Sunday, May 16, 2010


I was getting out of the car at Rite Aid the other day when I suddenly saw out of the corner of my left eye what looked like the paparazzi taking flash pictures of me.

The only problem was no one was there.

When I went into the pharmacy, the flashing got worse. Lightning bolts seemed to shoot across my eye in rapid succession. I even had trouble concentrating on the greeting cards I’d come to buy. Every time I tried to read the sentiment on the inside of a card, the disco-like strobe lights in my eyeball flashed right over the words.

“Birthday wishes straight from the heart. How does it feel to be such an old…(flash!).”

I decided that unless I wanted several of my family members to disown me, it might be a good idea to wait until I actually could read the cards before buying them.

The minute I got home, I rushed over to my computer and looked up the causes of light flashes in eyes. The information said it could be just a harmless nuisance caused by aging…or a detached retina that could cause blindness within three days.

Needless to say, the information did little to ease my mind.

Perhaps it was just a coincidence, but the night before the flashes of light began, I had used this new face-firming gadget I’d ordered online. It featured infrared lights and two conductors that produced little electrical shocks that stimulated the muscles to contract and tighten. The directions said the device could be used around the eye area.

Well, I don’t know what happened, but when I used it around my left eye, it gave me a jolt that was the equivalent of licking my finger and shoving it into a light socket. My face stung all night after that.

Could I, I wondered, possibly have electrocuted my retina while trying to lift my droopy face?

Tired of trying to figure things out on my own, I finally got brave and called my optometrist. She said to come in for an exam the first thing in the morning.

All that night I worried.

“You’re worrying over nothing,” my husband said. “It’ll turn out to be that your eyes are just drying out from old age. Maybe they’re like hot flashes…but only in the eyes.”

The thought of having shriveled-up, menopausal old eyeballs didn’t make me feel any better.

The first thing the optometrist did was dilate my pupils. She then set to work examining every nook and cranny of my eyes.

I strained to hear any sounds she might make, such as “hmmm” or “uh-oh!” but she remained silent throughout the exam.

“You have blond eyes,” she finally said.

I had no clue what that meant…especially since I’m not a blonde.

“Does that mean my eyes have black roots?” I joked.

“It means they’re really pale, so it’s hard to see anything that’s light-colored,” she said, “like a hairline tear.”

She did, however, say that as far as she could tell, everything looked fine and healthy…at least as far as my eyeballs went.

That’s when I told her about the torture device I’d used on my face and eye area. Her eyebrows rose.

“Hmm, that’s very interesting,” she said, scribbling something on my chart. I wondered if she might be writing, “This dimwit electrocuted her eyeball and now is wondering why she’s seeing lightning bolts.”

She told me to come back in a week for a follow-up, and in the meantime, if the lightning bolts got worse or were constant with no rest in between, or if I could still see them while I was relaxing and being a couch potato, to call her immediately.

I’m hoping that the flashes are going to stop just as suddenly as they began…that is, unless I decide to give myself another face-firming treatment. And to be honest, I’ve seriously been considering it. I think I might be able to put up with a few lightning bolts streaking across my eyes if I can get rid of my turkey neck.