Friday, January 16, 2009

Fickle eyes

After successful cataract extraction and lens implant surgery last April, I was flying high with 20/20 vision or better in both eyes and absolutely no need for glasses or any other correction. I wore real sunglasses that didn't get clipped on or cost a mint as a "spare" pair. I wore eye makeup that could actually make my eyes look younger. I could wear my hair very short knowing the little sideburns wouldn't stand out like semiphores when the glasses stems pushed them outward. In short, after nearly 60 years of glasses and contact lenses, I was FREE!

Note the operative word "was."

A couple of weeks ago, my vision started to blur occasionally, especially at dusk when I'd go from a well-lit room to a darker area. Halos formed around light sources and it was hard to differentiate their borders. It wasn't enough to trouble me, though. I attributed it to lack of sleep and stress. Then came last Tuesday.

Coming home from a wonderful visit with Terri, Adela and Nate, I drove blissfully along, aware that darkness was descending but unconcerned about any potential problems. Then, I drove onto Interstate 295 in Ewing Township and found myself nearly blind. Nothing but streaks of light and blurred images met my eyes through the windshield ... imagine my terror! Cars and huge trucks zoomed by at 70+ miles per hour as I struggled to see the white lines on the right side of the highway, where I clung desperately, too fearful to try to pass anyone or even to maintain anything over 55 mph. I crawled like that until reaching the exit for 130 where I usually travel a mile or so before picking up Rt. 206 which takes me home. A large truck in front of me obscured my vision of the route signs and I made a wrong turn. Trying in vain to see clearly enough to read the subsequent signs as they flew past, I finally used my own sense of direction to instruct me to find a way to turn around and retrace my route. Thank goodness for the Delaware River, which I knew should not have been directly on my right!!

Finally, after a harrowing trip, I pulled into our garage and sat there, trying to calm down. An immediate call to my optometrist came next and a day later I was sitting in his chair, my eyes dilated wide. I waited to hear a dire verdict ... retinal separation, diabetic retinopathy, corneal disease, slippage of the lens implants. Instead, after a thorough exam and vision tests, he scratched out some numbers on a pad and pronounced me in need of corrective lenses. My pitifully myopic eyes had enjoyed a brief respite from dysfunction and were now reverting to the need for assistance in order to keep that 20/20 ability.

At first I was terribly disappointed. Then I realized just how lucky I am. It could have been any of the dreaded things that passed through my mind. I could have been in need of further surgery and long recuperation. Instead, I'll have to adjust to being a wearer of bifocals once again. I'll order bifocal sunglasses and be happy to wear whatever it takes to clear up the glare and halos and allow me to drive home from my daughter's after dark without fear.

Oh ... lesson also learned. Pull over, stop and use the OnStar phone to call home for assistance. While I wasn't in imminent danger, my situation wasn't a good one and an accident could have been the result of driving without clear vision. As they say on tv, don't try this stunt yourself!


Sunday, January 11, 2009

It's in the genes

What a treat! I've always known that the love of writing and the power of words are alive and well in our family's DNA, but now there is another piece of concrete proof. Daughter Terri has begun her own blog,, in which she chronicles the events in her young family. It's entertaining and filled with the kind of news her relatives and friends want to know but don't always have time to seek. Check it out!