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 Motorcycle Safety
 Aging and Disabilities
 Eye Floaters, Retinal Tears and Detached Retinas
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D R
Advanced Member
1053 Posts
[Mentor]


Northern, Virginia
USA

BMW

R1200RT
Peer Review: 1

Posted - 03/02/2013 :  5:39 PM                       Like
Most if not all of us have noticed them. If you haven't noticed them yet, you will someday in the future. For the most part (and this is written in general terms.... not medical terms), eye floaters are harmless. They are the little specks which drift in your vision and cause shadowy spots. They are caused (in general) by bits of tissue within the eye breaking lose and drifting within the fluid of the eye. Overtime these floaters tend to go away and are nothing more than a nuisance.

However, eye floaters should not be completely dismissed. About two weeks ago, I became aware of a very, slight difference between the vision of my right eye and my left eye. The best way to describe the difference is with this analogy.

quote:
Picture washing two clear drinking glasses in the dishwasher. One glass comes out spotlessly clear and the other comes out with spots. The vision in my right eye was the spotlessly clear glass, while the glass with spots represents the vision in my left eye.


The difference between the two eyes wasn't much, but it was there.

Having noticed the difference in vision, I started to pay a little more attention to what I was seeing with my left eye. Other things I quickly became aware of included a significant increase in the number of floaters, as well as the size of the floaters. Additionally, I noticed what appeared to be lightening like flashes occurring in the outer periphery of my left eye. Lastly, I became aware of a semi-circular shadow in the lower left portion of my left eye.

Looking up all these symptoms on-line pointed towards a retinal tear or worse a detached retina. I went to my doctor who immediately sent me to the nearest emergency room. The ER used what equipment they had to examine my eye but didn't notice anything. However they set up an appointment with an Opthamologist. Upon attending the Opthamologist appointment, they scheduled me for immediate emergency surgery for a detached retina.

Detached retinas are often thought of as resulting from other eye trauma. However, that's not always the case. In my case, one of the floaters which separated from the back of the eye was large enough to allow fluid within the eye to seep behind the retina and start it detaching. Fortunately I noticed something was wrong fairly early on and was able to get treatment quickly. The prognosis for a full recovery is good.

Riding motorcycles relies heavily on vision to identify threats. Without good vision our risk increases. So while eye floaters generally are a nuisance, they can be a symptom of greater problems. By the way, the lightening like flashes occurred as a result of floaters separating from the retina.

(The doctor said I'm not to drive a car for about a week, but he didn't say anything about my motorcycle..... hmmmmmmm......)

Edited by - D R on 03/02/2013 10:17 PM

rayg50
Male Moderator
2082 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 03/02/2013 :  7:58 PM
quote:
(The doctor said I'm not to drive a car for about a week, but he didn't say anything about my motorcycle..... hmmmmmmm......)
D R thank you for the post. I hope you don't mind if I add my story to it.

A few months ago I noticed that my left eye was giving me a blurred sight picture while the right eye was sharp. I wear glasses so I went to have my prescription checked. I was put through a battery of eye tests. Both lenses had to have their power reduced. When the smoke cleared I had better than 20 20 vision in both eyes with the new glasses. That was the good news.

It turned out that the pressure in my eyes was high, possibly putting me at risk for glaucoma. The doctor said it was not known to be a cause but it was very often found to be present in those that have developed glaucoma (cause or symptom??). The subsequent eye exam showed that I might be showing signs of the beginnings of glaucoma. So I was put through some more tests. I have no peripheral vision loss and have good vision. I was given eye drops that I must take each night and they have succeeded in dropping my eye pressure to a normal range. One of the side effects, for me, is that they blur the vision. So now both eyes suffer from a blurred sight picture (like looking through very clear cellophane).

I had not had an eye exam in 6 years the records showed, back then eye pressure was normal. This visit was because I wanted to correct my prescription. I would encourage everyone to have a yearly eye exam even if you do not notice anything unusual (whether you wear glasses or not). Early detection of any problem carries no guarantees but it gives you the best chance at good results.

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D R
Advanced Member
1053 Posts
[Mentor]


Northern, Virginia
USA

BMW

R1200RT

Posted - 03/07/2013 :  12:38 PM
I now have a "built in" artificial horizon in my left eye.... (temporarily at least).

Part of the surgical procedure to re-attach the retina to the inner surface of the eye was to insert an inert gas bubble into the eye. The purpose of the gas bubble is to put pressure against the retina and help force it back into place. Over time the bubble shrinks, as it is absorbed by the body, and is replaced by the normal fluid found in the eye.

At the moment, the bottom edge of this bubble is sitting dead center in the middle of my left eye and subsequently, is very visible in my field of vision. The edge of the bubble is visible as a narrow black line running horizontally across the center of my eye. Just as in the artificial horizon found in airplane cockpits, this line remains perfectly horizontal in relation to the ground, no matter how I tilt my head (left, right, up or down).

Now if there was just some way to attach numerical indicators to this line, I could measure my lean angle in curves while riding.... assuming I was allowed to ride at the moment.

(..... I do not recommend this surgical procedure just for the purpose of obtaining a built in artificial horizon... )
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gymnast
Moderator
4263 Posts
[Mentor]


Meridian, Idaho
USA

Harley-Davidson

Sportster Sport

Posted - 03/07/2013 :  1:57 PM
"Now if there was just some way to attach numerical indicators to this line, I could measure my lean angle in curves while riding...."

Great idea.
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rayg50
Male Moderator
2082 Posts
[Mentor]


NYC, NY
USA

Honda

Shadow Spirit 750DC

Posted - 03/07/2013 :  6:47 PM
quote:
The purpose of the gas bubble is to put pressure against the retina and help force it back into place.
My mother had the procedure done. The end result was not as good as hoped but trying to keep her looking down so that the bubble would float up and exert "backwards" pressure on the retina was a bit of a loss cause.

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