A Poke in the Eye


Ever since the concussion, I have experienced changes in my vision.  My doctor decided to order additional tests to pinpoint the issue.  Earlier this week I had an appointment with an opthamologist.   Those of you who have experienced eye exams know about the dreaded eye pressure test to identify glacoma.  It’s called tonometry.

The eye pressure tests prior that I experienced prior to this exam were done by air puff testing. The pressure in the eyes is measured by noting the changes in light reflection as the air hits the eyes. The recipient of the test is asked to sit still and not flinch.  Air is then puffed into the eyes.  Inevitably, the recipient flinches.  The reflexive flinching can lead to mulitple applications of air puffs until an accurate reading is obtained.  Of course, by this time, the recipient is in a full case of fight of flight.  As the test is repeated, the recipient may begin to experience the desire to place the tester in the chair and puff something other than air at him.  Eventually, a good reading is obtained.  My examiner called the air puff, the “torture test.”  

This week, I experienced a new method (for me) of testing the intraoccular pressure.  This method is considered the most accurate.   The doctor tests the amount of force needed to flatten a section of the cornea to read the pressure in the eye.  Sounds charming: flattening a section of my eye ball.  The test uses a tool that looks suspiciously like an extra-large sharpened pencil.  Didn’t my mother warn me about situations like this?  “It’s only fun until you get your eye poked out.”  Well, this wasn’t fun anyway.  First, numbing drops are put in the eye.  At least I won’t feel it.  Once the drops take effect, the pencil-like- tool is pressed into an eye.  “Don’t blink.  Don’t flinch.  Sit still.”  Sit still and let someone poke me in the eye?!  It’s rather counter-intuitive.  I wear eye protection at the shooting range and sun glasses in bright light.  The idea is to protect the eyes.  Not poke them with foreign objects.  It’s almost like saying “I’m going to punch you really hard in the arm, but don’t move.”    It took a few tries but I eventually managed not to blink or flinch.  It’s not as bad as the air puff.

The remainder of the testing went without issue.  My far vivion has gotten worse.  It was perfect before the accident.  I also still have some visual field deificts.  Pity it’s not selective hearing field deficits.  That could at least be useful.  “Did you clean the litter boxes yet?”  (sorry, can’t hear you!).  I have testing next week to identify the severity of my visual field problems.   Hopefully, there is something to that can be done to help.  It may just be continued visual field work in physical therapy.

So, remember, sit still.  Here’s a poke (or two) in the eye!



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