Thursday, June 1, 2017

Vision, and Other Inconsequential Ramblings of a Condemned Man

When I started my slide into secondary progressive MS, my eyes quickly became an issue once again. My adventure began with a trip to the eye clinic for a full examination. I was amazed by the loss experienced in such a short time; I went down two levels on a standard eye chart. At the end of my exam, my optometrist broke the bad news.
“Your vision is 20/20.”
“Damn! That’s what 20/20 looks like? That sucks.”
On any given day, my vision ranges from 20/20, 20/30, through 20/crappy. It’s constantly changing throughout the day; the only sight I’ll never see on my glorious pilot days of 20/10.
The last ophthalmologist I saw was surprised I ever flew in the first place. Apparently, double vision is not common. Take the old stereogram as an example. Look at the picture, relax your eyes, and another image will appear:
This was never a problem, I always saw double. I have an irregular setting of my eye sockets; however, the muscles in my eyes were strong enough to compensate. Like everything else, their failing.
I shouldn’t complain, I guess. I do have the provocative allure of my displaced ocular canals [Lookout, ladies!]. Plus, my eyesight isn’t bad all the time.
It tends to fail in spurts.
- 1999: blurred vision in my right eye was one of the initial symptoms of that first MS attack.
- 2002: inability to focus led to my first failed experiment with glasses.
- 2005: I called and left a message for Brie, saying, “I can’t see out of my right eye, so I’m driving myself to the hospital. Can you meet me there?” Relapse
- 2009: ‘KB the Pirate’ showed up to work one day with a patch over his right eye. The next day, I showed up with the patch over my left eye. This was my first inability to merge my binary images, so we removed one at a time.
- 2011: in an attempt to address my ever-changing vision, the failed ‘prism glasses’ experiment was attempted. If you want to make yourself throw up in five minutes, wait four minutes, 30 seconds, and then stand up with a pair of prism glasses on.
- 2014: my vision officially sucks (but the nurse started to fall for those sexy ocular canals).
- 2016: I now have two pairs of glasses to wear when my vision passes through a particular range of suck. Usually, when they’re needed, I pray to God they are within reach…
I am fortunate. My MS diagnosis does not include optic neuritis (possibly) and my eyes do not have a constant stinging pain (usually). I am mostly cursed with middle-aged eyes and a condition where I can no longer compensate for my displaced ocular canals…
… My disease can no longer control my deformity.
Well, doesn’t that just double suck.


Vision Problems
The first symptom of MS for many people. Onset of blurred vision, poor contrast or color vision, and pain on eye movement can be frightening — and should be evaluated promptly.

The fight is not over and it won’t be over until a cure is found.
It will never stop…nor will we
It will never quit…nor will we
This is why we fight!

Never Stop… Never Quit…®
Kevin Byrne
Portland, OR

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