Friday, March 18, 2011

Eye floaters

Growing old sucks. Big time.  But it’s nowhere near as sucky as the alternative, which is not growing old. I’d rather not, not grow old, thank you very much.

At least I don’t have the big bugaboos of aging: Alzheimer’s, incontinence and erectile dysfunction. And if I did I wouldn’t tell, 'cause some things are none of your business.

People tell me I don’t look my age, but we have mirrors at home. I can see the wrinkles and the flaccid muscles that were once firm and the gray hair and receding hairline. Friends who are my age keep sending out mass emails about how great it is to grow old and how good the good old days were, but they’re not fooling me (I refer you back to paragraph number one).

The body and the mind start to deteriorate at different times and at different rates for different folks. I know some people who are a lot older than I and don’t look it or act it, and I know younger people who appear to be ancient. Overall I guess I’m doing OK.

But I can’t dance or run or lift heavy stuff, and I can’t walk more than a couple of blocks without stopping to rest. With hearing aids and false teeth and glasses, and all the repairs to my heart (triple bypass and five stints) I have more replacement parts than a 1961 Volkswagen. It’s a wonder I don’t rattle when I walk.

The most infuriating of all are the damn floaters. Do you ever get floaters? Do you know what I’m talking about? Mine look like little black bugs that are larger than a gnat but smaller than a fly.  They hover in the air about a foot in front of my face.  Sometimes they move very slowly and other times they dart about like zippy little creatures. Usually I can see only one at a time, but sometimes there are two or three. The worst is when they come at me from the side, and I’m not expecting them and I jerk my head around. Sometimes I even reach out and try to swat them even though I know they’re not really there.

I don’t know if my eye surgery caused it or not. The doctors said not, but I never had them before and I thought it was strange how they kept asking me about them.  Before my cataract surgery the doctor asked if I got floaters. I said no. After the surgery he asked again, and again I said no. But there were other problems and he sent me to another eye surgeon for another surgery.  And of course the new doctor also asked if I had floaters, and I said no. And he asked me again after the surgery, and again I said no. It was almost like they were determined to keep trying until I got them. And I did. About a week after the second surgery the little buggers started taking up residence in my eyes. When I told the doctor he said there was nothing to worry about.

I went online and found this on

The floating specks you sometimes see in front of your eyes are not on the surface of your eyes, but inside them. These floaters are bits of cellular debris that come and go without treatment. To some people, these "floaters" look like spots. To others, they look like tiny threads. Most of the time they are nothing to worry about, but sometimes they can be a symptom of a retinal tear...

And from

Posted by Doodlesmgee: Getting rid of eye floaters is very simple. Are you ready for this? The answer is... stop paying attention to them. There is no sure fire way to get rid of them, no cure, and no treatment. The only time surgery should even be considered is if they cause pain when you see them. The annoyance felt when they fly through our vision is strictly psychological, and just means your brain's all powerful Ignore It powers haven't started working yet. The only thing you can really do is just alter your diet slightly to be more healthy for your eyes, such as eating lots of veggies and fruits. Also drinking a glass of red wine before bed, one glass mind you, not a bottle, is shown to be very healthy for your eyes and heart. Aside from that, the best thing you can do is find something more productive to focus your energies on.

Albert has floaters too. Albert is an 85-year-old former German pilot who was shot down in World War II and put in a Russian POW camp. Yep, he was the enemy way back then, but now he’s an American citizen who helped build the Space Needle in Seattle. Albert plays water volleyball with us at the Y. He said his floaters are so bad he sometimes doesn’t know which ball to hit.

I don’t want to be like Albert. I think I’ll try Doodlesmgee’s advice and just ignore them. I’ll also ignore all the crap about how good the good old days were.


Gae feher said...

I love this, Alec. You don't know me but I'm a childhood friend of Mimi and Gabi's!
And I agree with you - getting old does suck, but it sure beats the alternative, like you said! Kudos, friend. And hi to Gabi!! Would love to meet up with you guys sometime. L, Gae

Gabi Clayton said...

I would love to meet you again, Gae. You and your sisters and mom are the friends that I knew from longest ago that I have contact with now. As much as we moved as kids I didn't have 'old friends' like others do including Alec. Because of the internet I've been able to find you and a few others. Amazing!