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Weird eyes

I’ve been having some odd vision problems lately, and I’d sort of resigned myself to that common symptom of aging, and that I was going to inevitably need bifocals. So this morning I went in for an eye exam.

It turns out that’s not it at all — my eyes are healthy, no serious problems, but one of my eyes has gotten slightly better, which was causing some disparities that were bothering me. So no bifocals. New lenses to compensate.

Also, it was my left eye — which I prefer to call my sinister eye — which has grown more powerful. The little devil PZ dancing on my left shoulder is rewarding me for paying attention to him.

Now I have to get back to grading. Wait, that’s a reward?

Comments

  1. chigau (違う) says

    You need a piratical eye-patch.
    I don’t know which eye you should cover, though.

  2. says

    Also, it was my left eye — which I prefer to call my sinister eye — which has grown more powerful.

    Your sinister eye may grow more and more powerful until finally it can shoot an obliterating proton beam!!!!

  3. says

    My optometrist speculated that one eye seems to be optimized for best reading distance, while the other is optimized for computer viewing distance. I may be switching primary eye when switching between the two media.

    Neuroplasticity!

  4. Trebuchet says

    …one of my eyes has gotten slightly better…

    If you were significantly nearsighted, that’s probably an effect of presbyopia. I was 20/400 before and now hardly need glasses at all.

  5. numerobis says

    Now train your eyes so you can focus both on papers and computer screen at the same time.

  6. carlie says

    As someone who has developed glaucoma over the last two years, is now is getting a cataract (most probably due to the glaucoma treatment), and just had to get bifocals, I stare at you glaringly. And oddly. But mainly glaringly. O.o

  7. Moggie says

    Ouch, carlie, I know from family experience how glaucoma sucks. I hope the treatment is managing it well.

  8. Moggie says

    PZ, have you ruled out the possibility that you’re being repaired by nanotech? Have you spotted Raquel Welch on campus recently?

  9. moarscienceplz says

    Have you spotted Raquel Welch on campus recently?

    PZ’s gonna have one hell of a time passing the crushed shards of that submarine when it expands.

  10. says

    Now that you mention it, I have been seeing Raquel in a wetsuit floating around the edge of my field of vision a lot lately.

  11. David Marjanović says

    I may be switching primary eye when switching between the two media.

    Neuroplasticity!

    Awesome.

    I bring computer screens closer to reading distance. IKEA FTW.

    If you were significantly nearsighted, that’s probably an effect of presbyopia. I was 20/400 before and now hardly need glasses at all.

    Yep, like my grandma.

  12. says

    Oy, my eyes are all dilated and it hurts to look at the world right now…might have to wait a few hours before doing any computer stuff. Ouchies.

  13. carlie says

    (Moggie – thanks. Did the super dooper laser surgery, which didn’t seem to do much of anything (except foment a cataract, apparently), but it hasn’t gotten worse, so current management is “wait and see”, which I approve of because the side effects of most drops I’ve read up on are not pleasant.)

    PZ, have you ruled out the possibility that you’re being repaired by nanotech? Have you spotted Raquel Welch on campus recently?

    Or nanogenes – look for John Barrowman or David Tennant! :)

  14. says

    I’ve hoarded a big tank of squid. When society crumbles into a Mad Max dystopia, and I’m the only one with squid, you’ll all be sorry.

  15. Rey Fox says

    If you start to be able to see into men’s souls with your left eye, then it might be time to worry.

  16. peptron says

    About 10 years ago I started having bouts of depersonalization, and before knowing what it was I was certain that I was developping eye problems. What was worst is that no matter how hazy the world seemed, I could see details just as well as usual, and in fact felt that I could see them better.

  17. says

    “Oy, my eyes are all dilated and it hurts to look at the world right now…might have to wait a few hours before doing any computer stuff. Ouchies.”

    You didn’t have any sort of unusual mushrooms on your pizza, did you?

    Some people -pay- to have vision like that.

    Just chill, bro. Enjoy…

  18. Larry says

    Ask your eye doctor about mono-vision. It’s where you have your dominant eye corrected for distance and weaker eye for close-up reading or computer work. I’ve had for 5 years and I love it. It allows me to have 20/20 distance vision and yet still be able to read without having to wear reading glasses. It takes a day or two to get used to it but the brain adapts pretty quickly and you no longer notice one eye being blurry.

    Of course, you mileage may vary…

  19. Goodbye Enemy Janine says

    Bah. I recently got bifocals. Still getting used to objects moving in and out of focus. And getting the impression that huge stationary objects are somehow shifting in front of me.

