About 15 months ago Fritz accidentally scratched my eyeball. An emergency trip to the optometrist and a couple days of eye drops later and my eye felt all better. There was a problem totally unrelated to the scratch, though.
Something in my eyes was bigger than the optometrist wanted to see and so a few weeks later I went back for my regular check-up. He did the puff of air test and then repeated it and repeated it again. My intra-ocular pressures were high and varied with each puff. Again, the thing in my eye was bigger than he wanted to see. So I was sent to an opthamologist.
The opthamologist found the same result with his puff of air test. He did some other test to see what was going on with the thing that was bigger than it should be. This doctor explained to me what the optometrist was talking about. It turns out there is a blind spot on everyone’s ocular nerve. Mine is 70% bigger than it should be. The problem is we don’t know if I was born that way or if something happened to me to cause part of the nerve to go blind or if it’s a degenerative issue.
The opthamologist said I am at high risk for glaucoma based on the intra-ocular pressures. If the large blind spot on my ocular nerve is degenerative I am at high risk of going blind. TAdd to the clinical findings my family history regarding glaucoma on both sides of the family and I have an extremely high risk of developing it. My grandmother (father’s mother) had glaucoma and used the eye drops and had the laser surgery for it. My uncle (mother’s brother) has glaucoma and uses the eye drops for it. They were both over 60 when diagnosed, though. If I do develop glaucoma it will likely be well before that age since I’m not yet 30 at this point and have significant clinical risk factors already.
The opthamologist told me that using a computer too much can make the situation much worse. I basically ignored him. I have had bad floaters that having been consistently getting worse over the last few years. When I am pregnant they are really bad. That’s a sign that things in my eyes could be worsening.
I decided not to take my laptop with me to Utah. It would just be another thing I’d have to carry and I was already carrying a relatively heavy diaper bag and a nearly 26 pound little boy strapped to me in the Ergo so I left the computer at home. I set most of my blog posts to go up one each day before I left and figured I could use my friend’s computer for anything else I needed. As it turned out, some days I didn’t touch the computer and I was on it a maximum of 10 minutes a day the other days.
And I noticed something very interesting. After 4 or 5 days the floaters were significantly reduced. After a week my chronic eye pain was all but gone. After two weeks my eyes didn’t hurt at all. The opthamologist was right. The computer was making my eyes worse.
So now my time on-line is very restricted. I keep the brightness on my laptop about in the middle since that seems to hurt my eyes less than the all the way bright I used to keep it at. After about 30 minutes my eyes start to hurt. If I use the computer more than about an hour or so a day the floaters start coming back.
Hopefully with a little care and reduced computer time my eyes will hold up for many years to come. Hopefully the blind spot on my nerve is just something I was born with or caused by some incident and not something that will continue to get bigger. It seems pretty much a given that at some point I will develop full-blown glaucoma. Delaying that time is very important to me since the eye drops are a pregnancy class C and I may or may not have more children in the future and they aren’t the best things to use while breastfeeding and my kids nurse for years.
For now I am enjoying the reduced eye pain and lack of near constant floaters in my field of vision. Plus all the stuff I am getting done while not being on the computer!