Thursday, March 3, 2011


I visited my optometrist today. It's something I've done since I was tiny--just a toddler. When I was a child up through about 19, I went to Riley Children's Hospital for all my eye care. I was born with something called a coloboma. It's basically a gap in the formation of iris of my eye, causing part of my optic nerve to be very thin. For me, it mostly means that I am legally blind in that eye (the left eye). I can see, but it's very blurry, even with glasses. Here's a picture of a coloboma (not mine):

Incidently, John Ritter had a coloboma. So does Madeline McCann.

In addition, I also have a condition called heterochromia iridum. That means that my eyes are two different colors. My right eye is green and my left eye is brown. It's always been that way, at least since my eyes changed color when I was a baby. Do you know that Jane Seymour and Demi Moore have this condition, too? Most likely, the two conditions are linked, likely the heterochromia iridum is a side effect of the coloboma, but not everyone who has a coloboma has two different colored eyes.

So anyway, today I visited my eye doctor. She's all the way in Greenfield, which is about 45 minutes from Indy. My mom had an appointment too, so we went together, with Tyler. My mom does not travel on interstates. So it was a bit of a drive. I go to this doctor because she offers a service called OptiMap, an alternate to eye dilation. I hate HATE HATE having my eyes dilated. In case you don't know, this involves eye drops, which are evil. It also involves blurry vision and extreme light sensitivity for pretty much the rest of the day. I have had it done countless times, but as soon as I heard there was an alternative, I said "Sign me up!"

The alternate, OptiMap involves literally taking a picture of the back of the eye. I simply press my eye to the lens of their machine, receive a flash of green light, and presto! Instant view of my optic nerves, retinas, etc. Aside from the little green floating spots I see for a minute or so afterward, no muss, no fuss. So here's my right eye. I understand it's pretty typical of a "normal" eye:

And here is my left eye, the "bad eye":

The green light floods through to the back of my eye, in a keyhole-effect because of the part of my iris that never formed.

So my left eye is pretty messed up. And there's no fixing it. When a nerve is damaged, it can't be repaired. So my right eye has done most of the work for my nearly 29 years. It wasn't good to start with (in case you don't know, my entire immediate family needs glasses for various reasons) and has weakened over the years. My doctor told me today it's a good thing I wear glasses, if for no other reason than to protect my right eye. I am at a higher risk of retinal detachment in that eye. That wouldn't be good. I'd be a dangerous blind person.

It was a pretty uneventful visit, my prescription hasn't changed too much. I certainly hope Tyler takes after Adam, who wears glasses but has pretty decent eye sight. I think I might get lucky there...the kid can point out a McDonalds from a mile away!


Anonymous said...

I think he does get his eyesight from Adam, Tyler's cousins can point out a McDonalds from a mile away too!!

Noelle said...

That is a very, very interesting post! I couldn't help but notice how similar your condition is to my daughter, but she's only 6 yrs old. I guess it makes me feel a little better to know you are 29 and living a full life with the vision limitation. She is also legally blind but it's her right eye. She had a mysterious retinal detachment that we discovered at age 9 mos. It's also permanent vision loss but she, like you, doesn't know any better and her "good" eye does all of the work.

A Place to be Me said...

Noelle-There is no reason your daughter should be held back at all! I admit, I don't have good depth perception, but I get around that alright and the only restrictions on my driver's license are that I must have rear and side mirrors. It's a quirky little thing, but most people don't even notice it unless I tell them.

Anonymous said...

I too, have coloboma and heterochromia iridium and my left eye is brown right eye is green! So cooool. I've never really bothered with specialists or anything though. I've always just dealt with not seeing out of my left eye. It feels good to see other people like myself. I always felt like an out cast as a child.