Monday, July 30, 2007

Optometrist's appointment

I have been noticing that I don't see things as sharply as I used to, and that my night vision was terrible. Also, whenever someone was backlit (in normal ambient lighting) I couldn't make out any of their features. Therefore, I concluded that I needed to see the optometrist. I was able to get in to see her today.

My eyes are worse, all right. They're -9.25 in both eyes. This is pretty bad - I don't know if I'm quite blind without my glasses, but it is close. I've decided against getting new frames because these ones are only two years old and are still in good shape. The lenses themselves are costing me $374 including dispensing fee and my insurance only covers $200 of that so new frames aren't all that important to me.

We are going away on Friday for a week so I won't take my glasses in until we get back on August 13th. It'll take a few days to a week to get the glasses back as they have to be shipped to Montreal to get the lenses put in. I'm getting the super-high refractive index (1.74) Nikon lenses which have different optics than "normal" lenses. This means that my lenses are more flat, less thick, and don't create a "hole" in my face the way "normal" lenses do. I'll be very excited to get my new glasses :)

My optometrist also said that since my prescription is so high, I needed to watch for signs of retinal detachment. Apparently that can be an issue, although my retinas look like those of a person with a -1 prescription :) She said that the signs of this included sudden blackness in one eye, a starry or lightning effect, lots of floaters, or curtains of darkness in an eye. It rarely happens in both eyes at the same time.

My optometrist did the other exams where she checks my cornea and my retina. You know, the tests where you get the dilating drops put in your eyes and the "puff" test where they test the pressure of your eyes. She also did the usual exam where she looks at the eye with her bright light.

It seems that there is a tiny spot on my left cornea that could be either the beginning of a cataract or some residue from when my eyes were developed. That spot has never shown up on any eye exams I've ever had, though, so I'm thinking it's more likely to be the beginning of a cataract. Both Tamoxifen (which I had before) and Femara (which I am on now) can cause cataracts so it wouldn't be a surprise if I were to develop them. My optometrist is going to watch my eyes for a while; my next appointment is in December. At least I won't have to pay the $75 exam fee. I'll be covered again by the Ontario Health Insurance Plan which removed this service from coverage except for special cases a few years back.

We had a bit of a scare as well when she did the "puff" test. It seems that the pressure in my eyes was at 21 or 22, which is high for someone my age even though I'm in premature menopause. Apparently high pressure in the eyes is a sign of glaucoma. She said that sometimes the pupil dilation drops used to look in the eye can cause elevated pressure and asked me to come back in an hour or so. I did and the pressure was back to normal at 17 and 18. It's a relief to know that I don't have signs of glaucoma.

I must say that I'm not thrilled about the idea that I might have cataracts. How many more new and unusual ways can cancer affect me?


Anonymous said...

-9.74 is huge almost blind, i think you should stop sitting on computer for long hours

Darling Jee said...

Flashing lights as well. Did she tell you what to do if this happens? Don't sneeze, don't bend over to tie your shoelaces, just tilt your head back, head to the ER and call your optometrist on the way there. Or you can call me and I'll call mine. All 4 of them! I could tell you their horror stories but I won't. Just be careful not to hit yourself in the head with your beads or during crazy board game nights or anything like that :)