January 17, 2008

Big Eye

Not anime characters, me. Over the weekend, my left eye got really strange: really bloodshot, swollen, sore, painful, lots of icky gooey discharge. Monday I finally reached my point of fear and walked to a walk-in clinic and saw a doctor about it. He gave me a prescription for antibiotic eyedrops to be used every four hours.

The next morning when I woke up, the vision in my left eye was cloudy. It's exactly like what it looks like when my glasses get fogged. Or like I was looking at the world through a sheet of waxed paper. It didn't get better.

I reached my fear level again today, so I went back. I was worried that something had happened to the cornea, and that it might be permanent. While I was walking over, though, I noticed that when I looked up at the overcast, there was a texture to the fog, and it moved like floaters do. That suggested that something had gotten into the vitreous humour, the jelly that fills eyeballs.

The doctor used a flourscent dye to check the cornea, and said there was nothing wrong. He didn't have the equipment to check inside, so he got me an immediate refer to an ophthalmologist. A quick taxicab ride later, and they squozed me in -- which was kind of them, because it turned out I did need their help.

It isn't a bacterial infection. It isn't "conjunctivitis". It's "uveitis", something I've never heard of before. Inflammation on the inside of the eye, rather severe. He put drops into my eyes to dilate the pupils; the right eye dilated nicely (and is still dilated as I write this). The left pupil didn't dilate much, and that's another diagnostic indication of uveitis. Turns out that there's stuff gunking up the iris, kind of sticking it in place, preventing it from opening and closing.

He told me there was no reason to keep using the antibiotic. Instead, he gave me (literally; samples they got from a salesman, at no charge to me) two new drops. One is a dilator, to be used three times per day. That's to keep pressure on the iris so that it'll eventually unstick. The other is a corticosteroid, to reduce the inflammation and tone down the immune storm.

It's already working; my eye doesn't hurt anything like as much as it did even two hours ago.

And we'll see how it goes.

This was making me feel sick with worry. I was scared: is it permanent? Will I lose most of my sight in my left eye? That's still potentially possible, but not likely, and with a correct diagnosis and correct treatment there's every reason to expect it will get better -- but probably not very fast. This could be a part of my life for a couple months.

I've got an appointment to go back next Wednesday, and we'll see how much improvement there's been by then.

The inflammation is likely to improve very rapidly. But if junk has gotten into the vitreous humour, it could take a long time for it to clear. There are mechanisms to do that, but they don't run very rapidly.

UPDATE: The first attempt to view inside my eye at the optho place was exciting. The device you have to set your head into pivots, and he placed it a bit too far forward. I reached underneath it to pull it closer, and there was a loud snap, and I got a jolt on my left ring finger. Pulled it back out and there was a big black mark on it.

He was very apologetic; they disconnected it and we moved to a different room. It didn't feel like a 110V jolt; I've gotten those before. This was more like a capacitor discharging. I think the black mark was grease. It didn't do anything permanent to the finger; after I washed it off, you couldn't see where it happened, and it doesn't hurt. But it was a bit of a surprise.

And the eyedrops they put in to dilate my eyes stung like a bitch; it made me go ouch loudly, leading to some joking (by them and by me) about how mean they were being to me that day, or how unlucky I was, or something.

The dilator drops I have to keep using burn for maybe a minute after being put in. This isn't going to be super fun -- but it'll still be better than the last few days.

Part of why I've posted this is to explain why I haven't been making a lot of posts here. I've had things on my mind. It's hard to be witty when your eye hurts and you're worried that you're going blind.

UPDATE: Bedtime. Two more doses of the corticosteroid and one of the dilator, and right now my eye doesn't hurt at all even when I wiggle it all around. This morning, looking sharply up or down was a near-scream experience.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste in Daily Life at 05:27 PM | Comments (13) | Add Comment
Post contains 837 words, total size 5 kb.

1 I'd heard of uveitis before, and from what I understand, the prognosis is pretty good so long as you get it diagnosed and treated - which you have.  Hope you're fully binocular again soon!

Posted by: Pixy Misa at January 17, 2008 05:34 PM (PiXy!)

2 Right now with my right eye dilated, and my left eye red and bloodshot, I really look pretty monstrous in the mirror. But it looks like it won't be like this forever.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 17, 2008 05:48 PM (+rSRq)


It's hard to enjoy a show (or give a marginal show a fair shake) when you're under the weather. My normal anime routine has been severely disrupted lately by financial goings on.

But look on the bright side. You could cosplay as Bubs in a pinch.

Posted by: Will at January 17, 2008 06:58 PM (E3UGR)

4 Yeah, and that's why I've been rewatching the DBZ Androids saga instead of watching anything new. It's comforting, an old friend, familiar, not very challenging.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 17, 2008 07:01 PM (+rSRq)


Well damn!

I'm glad you're a little better. Best wishes and hopes for a speedy recovery!

Posted by: The Brickmuppet at January 17, 2008 07:15 PM (V5zw/)

6 A speedy and full recovery to you, sir.

Posted by: Doug Oosting at January 17, 2008 07:25 PM (bQf6y)

7 I hope your eye is fully functional as soon as possible.

Posted by: Don at January 17, 2008 07:54 PM (E0IeW)

8 Thank you all.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 17, 2008 08:06 PM (+rSRq)

9 I hope your eye gets better soon; I'm glad you went in when you did.

There are few non-terminal medical conditions that frighten me more than losing my eyesight or my ability to think straight.

Posted by: BigD at January 17, 2008 10:10 PM (JJ4vV)

10 By the way, folks, don't go to Wikipedia and look up "uveitis" just before a meal. (Gad, what a gross picture. I'm sure glad my eye didn't get that bad!)

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 17, 2008 10:14 PM (+rSRq)


Wow.  I was wondering what it'd take to slow your torrential rate of postings.

Glad you're gonna be okay, Steven!

Posted by: Wonderduck at January 18, 2008 12:30 AM (CJ5+Y)


I had uveitis once and didn't take the dilator drops for as long or as regularly as I should have. I now have a PERMANENT contracture and don't see well at night.

Please take your drops and I hope you get well soon.

Posted by: Omphalos at January 18, 2008 07:11 AM (Xxw3Y)


I definitely plan on it.

Right now only part of the iris is stuck. About three quarters of it is trying to dilate, and about one quarter is not. Which is really weird looking: the black hole in the middle is a circle with a flat spot on one side.

Still better than yesterday, when none of it expanded at all.

Posted by: Steven Den Beste at January 18, 2008 08:41 AM (+rSRq)

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