Wednesday, January 02, 2019

Visual Field Test

I had an appointment at my ophthalmologist's office this morning for a visual field test, and the forecast was for freezing rain at just the time I was supposed to go, so it's been a little nerve-wracking the past few days waiting to see what the weather was going to do. I'm a warm-weather flatlander who doesn't drive on icy roads unless it's a matter of life and death, and there are a lot of big hills between here and the neighboring town where the office is located. When the time came, technically there was freezing rain--it was raining and the temperature was 30-32 degrees--but the roads were just wet and I didn't have any trouble getting there and back. Still, I hate stuff like that.

Now, for those of you not familiar with the visual field test . . . it checks your peripheral vision, and since I was diagnosed with glaucoma a few years ago, I've had several of them. How it works is, you stare into a machine one eye at a time (yeah, you get to wear a cool eyepatch like a pirate) and hold a little clicker. The machine shows you a seemingly random pattern of tiny flickers of light out at the edge of your vision, and you push the button on the clicker every time you see one. This goes on for about ten minutes for each eye.

My tests had gone pretty well until the last one a couple of months ago, which indicated that I'd lost some peripheral vision in my left eye. The doctor was not convinced that the results were totally accurate, though, since the pressure in my eyes is fairly well controlled with medication. As he put it, sometimes you just have a bad day on the machine. I explained to him that I've also had some deterioration in my fine motor skills over the past year or so, and sometimes I actually saw the flash, I just couldn't get my thumb to push the clicker in time. So he said, well, we'll just test it again after a little time has passed.

That test was today. I felt like my reflexes were a little sharper than last time, so maybe that helped. But I could also tell that the peripheral vision in my left eye really didn't seem as good as that in the right eye. But I'm no ophthalmologist, so we'll just have to wait and see (no pun intended). I go back next week to talk to him and find out the results.

After all this, I got home in time to get in almost a full day at the computer, but the pages came pretty slowly. I wrote a chapter and some of the next one. Good enough under the circumstances, I suppose.


Keith West said...

I hate that test. And my doctor doesn't give us eye patches.

Good luck with the results. I hope you're pleasantly surprised by them.

Jeffrey Meyerson said...

No eye patch in Brooklyn either.

Getting old[er] is no fun, is it? (I still do pretty well on that test, at least.)

Good luck with it.

Dennis Bedard said...

Hey, it could be worse. Be lucky you are not crapping in a diaper or making a mad dash to the men's room to pee every 15 minutes. Yeah, getting old is no fun but you can make the most of it by looking back and laughing as the younger generation makes the same dumb mistakes we all made 40-50 years ago.

Anonymous said...

Yeah, I've worn glasses since I was four and know my way around an optometrist's office.
Last time I was in I likened the Visual Field Test to the world's lamest video game and got a nice laugh out of the twenty-something assistant.

I'm never much surprised at how old I've become, but I'm ceaselessly amazed at how young everybody else is.

John Hocking

James Reasoner said...

I'm thankful every day that I'm as healthy as I am. Too many people I went to school with are gone now, and others are in bad shape.

Then you have the ones who look like they're still in their 30s. I don't know how they manage it. Portraits in attics, maybe.