My Health and Eye

Plastic Cups

Last year, I had an eye test in April and again in October.  A GP took a quick look at my eyes in December, due to conjunctivitis and now this month, I am back with a doctor.  Some people get nervous about the dentist. I get nervous, to the point of hysterical, with eye doctors.

My phobia was born in 1995.  I was routinely seen due to a possible squint.  During the exam, the doctor spotted some pigmentation in the back of my eye.  Within weeks I was in front of specialists, trying to confirm a diagnosis of retinitis pigmentosa.  A degenerative condition that would leave me blind by 25.

I don’t remember much about that appointment.  I do remember, looking at a plastic cup of water, given to me by a nurse during my first ever panic attack.  I was reassured.  There was pigmentation but no disease. It was a mistake.

A mistake that I carry to this day.

Fast forward to this week.  I’m struggling with dry eyes, wavy lines in my peripheral vision and shimmering auras intermittently.  I’m sat in an eye unit, looking into the light.  Yellow drops go in, to show surface problems. Dilating drops go in next, to allow the full retina to be examined.  I was then sent for a vision field OCT scan.  All of this was horrific for my anxiety.  My heart was racing.  I thought I was going to be sick.  A young nurse sat with me, next to a fan, while I drank water from their trusty plastic cups.

I cried.  I have been through so much already.  Another illness seemed almost unfair, given my previous and ongoing medical issues.  My poor husband, he’s not very emotionally strong.  My baby girl, she needs me.  Thinking of her in that moment made me smile.   She’s perfect.  Everything that went wrong for me was made right in her.  My beautiful girl…

Results were in… all appeared fine.   The same doctor was back, waving a pen in front of my face.  Following his pen, left to right, up and down, he jumps up to speak to a colleague.  I can hear him in the next cubicle, talking about Nystagmus.  He then asks me to see another doctor across the hall.   I am beside myself.  What the fuck is Nystagmus!  I felt the walls closing in.

I then sat across from a lovely woman, who waved more pens and lights in my face.  Looking left, looking right. Up and down.

“Nope, can’t see it.  There is nothing wrong, regarding movement of the eye”.   Nystagmus is a condition that causes involuntary eye movement.  Usually this is picked up in childhood or acquired later in life, due to diseases such as MS or brain tumors.  

After two and a half hours, I am sent home with no answers.  They can’t find a reason for my problem.  I am relieved and more anxious than before.  I was advised to go back if it gets worse.

My panic attacks are now daily.  Much like the peripheral waves and shimmers.  If they are not there, I look for them.  Emotionally I am a wreck.  I have a GP appointment booked, to check if there is anything else, that could be causing it.  There is also another eye unit, that I am planning to attend for a second opinion.  I am scared that I have no answers but also scared I will get some.

I hugged my daughter tighter this week.  Looked at her for longer.  It’s weird how fear can make you laser focused but completely paralysed at the same time.

16 days into the New Year.  Never a dull moment.


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