Wednesday, February 10, 2010

I've Got What?

My husband is an optometrist, which means two things. First of all, as an optometrist he is qualified to do eye exams, treat eye diseases, remove foreign objects, prescribe glasses and just about everything else that doesn’t involve surgery. It also means that I’m like the shoemaker’s daughter who has no shoes. Let’s just say that scheduling an eye exam is much easier if you aren’t married to the doctor. Lucky for him, I don’t have a lot of eye issues.

Recently, however, I find my eyes to be more sore than usual. At first I thought it was just because I was tired but seriously, nobody could be that tired all the time so I mentioned to John that I thought I might have dry eyes. After a few days of nagging – I mean reminding – he brought home some eye drops that would help the situation. They did help, but since the drops were just in a sample container I quickly ran out and needed another bottle. Rather than “remind” him for days I decided that it would be quicker to just drop by the office and get some.

I managed to arrive at a time when John was between patients so he decided that he should look at my eyes to see if indeed they were really dry or if I was just imagining things. He didn’t say that of course, but I know that’s what he was thinking. So, I went to the exam room and let him put drops in my eyes that would color the tears. John says I complain more about this than any of his other patients. He’s probably right but I’m sure they are equally annoyed by said drops.

After a few minutes of shining bright lights in my eyes I hear what every patient loves to hear from her doctor; “Hmmm.” That can’t be good. “Hmmm . . what?” I say. John then tells me I have Epithelial Basement Membrane Dystrophy. “I have WHAT?” A list of questions flit through my mind but the fact that my husband isn’t crying tells me that it isn’t very serious. He’s very sensitive and believe me if there was something seriously wrong with my eyes he’d be crying before me. Of course, that’s because he’d know first.

John goes on to tell me that I can blame my parents because this is an inherited syndrome. My mother, by the way, refuses to take the blame. She either doesn’t have it, or isn’t aware that she does and since she has already messed with my medical history in so many other areas she is NOT willing to take responsibility for this one.

I asked for more details and John said I should look it up on the computer. (Like I said, shoemaker’s daughter syndrome.) I really need to warn him about suggesting to patients that they look things up on the computer. He’s not much of a computer wiz (HUGE understatement) so isn’t aware of the horrible things you come across when you look up medical issues on the internet. Tonight I ventured online to get more information about Epithelial Basement Membrane Dystrophy or EBMD as they like to refer to it.

EBMD is essentially like dry eyes but is really a spot on the outer surface of the eye that doesn’t attach properly to the surface below that. (I’m sure John could give you a much more technical description but it would take more space and sound much more doctor like.) Generally, EBMD doesn’t show up until after the fourth decade of life (thanks for that) and can be treated with a variety of medications. BUT, and this is my favorite part, if it doesn’t clear up, one of the treatments is epithelial debridement, which is essentially scraping off the outer layer in hopes that it grows back and attaches properly. Thanks honey, I’m so glad I looked that up. Doesn’t that sound like fun?

Somehow this reminds me of when I was younger and had just gotten my braces off. The orthodontist looked at me and said, “Now don’t forget to wear your retainer. If you don’t wear it your teeth will all go crooked again and we’ll have to start all over.” After five years of braces that was some good motivation.

I’m thinking that those eye drops John gave me are like gold. If I don’t use them, there could be some “scraping” in my future. This information does beg the question, “why wasn’t John crying?” Clearly, he doesn’t think it’s very serious; that’s all I can figure. But, to be on the safe side, I’m going to go find those drops.

2 comments:

Jami said...

I've had my eyes cut open and trimmed down with a laser. You'll be fine ;)

Anonymous said...

Let's hope you don't need any scraping! I'm sure this dry / cold weather doesn't help any either!
Erin