I’ve worn glasses since I was about three years old. Some people lose their glasses regularly. Not me. They’re always on my face or on my bedside table. I simply can’t function without them.
When my glasses broke about a month ago, I realized it had been four and a half years since I’d last had an eye examination and that I really should have that done before ordering new glasses. They happened to have a cancellation for that morning, so I went in. At the end of the examination, the optometrist showed me digital images of my eyes. In the middle of the right eyeball there was a large yellowish blob, something like this one (only larger):
The optometrist said he’d rarely seen anything like it and that he was amazed I could see through it/past it at all. His biggest fear was that it was Best Disease and that it was still growing. Then he said it couldn’t be Best Disease because that is always in both eyes, but he didn’t know what else it could be. However, most people with Best get it in their teens or twenties, and many quickly become legally blind.
So he referred me to an opthamologist. Meanwhile, I went to Wisconsin and ACFW conference in St Louis, wondering if I was going blind. If I’d ever be able to travel alone again. How annoying it would be for me, a visual learner, to learn to write and edit novels via voice recognition software. How difficult it would be not to see SweetPea grow up…or to see future grandchildren at all.
The opthamologist did further tests on my eyes. Agreed with the optometrist that it looked like Best. Agreed that it couldn’t be because Best is ‘always’ bilateral. He, too, had seen few cases anything like this in his career. However, there happened to be a visiting Retina Specialist holding an eye clinic the next day, and he’d recommend I attend. Thankfully I could stay overnight with my sister, who just happens to be a nurse and just happened to be working the aforementioned clinic.
After five different eye drops (some for dilation and some for who-knows-what) the day before with dilation lasting from noon to bedtime, you can imagine how thrilled I was to be first in line for dilation the next morning. More tests, more digital images of both eyes. More waiting.
Also more discovering that even the RS had seen very few cases like mine. To become a RS, think 8 years of medical school, plus 4 to become an opthamoligist, plus another 4 on retinas alone. He sat there looking up stuff on his iPhone (obviously his vision is better than mine, lol) and showing me pictures.
Verdict? Yes, I have Best Disease. Yes, it can (rarely) be in only one eye. I likely got it as a child or teen as most people do and it has already run its course. When I say I ‘got it,’ it’s not like a virus. There’s a genetic predisposition, one I’d already heard of as a niece of mine was diagnosed with Best as a teen. Hers also did not blind her.
Mine likely wasn’t picked up earlier due to better testing nowadays. My vision should not deteriorate further from it, just the normal typical aging of eyes. I’m to see the opthamologist annually if there are no changes, and to call the RS immediately if there are.
Relief? You betcha! But throughout the three weeks or so that this drama played out, I gained an all-new appreciation of vision. I learned to notice things more–Lake Michigan’s beauty, the mountains and flatlands and rivers of BC, SweetPea’s facial expressions. I became increasingly thankful.
If you had a limited amount of time left to see, what would you want to fill your visual memory banks with? Philippians 4:8 says: Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable–if anything is excellent or praiseworthy–think about such things. (NIV)
I changed those little words think about to look at. I want to fill my eyes with true, noble, right, pure, lovely, and admirable things. Those are the sights I want impressed on my visual memory bank. What do you choose?
**Update June 2014:
My vision has deteriorated since this post went up. I’d forgotten they thought the damage had all been done years ago and we were only now seeing the results of it. That turned out not to be true. However, my eyes seem to have stabilized at a point where I can still drive and function. Magnifying glasses are useful to a point. Thankful for computers, Kindles, and smart phones with adjustable size fonts! And thankful to God, every single day, for vision.