Eye on Elli

eyeBefore we left Alice Springs in May, I developed a rather large bump on my right eyelid which I thought was a spider bite, but turned out to be something much more fancy and unpronounceable: a chalazion (every doctor I ask says it differently). After a week of seeing double I visited an optometrist who, in the course of the exam kept asking, “this more better, this more better?” After the unsuccessful attempt to correct my vision he referred me to an opthamologist who could better describe my plight, swollen gland/cyst, giving me two options: surgery or warm compresses.


Two months and many warm washcloths later and I’m still seeing double. Just when I think it’s getting better, I’ll wake up in the next morning with searing pain as if the mere act of opening my eye has rent the surface in two. The rest of the day is a complete and utter blur, of no use, in fact a hindrance in getting my work done when editing photos. When I pick up my camera to take a picture I think it’s broken before that little light bulb in my brain goes off and I switch the viewfinder to the left eye. Funnily enough, a month before the problem arose I tried an experiment taking photos with my left/non-dominant eye. That was fun in the fact that is was an e-x-p-e-r-i-m-e-n-t, read useless and unnecessary. I have since learned that this girl needs both eyes. I find myself constantly closing my right eye in order to get anything done because it’s the dominant one–the eye with the last word/look, so to speak.
It’s odd that last year at my eye exam I finally gave in and had a prism added to my prescription which would allow me to stop seeing double and make my eyes work together. Glory glory! The sights that would be seen! Oh wait, not so fast. My dominant right eye fought the prism and won the battle, forcing me to get the prescription refilled without it. Also around this time I would wake up once a month with eye pain, but the optometrist said it was just dry eye and I may need drops on regular basis. But hey, Alice Springs was a dry place, certainly it wasn’t me, it was the desert. Right on.
Jump to today. I woke up again to searing pain this morning upon waking, this after a promising week of minor blur and high hopes. Hi beginning, how’ve you been? The bump is gone, healed, normal (as I’ve grown to know it) but I’m still having a major problem. After a few hoop jumps, including another ineffective optometrist, I made it to the opthamologist of my dreams. She explained everything so beautifully, so rationally, so scientifically. And now I am proud to announce I have recurrent erosion syndrome due to an underlying condition known as epithelial basement membrane dystrophy, or Cogan’s Dystrophy. In a nutshell, my cornea can’t heal from a minor scratch because I have a weak cell layer. Woot. Treatment is drops, drops, and more drops. Every two hours I apply drops and seal the eye off with lubrication before sleep. Eighty percent of the time this works, otherwise we’re looking at little holes around the area, blah blah blah, that’s the part I shut out. After my hot compress success, I’m striving to be in that 80% group and get this behind me. I cannot wait to take my vision for granted again, to say yes, more better!

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5 thoughts on “Eye on Elli

  1. unpronounceable: a chalazion (every doctor I ask says it differently)
    I can only imagine the permutations wrought upon “chalazion” in an Australian accent.
    Glad to hear someone has sorted it and is prescribing treatment, instead of saying “hot towel, hot towel” like a gaggle of 1950s flight hostesses.

  2. I didn’t know it was so bad! GDI, I’m glad you found the right opthamologist. I would say 80% is good for you. You eat right and have J-M rooting for you there 24/7 not to mention me & everyone else that you cannot see. Love you.

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