Blog - Lightning
Lightning & Sandstorms

The last two weeks have been filled with changes – I decided to work fulltime at Hearthside Inspirations, I bought my first piece of land, and my dad had surgery. In the midst of all this, I was sitting on the back porch, watching the evening fade. The space station came over the mountains in the twilight. Out of the corner of my right eye I noticed what appeared to be bolts of lightning shoot through my peripheral vision. I chalked it up to the normal stress of change.

Blog - Lightning

The next day was filled with meetings and celebrations of being a landowner. We cleared a space for a fire pit on my new lot which involved some weed-whacking. We roasted marshmallow-covered strawberries and concocted smores with fudge-stripe cookies. The treats were great, but the best part was sharing stories around the fire on my own hunk of dirt.

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The next morning, Saturday, I woke up with floaters and what appeared to be a sandstorm in my right eye. I assumed that I had got something in it from the weeding the evening before, so I flushed it and went on a drive with my parents to see the lupin meadows at the head of Greys River. It was fun to hear my dad’s stories and learn of his adventures. The scenery was beautiful and calming.

Throughout the day, my vision didn’t clear. When I arrived home, I had Kathy look in my eye to see if she could see a scratch or debris that would account for the cloudiness in my eye. There was nothing. I took out my contacts and rinsed out my eye again. Still not better. Just in case, I opted to wear my glasses and purchased some drops that would help with dryness, allergies, and other ailments. Following the directions, I applied the drops. Over the next few days my vision didn’t change.

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The day after my dad’s surgery my vision still had not improved. I made a visit to my eye doctor, and they ran their battery of tests. The scan of my right eye confirmed why I was seeing the sandstorm – it was actually blood inside my eye! I had a retinal tear and needed surgery as soon as possible. Worst case the tear would let viscus fluid seep in behind the retina and the retina would then completely detach, leaving me blind. There are surgical repairs, but the procedure would be quite involved, and the recovery uncomfortable and lengthy. Best case the surgeon would seal the tear with a laser and prevent any further damage. I was told to NOT wait, not even until tomorrow. The longer I waited, the more gravity would be able to pull on the tear and allow more fluid to leak. We left immediately for the commute to the surgeon.

Long story short, I was blessed with a 20-minute tear repair. The dark room with continual blasts of laser light left me disoriented, but I will be able to see again – once my body breaks down the blood sandstorm still remaining in my eye. I appreciate the efforts of those who diagnosed me, aided me in receiving treatment, offered prayers, and heartfelt thoughts on my behalf. I have much to be thankful for.

On our regular visits to the eye doctor, we are told about macular degeneration and glaucoma, but hardly ever are told about retinal issues like tears and detachments. If you have an injury to your eye, a retinal tear can happen. Not so obvious causes are age, genetics, strenuous exercise, after a coughing fit, sneezing, vomiting, constipation, and severe near-sightedness. You can’t rub your eyes and get a tear. Stress does not cause a tear. There is no way to predict who might develop a retinal tear or when it might occur.

My advice is if your experience any symptoms to visit your eye doctor and follow their advice!

(see https://www.vrcny.com/retinal-care/retinal-tears-detachments)

  • Flashes typically look like little strands of light flickering across your visual field. For some patients, flashes may appear as a streak of light, a bright spot, a jagged line of lightning, a firework-like burst of light, or a camera flash.
  • Floaters typically look like small floating shapes across your visual field. Some patients describe these shapes as being similar to spots, squiggly lines, small shadows, and thread-like strands. In terms of color and opacity, they can be translucent or dark.
  • You may also experience a layer of darkness over your vision or blurriness. These symptoms may appear very suddenly or intensify right before a retinal detachment occurs.

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