In Which I Find Out My Eye Has Suffered Permanent Damage

Remember that bit about me hitting myself in the right eye with a penny a month or two ago? Allow me to refresh your memory.


Well back on December 26th–in the middle of my European vacation–something happened. I’d been working on troubleshooting some tech problems my mother-in-law had been having, when suddenly I noticed I couldn’t see right out of the middle of my right eye.

At first I thought it was a migraine, but it was limited to one eye, and I never got a headache. I tried to sleep it off, but it didn’t get better.

That’s not something you want to have happen to you when you’re in thousands of miles from your home. I had no idea what to do, so I just prayed it would get better–or not get worse–and I stopped wearing contact lenses.

It has gotten better somewhat, but the first thing I did when my plane landed in Boston was call my eye doctor. He looked at it, then sent me to a retinal specialist, and I went down there this morning. They dilated my eyes into oblivion and shone every bright light they could find. What a pleasant experience. They also took detailed pictures of my retina.

It seems like when I hit my eye with that cursed penny, it caused some of the vitreous fluid to detach, and it injured a very small part of my retina. (I’m not an eye specialist, folks–this is just what I took away from the meeting.) The good news is that it’s not going to get worse. The bad news is that it’s not going to get better.

I’m choosing to focus on the good news. I’m attached to being able to see out of my right eye, and as cool as it would be to wear an eye-patch all the time, I’ve decided I’d rather avoid it. It’s been three weeks or so since I started noticing this problem, and I’ve become quite used to it. Basically, it’s like I looked at a bright light and then looked away, and I’ve got this tiny afterimage of that light hovering in my vision.

Honestly, I don’t notice it now except when it’s bright outside. I can still read with the eye, see with the eye, do everything I used to be able to do with it. I just have to accept that little afterimage is going to be there, and stop worrying about it. That’s a big deal for me–being able to know it’s okay, and it’s not going to get worse.

So. That’s my Friday for you. And that’s all I have to say about that.

7 thoughts on “In Which I Find Out My Eye Has Suffered Permanent Damage”

  1. Oh, man, that really sucks. That’s actually what happened to my grandma–who was already kind of blind at the time because of her glaucoma; she’s had several cateract surgeries–when she bent over in her garden and got poked in the eye by a weed of some sort. It came at her in such an angle that she didn’t see it coming at all.

    But in her case, ALL the fluid leaked out and she’s been blind in that eye for about 20 years. So keep watching it to be sure it doesn’t get worse.

    (This is one good thing for wearing glasses, eh? Eye protection.)

  2. Bummer, Bryce. You’re probably fortunate it wasn’t worse. I had a vitreous separation that tore part of my retina a month or two after cataract surgery. Apparently the surgery increases the risk of it, but it can also happen spontaneously when you get older.

    The symptom for me was a sudden surge of floaters in my right eye (caused by blood leaking into the vitreous). It hit on my way back from a road trip to California.

    As soon as my eye doctor saw what happened he told me not to exercise or make any sudden moves and got me right in to see a retinal specialist. I went through a procedure to “tack down” the torn edges with a laser so it wouldn’t tear more.

    Ever since, I’ve had the floaters. They never went away. Luckily, you eventually adjust to the point where you rarely see them (I only notice them in bright sunlight nowadays). Hopefully you’ll adjust to the blind spot in your vision in a similar way.

  3. That’s so scary, Bryce. It’s so strange that parts of our bodies just stop working at certain points. It certainly allows for a shift in perspective. How many things pale in comparison to the importance of making sure our bodies do what they’re supposed to do?

  4. Wow. Definitely glad it’s not worse, but I’m so sorry to hear this. It reminds me a lot of my tinnitus, although I have no idea what caused that for me or even when it originated. I only notice it when things are really quiet. I’ve heard I should try acupuncture. I wonder if that would help you at all…?

  5. Stacy–Yikes! That sounds just awful. So glad it wasn’t worse for me.

    Dad–I pretty much have adjusted already, actually. It’s been three weeks, and it never was a huge spot to begin with, so that’s something. The floaters . . . I’ve always had floaters. Now I just have more.

    Dan–It’s true. And scary how tentative our grasp on our own health can be. Stuff like this reminds me about that. I don’t like it.

    Gretel–Acupuncture . . . interesting idea. You’ll have to tell me if it works for your tinnitus.

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