I tucked my list into my purse and strolled to the grocery store to pick up some items for that evening’s supper. I wandered through the bright aisles, list in hand, stopping in front of the spice rack. I was examining prices of several brands of spices when a cluster of blurry lines appeared in my left eye, creating a cloudy blind spot – the labels disappeared in the little wall of sightlessness. I turned my head to use my right eye, feeling a bit like a bird as I tried to focus around the missing patch of sight. It was only a couple of months ago I had my six month visit with my ophthalmologist to make sure the Hydroxychloroquine was behaving; I was told there was no sign of the rare toxicity that could develop from the medication.
I finished my shopping and embarked on the short walk home, the undulating lines blocking out most of my peripheral vision. I approached a set of stairs and reached out for the railing only to find my hand flailing in the air as I tried to catch sight of it; ten minutes had passed since this strange blind spot invaded my eye. I arrived at my apartment, and after a few failed attempts, somehow managed to insert my key into the microscopic gap of my keyhole.
Once inside my apartment, the dark spot began to subside a bit. I had a magnetic Amsler Grid (a square-shaped grid with a solid dot in the middle) affixed to the door of my fridge. It was given to me by the ophthalmologist as a tool to check my vision for trouble spots. I covered my right eye and stared at the dot in the centre – the lines on the outer vision of my left eye were missing. I was baffled. This couldn’t possibly be toxicity from Hydroxychloroquine – could it?
I called my eye specialist to report the incident; I was impressed by the secretary’s ability to decipher my incoherent description of my sudden loss of sight; she said she’d call me back after she spoke to the doctor. The spot began to diminish moments after I called; within fifteen minutes, it faded away, devoid of all the drama of its arrival. My left eye had regained its full vision by the time the doctor’s office returned my call. I reported that everything was fine; the doctor’s advice was to “keep an eye on it”…
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J.G. Chayko is a writer, actress, and international arthritis advocate who’s been involved in theatre for more than 30 years and has published poetry, fiction, and creative non-fiction.
What a strange experience, J! A bit scary, too. Could this have been an optic migraine? I’ve had those, off and on, for years now–a crescent-shaped, zigzaggy visual obstruction that lasts anywhere from 10 minutes to a half-hour, then fades. This “aura” used to be followed by a nasty, sick headache, but I learned to take some Tylenol as soon as the aura appeared, and the headache was stopped before it could start.
I hope this was the first and last time you’ll be bothered by that blind spot. Sending hugs… 😉
Thank you Wren. It was a bit unnerving, to say the least. Mine wasn’t followed by a headache, so not sure if it was related to an optic migraine…but I’ll certainly be monitoring any strange changes in my sight. Thanks for the hugs 🙂
This must have been so terrifying for you. I recently had my check-up. Last time I was told I had the beginnings of macular degeneration. This time I was told my eyes are near perfect. Two different doctors, same practice. Makes you wonder. Your last sentence was hilarious, but do keep on top of it and if it happens again, don’t wait, go get checked asap. I’m hoping it won’t.
I am also hoping I won’t experience that again…as for that last sentence, that is exactly what the doctor’s office said to me, and I know it wasn’t meant to be funny, but I was quite amused by it. I’m glad to hear you had a report of perfect eyes and I hope that is the report you get for each check-up from here on in.
“Keep an eye on it.” lol classic.