  20. Gregory Greenwood says

    It seems obvious to me that your dedication to the Elder Gods is paying dividends. They are already employing their eldritch powers to modify your eyes to have greater visual acuity. Can tentacles and a mind-shredding aura of primal horror be far behind?

  21. playonwords says

    Are you sure your doctor isn’t called a cock-eyed Optometrist? …

    I’ll get me coat …..

  22. spontorder says

    do you attribute the visual improvement to better diet and weight loss (even if indirectly via lower blood pressure)? I lost about 30lbs and my vision improved 1 gradation too.

  23. says

    Have you considered the possibility of corneal swelling? My last eye appointment had one of my eyes as almost perfect because of it. As I’m sure you know, it’s a typical sign of diabetes, and somethin you might want to look out for.

    Of course you probably know this all already.

  24. swampfoot says

    I don’t know if this is really a legitimate caution, but two optometrists completely missed a case of macular edema that did not become apparent to me until one day, probably a few weeks after an optometrist’s exam (which I take frequently due to diabetes), I noticed a discontinuity in straight lines on paper. I then checked my vision on an Amsler grid, and sure enough, there was a pucker when viewed with my left eye.

    Went to the ER immediately, saw an ophthalmologist (an actual MD) who after about an hour of tests determined I had macular edema in both eyes. Subsequent optical coherence tomography and fluorescine angiography characterized the severity. Luckily it’s better now (Avastin injection helped a lot), but what a scare.

    However, it’s left me wondering, what flipping good is an optometrist for detecting retinal diseases if they don’t use any of the gear that an ophthalmologist uses to detect these disorders?

    p.s. – thank fuck I live in Canada, btw.

  25. David Marjanović says

    …Optometrist and ophthalmologist are separate specializations!?!?!

  26. swampfoot says

    #31 David:

    …Optometrist and ophthalmologist are separate specializations!?!?!

    Well in the U.S. and Canada, optometrists have not even been to medical school, but ophthalmology is a medical specialty entered after finishing medical school, requiring far more education.

    Kind of like the difference between a psychologist (which can be an undergrad degree) and a psychiatrist (a medical doctor)? Is that even an apt comparison?

    How do the classifications work where you are? I am always curious how other countries do these things.

  27. says

    In many places, an ophthalmologist is a specialized medical doctor, whereas an optometrist is a medical technician, but not a doctor. Apparently it varies with country.

  28. carlie says

    The practical application in the US is that the optometrist is who you go to to get a prescription for glasses and to get your eyes checked out for any diseases/bigger problems. If the optometrist finds something, they will refer you to an ophthalmologist for further diagnosis/treatment. Many opthalmologists do the jobs that optometrists do also, but you may or may not be able to use them for that depending on your insurance. For example, my insurance will only pay for an opthalmologist appointment if I have been referred to one by an optometrist. You can get a Doctor of Optometry degree in the US.

    (It’s sort of similar to the difference between a dentist and an oral surgeon)

  29. carlie says

    Oh – and an optician is just someone who helps you fill your glasses prescription that you’ve been given by one of the other two. :)

  30. nich says

    Well in the U.S. and Canada, optometrists have not even been to medical school, but ophthalmology is a medical specialty entered after finishing medical school, requiring far more education.

    I’m fairly certain optometrists are some flavor of doctor. They can prescribe, perform certain procedures, etc., etc., and have to complete four years of instruction upon finishing undergraduate studies and go through the same board certs as doctors in other fields. I think the relationship between optometry and ophthalmology is very roughly analogous to the relationship between dentistry and say orthodontics. Practitioners in both fields are considered some flavor of doctor, but one has more specialized training than the other.

  31. chrislawson says

    Optometrists are not doctors. They have their own training program, they generally cannot prescribe medications, and their specialty is refractive errors of the cornea…although with advancing photo technology they have had an increasing role in monitoring/screening for retinal diseases…but if they find a problem, say macular degeneration, they need to refer on to an ophthalmologist…i.e. a medical doctor who has gone on to specialise in the eye.

