It started about two weeks ago. B and I were out walking the dog at dusk. We were taking our usual route down our street, but for some reason a fly, or some other kind of bug, would not leave me alone. It was darting in and out of my eyesight, around my head. I waved my arms around; but that didn't make the bug go away. Finally I just walked ahead and ducked into the house.
The same thing happened the next evening. I couldn't understand my sudden attraction to whatever insect was singling me out for attack in front of my own house.
A couple of days later I was reading in my office chair, and I happened to look up at the ceiling. I saw a couple of black dots. But they didn't seem to be on the ceiling. They seemed to be in my eye. Did I have something in my eye?
I rubbed my eye, and when that didn't do anything, I took a shower and tried to wash out my eyes. I went back downstairs and looked up at the ceiling. The black spots were still there, mostly in my right eye.
"Oh, yeah," she acknowledged. "They're floaters."
"What the hell are floaters?" I asked. This was the first I'd heard of them.
"It happens when you get older. I've had them a couple of times. They're not serious, and they usually just go away."
"So how do you know about them? You're younger than I am."
"Well, my eyes weren't so great to begin with."
"So you start getting older, and suddenly you get black things rolling around in your eyes?"
"It has something to do with the fluid behind your eyeball. It dries up, and you see spots."
So, being the semi-hypochondriac that I am, I googled floaters. WebMD told me that eye floaters are small pieces of protein that appear as spots in your field of vision. As you age the back of your eye shrinks and small bits of protein shred off from the retina. They are particularly noticeable when you look at something bright . . . such as a white ceiling.
Most of the time floaters are harmless, and according to WebMD, as well as Bridge, most of the time they do not interfere with your field of vision. However, in some cases, they can signal a retinal tear or retinal detachment which are serious eye disorders. Apparently, you don't have to worry unless the floaters become very dense, or you experience some loss of vision, or you get sudden flashes of light on the edges of your eye.
So the next night we went out to walk the dog. I got to the end of the driveway, when I saw a flash of light out of the corner of my right eye. And then another one a few minutes later. That was enough for me. The next morning I made an appointment with an opthamologist at our medical group.
A few days later I was in his office, with drops in my eyes, lying back in a chair as he shined a spotlight bright enough to land an airplane into my eyes. Look up; look down. To the right, to the left. Back to the right.
The doctor seemed unimpressed with my eyes, even slightly annoyed that I had troubled him with my so-called problem. Which is a good thing, in my book.
I have floaters. No sign of retinal detachment. I should go back to him if the floaters get significantly worse, or I begin to lose vision. But otherwise, I'm fine. The doctor says they should go away once my fluid dries up and the bits of protein get absorbed into my body. But he told me to make an appointment in one month. He wants to check me again, just to make sure.
And so I've got these black lacy-type things floating around in my right eye. A few flashes of light when I go out in the dark at night. But, they tell me, everything is normal. Just something that comes with getting older. Isn't aging fun?!?