "I'm good, but I'm not THAT good. You're going to Pittsburgh Eye and Ear" and to a Dr. Christ Balouris who managed to pick the splinters of what was once my left lens out of my eye.

    Now my glasses (even my reading glasses!) are all polycarbonate. And I understand the worry that goes along with wondering if your new nickname is going to be "Old One-Eye".

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