    Optometrist:ophthalmologist::psychologist:psychiatrist::radiographer:radiologist

  32. twas brillig (stevem) says

    I went through a similar “experience” recently. Always been near-sighted; ~20/40. After turning 40yo, started gaining far-sightedness (reading glasses are almost universally demanded at >40yo) updated my specs, back then, to gradient focus (modern form of bifocals). Recently complained that my glasses once again needed updating because even my “far vision” was giving me blurry views when looking at the moon. Opthamologist measured my eyes and told me my vision was now 20/10 and my then glasses were overcompensating and my eyes could not uncorrect the overcompensation. New lenses seem to have fixed everything (currently at least). When I asked him, “How could this occur?” His reply was just, “Sometimes it happens.” Sorry to not provide any hypothesis to explain PZ’s eyes, just wanted to let him (and me) know we ain’t unique. Happened to me too. The body is a complex machine with lots still a mystery. [but God ain't an answer (at all) to the mystery ;-) ]

  33. Sarahface, who is trying to break the lurking habit says

    My optometrist speculated that one eye seems to be optimized for best reading distance, while the other is optimized for computer viewing distance. I may be switching primary eye when switching between the two media.

    When I first got glasses it was basically for a (slightly weirder) version of this: one of my eyes was long-sighted, the other was short-sighted. So I didn’t actually notice anything unusual until my eye-test happened, where I was told that I was probably just switching between eyes for distance/close-up work, and that they wanted to give me glasses to make my eyes work together.
    Now I’m short-sighted (to different degrees) in both eyes, so I can’t do that any more.

  34. JohnnieCanuck says

    I can attest that diabetes will move your eyes from near-sighted towards 20/20. It is something to be checked out if you haven’t already done so. Your abdominal silhouette does put you in that risk category, like me.

  35. carlie says

    Knowing some people who are professors in an optometry school, and having been surprised at finding out from them how extensive the training is, I think part of the confusion about what optometrists do can be placed squarely on the heads of chains like Lenscrafters – they have to have optometrists on staff to get the prescriptions, but then it seems like they restrict the range of what they allow their optometrists to do down to just the basics. So all of us who have encountered optometrists in just places like that might have a skewed view of their skill sets.

  36. FossilFishy (NOBODY, and proud of it!) says

    As someone who was told that he fell into “The blind as a bat.’ category when screened for his driver’s license, and who now has reading glasses, I might just hate you PZ. I mean sure, you’re more intelligent, better educated, making more of a difference in the world in both your vocation and unpaid pursuits than I am, but this!? Damn you to the hell neither of us believes in. /green eyed rage

  37. says

    I have weird eyes. Taken as a pair, my eye-site is not bad. I have natural mono-vision: I see very well close up but poorly far away with my right eye; and I see poorly close up with but very well far away with my left eye. My left eye is also my dominate eye. AND my left eye wanders slightly to the left if I allow it to relax — it’s really only noticeable if I point it out and relax and you *really* look, and I have great control over it, but that control lessens if I am tired or not-sober. I also have a harder time focusing, particularly in the weird dusk/dawn hours when driving. I also tend toward double-vision if I allow my eyes to relax.

    I have fantastic peripheral vision in my left eye. FANTASTIC.

    The last eye doctor was wowed by the fact that my dominate eye wanders. That’s apparently not normal. And it’s a big reason, along with my natural mono vision, that my eyesight basically just stays the same. My weird eyes are constantly fighting with each other and that keeps ‘em from weakening.

  38. says

    Oh, and someone already mentioned asking your doctor to help you get mono-visions with contacts.

    I will never need that, ‘cuz my eyes do it naturally!

    I have no desire to wear contacts. None. I like glasses, and I like the way I look in them. I don’t have any now and can actually see just fine without them, but they make it easier to focus so I’ll probably get a new pair here soon now that I have health insurance again (thanks, Obama!).

  39. madtom1999 says

    Go a puppy a while back – now have to take it long walks in the rain where my glassed end up in a pocket. After not wearing them for a hour or so my eyes have improved considerably.
    I would recommend that if you do a lot of computer work get the biggest monitor and put it as far away from you as possible. When broswing the web use a large font (Firefox control+)
    Also look at the monitor out of the corner of your eye – if you can see flickering try another.

  40. Matt G says

    I tried to put on a pair of reading glasses last night. Problem is, I was already wearing a pair of reading glasses….

  41. Tigger_the_Wing, Back home =^_^= says

    From having perfect vision at all distances, I found my eyesight started to change to long-sighted in my forties. Distance vision was still perfect until about two years ago, when it started to become slightly vaguer; not quite fuzzy, very slightly misty.

    At my last eye exam, I was diagnosed with early cataracts.

    I should probably get bifocals, but I find it just as easy to have two different pairs of glasses – one for close-up reading (up to 18inches) and one for mid-distance (18 – 60 inches).