So, today was my annual eye doctor visit. For most of the world this is EASY PEASY! If you are living “at risk” for Huntington’s Disease this may mean something entirely different. Most people in this world go to the Optometrist for contacts or eyeglasses. Eye doctor visits are normally not much of a dreaded event. If you are “at risk” for HD you know that they say many doctors can look at your eyes and they know whether you have the disease or not. This is enough to send me over my daily allotment of anxiety for the entire week.
From my personal research I know that eye movements are abnormal in most HD patients and can be one of the earliest symptoms for the “at risk” category. I know that REM (Rapid Eye Movement) can be abnormal. I know that vertical and horizontal saccades are slow. A saccade is a fast movement of the eye. Saccades are quick, simultaneous movements of both eyes in the same direction. Vertical is up and down and horizontal is side to side. So, with this information I always ask the doctor if he sees anything abnormal from his standpoint. So far, I have never been told that I do.
I go to the eye doctor because in the past few years my “up close” vision keeps getting blurrier and blurrier. I have to wear eyeglasses when reading, working on the computer, or wanting to see anything up close. I have also noticed lately that my “far away” vision has been getting a bit worse. My “far away” vision has always been spot on. This whole eye thing drives me crazy in general because I have never needed glasses and always had spot-on vision. So, the fact I have to go the eye doctor at all just drives me batty!
I know, I know. Let’s get me back to the fact that I said I went to the eye doctor today. As I went back all I knew was that I needed glasses but more than that I wanted her to do the test to look at my eye movements. How strange is this? I should’ve been more focused on picking out my new glasses but I was more focused on getting called back and talking to her about my other “concern.” She was very nice. As soon as I mentioned the Huntington’s Disease she wanted to tell me that she rarely gets people in with it or at risk for it. She said she has a cousin, who is not blood-related, that is currently battling HD. Needless to say, we hit it off quickly. I told her what I knew about the saccades being slow and she tested me three different times. She wanted to assure me that there are machines that can pick up the very beginnings of this but she could definitely tell me if she saw a “gross” eye movement problem. I followed her pen left, up, right, down, left, right, up, down. We repeated it. Then we repeated it again. She looked at me and said she saw nothing at this time. Whew, bullet dodged this year! A small HD victory in my mind. Yes! She then said let’s talk about your prescription. Oh, I almost forgot I came here for glasses!
So, all in all it was a pretty good day. Only one more year until eye doctor anxiety repeats itself!!