Satisfying the curious with TMI

Many thanks to those of you who expressed concern over the State of the Eyeballs; and since I’ve gotten a bit of email asking exactly what the deal was, well, here goes.  Following a routine eye examination last week, my ophthalmologist rather strongly suspected that I was about to have a full blown retinal detachment.  His reasons for this suspicion were twofold: (1). I am severely nearsighted — which ups the odds of such an event rather dramatically, and (2). for the last few months I’ve had recurring instances of brilliant white lights flaring, arcing, and cruising around in my left eye.

However, upon a full pupil dilation and all the accompanying invasive discomfort, it turns out that I am not on the cusp of needing a corrective laser fixed upon my eyeball.  My retina is fine and dandy, and not on any verge of going AWOL, thank you very much.  Instead, the doctor is nearly certain that I’ve actually been experiencing fits of ocular migraines. The arcing pattern of the lights was a bit of a giveaway, and the case is bolstered by a family history of migraines, my established sensitivity to seasonal changes, and my difficulties with fall allergens.

(My sister gets the big, nasty, OMG-death-in-my-head-just-cut-it-off-and-let-me-die migraines.  I get migraines that don’t hurt at all, but merely distract me with oooh … pretty lights! every now and again.  Yes, yes.  I’ve already gloated, and I’m pretty sure that when I see her at Christmas, she’s going to kick my ass. Frankly, I feel like this evens up the genetic lottery pot a bit — because my sister was born with picket-fence-straight teeth and NO WISDOM TEETH AT ALL.  Not me.  I had three rounds of oral surgery, seven regular teeth pulled, all my impacted wisdom teeth removed with great prejudice, and I wore braces for five years.  But hey, sparkly migraines!)

Well, I suppose I’ve rambled on about personal stuff that’s wholly off-topic to Jeff’s journal long enough — though I do want to send out a hearty THANK YOU to all the folks who have been pre-ordering Fathom over the last couple of days.  Because I’m an obsessive little writer, I’ve been keeping an eye on the amazon numbers (which yes, I realize have minimal real-world meaning) and I appreciate that they’ve been holding pretty steady.

You guys rock my socks, I swear it.


  1. says

    Not to add to the TMI, but if you’re on combined hormones for birth control, talk to your doctor immediately. Those can cause ocular migraines, and if they do, then you’re at increased risk of stroke.

    (Your doctor may have already brought this up, but I wanted to mention it just in case.)

  2. says

    Not familiar with triphasil. It’s worth checking into, anyway. Apparently the migraines are not an uncommon side effect in many women.

    For the record, the minute you brought up retina detachment, I knew exactly where this was going. The first time I had the lights appear in *my* field of vision, I was terrified that was what was happening to me — as I am also severely nearsighted, and my ophthalmologist had warned me to watch out for the symptoms of retina detachment. I was in the middle of teaching a class, and was a hair away from telling everybody to go home so I could, I don’t know, call 911 or something, when the aura vanished and I was okay. Still called my eye doctor the instant I got home, but I was less panicked by then.

  3. says

    By “triphasil” I just meant hormones that come stacked in a three-phase form; I thought that’s what you meant, maybe, by combined hormones — that’s all.

    And it’s nice to know I’m not alone :) The lights are really strange, but I’m led to understand that they’re mostly triggered by stress, weather shifts, and allergies — all of which are a big part of my life for the last few months. When my father told me that he’d had them too, off and on for years, I was even more confident that this is the culprit — and not something that I should freak out about. But I’ve gotta tell you, I was pretty freaked out by the prospect of a detachment, and I’m relieved by the diagnosis.

  4. says

    I’m glad to know your retina is okay.
    Enjoyed your interview at Publishers Weekly. Fathom sounds great.
    I, too, have an affection for empty, abandoned places. Gigantic zeppelins, on the other hand, fill me with an awe bordering on fear.

  5. says

    I have ocular migraines too. They’re interesting aren’t they? Despite the fact that they’re supposed to be caused by stress I only seem to feel stressed while they’re occurring. “I would be done by now if I could only see what I’m doing instead of looking at these weird lights!”

    I hadn’t heard about the BC connection though. Thanks to Marie for bringing that up. My annual physical is in a few weeks so I’ll be sure to ask my doctor.