Wednesday, November 15, 2017

The Oldening

In my study last week, I suddenly saw flashes out of the corner of my left eye.

I turned toward the hallway. Light flashes every second or so, at the very far edge of my vision.

Very unnerving.

I got up and walked into the hallway. No lights flashing there. Then it happened again, and I couldn't figure out where the hell it was coming from.

Of course, it wasn't coming from anywhere.

I figured the best thing I could do was close my eyes for a while, so I did. Fifteen minutes or so, and when I opened them, the flashes were much less frequent, but still there.

The next day, it happened again. Not very often--once an hour or so--but it was getting increasingly freaky to me that it was still happening.

When in doubt, go to the eye doctor. Immediately.

After a thorough examination, what he told me blew my mind. I'm going to use Wikipedia here, because it's thorough:
The vitreous (Latin for "glassy") humor is a gel which fills the eye behind the lens. Between it and the retina is the vitreous membrane. With age the vitreous humor changes, shrinking and developing pockets of liquefaction, similar to the way a gelatin dessert shrinks and detaches from the edge of a pan. At some stage the vitreous membrane may peel away from the retina. This is usually a sudden event.

Hell yes, it was sudden.

It's called "posterior vitreous detachment", and while there is a small risk for a detached retina, that didn't happen in my case (I have to go back for a follow-up in six weeks, but the odds are very low at this point).

The doctor told me that the reason I saw flashes is because the vitreous detaching sends electrical signals to the brain, which the brain interprets as light. So every flash was a little bit of detachment happening.

I never knew anything like this existed. Absolutely no idea.

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