I was nearing the end of my supply of contacts and went to have my eyes checked. Imagine my surprise when my doctor was puzzled why my eyesight in one eye had rapidly gone down hill…I couldn’t even make out the big letters on the chart. He started asking me if I had had a head injury recently and other related questions. I was getting more worried by the minute and so was he. He proceeded to do some tests and use some different instruments and was able to establish the fact that there was no internal damage to my retina or anything but that one eye was inflamed and scratched and dry causing my vision to blur. I had conjunctivitis about a month ago and apparently that had never fully cleared up.
Prescription eye drops 4 times a day and artificial tears hourly were to be part of my routine for at least the next week along with check-ups every few days. When I left his office I closed my good eye and realized I couldn’t see out of my “bad” eye even with my glasses on. How long had this been going on? My good eye had been doing such a good job overcompensating for the lack of vision in the affected eye that I had not even realized the vision had deteriorated in one eye so drastically.
The good news is that my vision was back within two days but the eye was still not healed. Next I was switched to eye drops that were both antibacterial and anti-inflammatory as well. We realized that the other eye was extremely dry as well. Unfortunately although it appears the infection did clear up, the inflammation is still under my eyelid. I continue to hydrate my eyes and be treated while we figure this out. The doctor is a little puzzled and is not sure yet if I will be able to wear contacts anymore.
The more I thought about this it occurred to me that it had been almost a year that I have been having some “problems” with my eyes and that it was almost a year ago that I had my first chemo treatment. I wear contacts daily and rarely wear my glasses but over the past year my eyes had been bothering me in some way or another. At times my vision seemed blurry, my eyes were red, they were sensitive or itchy, even excess tears and I would have to leave my contacts out for days or a week at a time until the redness or irritation went away. I had so many uncomfortable side effects from chemo that I was dealing with that I had paid little attention to a minor one such as the eye irritation or my vision. It wasn’t until this eye exam that I finally put two and two together and realized that dry eye syndrome was yet another marvelous side effect from cancer treatment. It is not listed specifically for the drugs I had been given, but I see it listed in general for chemo treatment and see in forums where many patients complain of it. I was unable to see any information about whether this goes away in time. If anyone has more information about that, I would be anxious to know. Dry eye syndrome is also more common in those over the age of 40, in menopausal women, and in those taking blood pressure medication so it could be a combination in my case.
On a humorous note, one of the tests that my doctor does is put drops of Fluorescein in my eyes. Fluorescein is a yellow dye that stains the cornea where the epithelial (surface) cells have been worn away because of the lack of an adequate protective tear film. With the use of a “blue” light it will help identify abrasions or scratches present on the surface of the eye. Somehow the bright yellow dye ends up outlining my eye and appears bright orange once it is on my skin. After I left there the first time I was unaware of the dye left until I walked into the store to meet my daughter and she wanted to know what was the matter with me. When I looked in the mirror we both busted out laughing at the orange circle around my eye!
I still don’t know for sure where this will end up but it got me thinking about many things…how we take our vision for granted, how we tend to the more urgent things but allow smaller things to fall by the wayside, and especially how we can easily end up allowing something to be “acceptable” or the norm and take a foothold in our life, learning to live with it, even becoming insensitive to its presence in our life. The last thing you would want to happen in your spiritual life is to “give the devil a foothold in your life” (Ephesians 4:27), allowing him to stay and putting up with his presence to the point that you are not in tune to the spirit. We do not want to become complacent or numb but want to remain sensitive to “irritations” in our lives that have no place being there.
“Keep a cool head. Stay alert. The Devil is poised to pounce, and would like nothing better than to catch you napping. Keep your guard up. You’re not the only ones plunged into these hard times. It’s the same with Christians all over the world. So keep a firm grip on the faith. The suffering won’t last forever. It won’t be long before this generous God who has great plans for us in Christ—eternal and glorious plans they are!—will have you put together and on your feet for good. He gets the last word; yes, he does.” (1 Peter 5:8-11 Message)