CAUTION: Not for the medically squeamish
Last weekend I suffered a recurrence of a problem I had 2 years ago--a spontaneous tear in the retina of my eye. The retina did not detach, thank goodness (that can lead to blindness if not treated immediately), but that is always a concern and the Dr needed to use a laser procedure last time to make sure the tear was sealed and the retina remained intact.
The cause? I wish I could say that I was training for a triathlon or taking skydiving lessons, but it just happened because I am very, very nearsighted, middle aged (who me? Yikes! When did THAT happen?) and, as my Dr explained, the shape of my myopic eyeball caused the retina to stretch too thin until it just popped. Then there's a little tear that causes bleeding and results in cloudy vision for quite awhile. Not painful, but it's the worst annoyance--overwhelming and totally frustrating, particularly now, as I am in the middle of writing my fourth book. I simply CAN'T SEE out of my right eye and my livelihood currently depends on good eyesight. The last time this happened, it took over a year before I could focus clearly without thinking about how one eye was slightly blurry. I was also between books.
Rigby as seen with my left eye:
Rigby with my right eye:
Actually, it's a little worse than that but that's as blurry as my photo editor would go. The eyestrain from using one eye causes constant headaches if I try to do too much close work or sewing and then I have to give both eyes a good rest before I can do anything else. I can't exercise or lift anything for awhile. So the going will be slow. I alerted my editor and the new book will remain on the schedule. They're willing to work with my disability; I'll simply have to work at a slower pace and get help when I need it with some of the projects. But at least there will still BE a book, so there's that to be grateful for.
In most other respects I've been blessed with good health--this thing happens to have a genetic factor because 2 of my sisters also experienced the same problem within the last several years and my adult niece had a retinal detachment a few years back. Luckily for me, I recognized the symptoms. Two of my friends who are my age also have had the flashing lights experience and they too avoided retinal detachment. Seriously, nothing to mess with. I had a million questions and my Dr assured me I did nothing to cause this. It also has NOTHING to do with straining your eyes from doing close work like hand quilting, too much reading (guilty) or sitting too close to the television for too many hours, LOL, as our parents warned us.
More info than you probably care to read about retinas . . .
So let this be a lesson AND a public service announcement--Visit your eye Dr regularly for a thorough exam, particularly if you are near or over 50, have seen ANY flashing lights in either eye or notice even a slight loss of vision or an increase in floaters. I shudder to think what COULD have happened if I had not been quick to seek medical attention when one day out of the blue I noticed a flood of floaters .
In the past 2 years, full spectrum lighting has become my quilting friend and I have a hard time sewing or reading without it. I even use those OTT light bulbs over the kitchen island to spread more light everywhere so the whole family can benefit. According to many in the health field: "Light has the profound power to heal our bodies and restore our spirits." As Martha would say: Light--it's a good thing.
I'll be using it even more over the next couple of months. (Please escuse any typos.)