Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Eye of the Beholder

Over the weekend I had a panic with my left eye.  I was seeing a flash of light in the corner of my vision and there were a couple of floaters that were not there before. After speaking with a couple of eye specialists it was determined that it was not an immediate emergency but I was encouraged to come into the office the next day to "check it out".  
Any one who is nearsighted like me is familiar with floaters. Unless you have experienced them they are a little hard to explain. Usually they are just dark spots that zip around just outside your field of sight.  However, the floaters that suddenly showed up in this eye had different shapes.  They were definitely not just spots but designs. 
I knew the doctor would ask me a lot of questions about it and I was not sure how to describe what I was seeing.  So... I decided to draw them. This drawing is not it. The floater drawing was more technical and from the inside looking out. There is a reason why I could not publish the actual drawing, that will be clear later.
First thing that I noticed is floaters are hard to focus on, and even more difficult to keep in your line of vision long enough to draw.  And, when your focus changes from the floater to the pencil and page you have to chase the floater down again to compare to the drawing, requiring several more glances back and forth. 
It became a challenge.  The technique was to focus my eyes on an object that was not in front of me. That would cause the floater to appear more to the center of my vision, study it for a long time and then attempt to draw what I had just seen before it floated away again.  Of course that is almost impossible to concentrate and focus on a floater. The minute you see them your eye tries to center them which causes them to move. Concentrating on something without moving your eyes toward that which you are concentrating on was more difficult that I could ever imagine.
It took me much longer to complete this drawing than my average sketch, but eventually I had all the elements in their various transparent shapes on the page.  Then I annotated them and described how they acted since some would actually change shape after a blink like some horny ameba doing his fertility dance before it splits in two. 
So I go into the doctors office with my sketch pad.  The doctor says, "Tell me what is happening with your eye." I said, "Well, this is basically what I am seeing that I didn't see a few days ago." and showed him the sketch. The doctor studied it for a minute and said, "Where did you get this?"
I told him that I drew it. "Really?" he said, "How can you draw something that won't say long enough to see it?" 
"It is not as easy as I thought it would be." I said.  He proceeded to dilate my eye, turn off the lights, dawn  a miner's head lite and crawl into my eye.  At one point he said, "Yep there's that one."
After the exam he looked at my sketch again. He said, "That is pretty much what they look like in there. Good job.. I have never had anyone draw the inside of their eye before."
"What can be done about them." I said.  
"Nothing... there is no tear of hole in your retnia which would be a very serious emergency,  it is just the gel in your eye getting old and shrinking a little like aging jello. Eventually they go away... we think the brain eventually just tunes them out and they don't bother you any more."
I reached for my drawing but he pulled it away. "This is going in your file.. you just saved me some paper work... thanks." He thought for a moment and said, "Here is a pen... sign it at the bottom."  I signed it "Jay Johnson... consulting art doctor".
Unfortunately there was no discount on the fee because I had done some of the paper work for him.
Other than being very annoying I am glad the problem was no more serious than it was. 
As you were,

1 comment:

P. Grecian said...

I've got 'em in spades. The cataract surgery made them worse, too. Little things that look like cells, long snaky things, and (worse)patches of foggy floaters. Yeah, the vitreous humor inside the eyeball starts shrinking and drying out along the inside surface and breaking off and swanning about.
So far it hasn't stopped, and it's been a couple of years. My doctor says there is surgery, but it's pretty radical (Drain out the vitreous humor and replace it with salt water, essentially) and the risks are too high.

Fortunately, I touch type.