On the afternoon of the twenty-third of July, a... a... Thing appeared in my left eye. It was bigger than any floater I'd ever seen. I thought it was the beginning of an ocular migraine, but scintillating scotomata, in my limited experience, have been lilac and pale blue. This was gray. It was distracting enough that I wasn't sure I ought to drive. When I lay down that night and closed my eyes, I thought I had forgotten to turn off the hall light. There was a glow visible at the left edge of my field of vision-- except it wasn't caused by any actual light and it stayed there whether or not my eyes were open.
The Thing didn't go away. It got less distracting, because brains are good at adjusting to new things, but a couple of dozen times every day it would wash across my field of vision from the left, and then ease back out of sight. It was accompanied by mild irritation in that eye, and I started to wonder if I had picked up some sort of -- I don't even know -- ocular amoeba the last time I went swimming. (I ALWAYS KNEW people were not meant to be aquatic.) Every night I would lie down and think, "Oops, I forgot to turn off the hall light" -- only the hall light was already off.
It didn't fit the description of retinal detachment, so it seemed unlikely to be an urgent problem. But it was annoying enough that I went to my optometrist on Monday. "Hm," he said. He thought it was most likely a vitreous detachment, but he wanted me to see a retinologist at a different clinic to confirm. Monday was moderately distressing: he was not super-reassuring, his tech put extra dilating drops in my eye, and I spent many hours with painfully light-sensitive eyes that wouldn't focus.
I wasn't looking forward to the appointment this morning. I stopped going to that clinic more than ten years ago because of their sloppy management, but the number of retinologists in a town the size of Gladlyville is very small. (Did you even know that retinologist was a job? I did not.) Today they were pleasant and prompt. (We will see if their billing department has pulled itself together in the years since 2007.) They only dilated the left eye (huzzah), and the doctor was efficient without being hurried. He said, "I can see the Thing that's bothering you," and relief washed over me. It's a posterior vitreous detachment. He wants me to come back in a month and watch vigilantly for retinal detachment symptoms in the meantime, because it's possible for a vitreous detachment to lead to a retinal detachment.
After I Uber-ed home I made myself breakfast, leftover purple cabbage and buttery scrambled eggs and delicate celadon melon. I was awash in gratitude as I ate: for the colors on my plate, for the gift of sight, for this body that has carried me to middle age. So I am writing it down -- partially so I can remember the details if it happens again in a few years, partially because it might be helpful to somebody searching for "giant floater weird glow maybe going blind but probably hypochondriac ALSO EYE WORMS," partially because it's so easy for me to slide from gratitude to annoyance in the presence of small frustrations and uncertainties. Gratitude is the happier place to be, Future Jamie.