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Altered Vision

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:53pm
My vision has changed since MS first attacked. It has changed several times on several levels since I first got sick.

First, there was the vertigo that came with my first exacerbation. During that time, I saw the room crooked. Everything looked like it was at an angle. Over time, it got worse and before I went to the ER for the second time there was a day I could barely see at all. I also saw double of just about everything. When they went to dismiss me from the ER the seond time the doctor had two heads. I told him this and he became the first person to suggest that I might have MS.

The first time I saw the neurologist my vision was terrible. I could not see things in my periphery and everything was blurry. My eyes never stopped fluttering. Needless to say, I didn't drive for over a month when my vision was terrible.

While my external vision was at its worst, my internal vision was at its best. I had to change the view on my computer just to type and prop my head up on pillows but the writing that flowed out filled me with clarity, even while I could not clearly see the screen in front of me.

When I went back to the neurologist after taking steroids, my vision was beginning to clear but my eyes still fluttered around the periphery. I suspect that they still do.

My vision has changed many times since my diagnoses. Sometimes all I can see is what is beautiful in others. Sometimes I can see what is beautiful in me. Other times, I can only see my flaws and those apparent in those around me or in our world.

My vision of myself has certainly altered. I can even see a difference in the mirror. At times I literally cannot see the details of my face at all. At other times if I look closely I can see new details in my face. I look older around the eyes. Sometimes I look really sick and tired. It seems it takes more work for me to look good and I find myself loathe to even exert the effort to look less worn and tired.

It seems I cannot focus the way I used to both with my eyes and my attention. I tire easily. My eyes don't want to focus on anything that is not directly in front of me. I don't see things well when I first look at them. I must force myself to focus. Things in my periphery startle me. I see shadows of activity but I am uncertain what they are. When I change my direction, I must allow time for my eyes to adjust or I get dizzy and see a blur. Driving seems ok but I worry about being cut off by someone from the side who I don't see well. There are often little blind spots in my vision.

I wonder at times if I am just imagining these shifts (the external, not the internal which is very real) but they seem to be happening more frequently. It seems that working causes the need for me to shift my vision more often than vacation did. I find myself getting dizzy and headachy. My neck hurts. This weekend I found myself dizzy for nearly two days. There seems to be little cure for this except sleep. After sleeping 12 hours, my dizziness faded and yet my eyes still feel strange and exhausted. There is now an almost continual pressure behind my eyes and in my skull. While I labor with the external changes, the internal changes continue. I look in the mirror and wonder about the woman I see.
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