Thursday, April 8, 2010

my eye! my eye!

While many things have happened to me in the past month, some of which I plan/hope to actually post about, I think I'll start with my most recent adventure. After thirteen years of wearing contacts nearly every day, I have finally messed up my eye! And now I have an ulcer. IN MY EYE. It is very traumatic.

Like a responsible person, I changed my contacts last Monday, 30 days after putting them in my eyes. This usually works flawlessly, and, indeed, everything seemed to be hunky dory. At least until Thursday. During my electronics class my left eye started to itch, and then hurt a little. I concluded that I probably had an eyelash stuck somewhere. A quick check in the bathroom revealed no small objects, so I went back to lab. After class, I went out for a drink. In retrospect, this was probably not the best idea. As I sipped on my rum and coke and tried to make polite conversation my eye became more and more painful. Since I was having a good time otherwise, and *actually* doing something social, I ignored the growing pain coming from the left side of my face. We finished our drinks around midnight, and I went home to remove my contact.

My eye was disturbingly magenta. But, I thought, it must be a ripped contact. That had happened before. Take out the contact, eye gets better. Very simple. Out came the contact, and to bed I went. My eye, however, did not stop hurting. It just got worse. Around 3 am I gave up on sleeping and took some painkillers. About an hour later I finally fell asleep.

I woke the next morning to a crusty, slightly less magenta eye that really did not want to open, and had convinced my right eye of the same. Around 9:30 I managed to type out an email to work on my iPhone. That may have been the most difficult email I've ever written. I had no contacts in, and only my right eye would open even a little. It was probably horribly misspelled and then auto-corrected to the wrong words. I hope it said something along the lines of "I think I have pink eye, will not be in today." Pink eye seemed so logical. I'd had it before, it hurt, turned eyes red and made the gooey. It being easter weekend, I resolved to go to the doctor on Monday for antibiotics.

First, however, I needed coffee. I love coffee partially out of pure adoration, but also because I am hopelessly addicted to it. I don't have a coffee maker (yes, I know this doesn't make much sense), so I decided to go to the coffee shop across the street. It was extremely sunny out, so I would be able to wear sunglasses, thus disguising my disgusting eye. In fact, it seemed, from peeking out of my blinds, to be incredibly sunny. That was all the better, I thought, as it would make my wearing sunglasses while actually inside the coffee shop less odd. I put on my sunglasses, and walked down the stairs and out of my apartment.

I have never experienced more blinding light. Thank goodness I was wearing sunglasses over eyes that had been narrowed to slits, or I would have fallen over. At the time I thought I had a really bad hangover from my single drink of the night before, and that the pain in my eye was masking my headache. Later I learned that extreme light sensitivity comes with eye ulcers! So I am not as much of a lightweight as I thought. I managed to dodge all the tourists and students out enjoying what, in reality, was probably a moderately sunny day and not the surface of the sun, ordered my coffee without acting too freakish and returned to my apartment to hastily consume my latte and then instantly fall asleep.

The next day my eye was much improved. I could mostly open it and it was considerably less red. However, it definitely still hurt. This was probably not pink eye. I went in to work to try to make up for part of the day I lost on Friday. After I set up my scene for rendering, I called my parents to chat while my computer calculated millions of photon bounces. Of course, I admitted that my eye was messed up. And, of course, they told me to go to my optometrist *immediately*. I said I would go on Monday. Clearly, that was not acceptable, so I called and, magically, there was an open appointment! In half an hour! So, I scrambled to the T, rode to Harvard Square, and learned, from my lovely optometrist, that I have an ulcer. In my eye. My eye!

So now I have to put antibiotic drops in my eye four times a day, and I'll be wearing glasses for at least a few weeks. I tried to use my old college glasses, but the prescription was a little too off. So, with the help of my parents and a buy-one-get-one sale, I am now the proud owner of a new pair of glasses *and* prescription sunglasses. I go back on Friday to see if the ulcer has healed, so that I can switch to steroid drops which should help reduce the scarring on my iris. Hopefully I'll also have an awesome picture of my eye with a white spot on it to show you.

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