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Of Flaming Eyes and EKGs

Posted Tuesday, June 14th, 2011 6:38:00 pm
Last year at this time I got some fairly surprising news about the health of my eyes, namely Posterior Vitreous Detachment, or PVD, in the right eye. Fortunately nothing ever came of that aside from annoying blind spots coming and going in various places in my vision. I actually had the same thing happen in my left eye over the course of the past year without the fireworks I had in my right eye.

I had my annual eye exam scheduled for last Friday. The Tuesday before, one week ago today, however, I had to take a day off from work to deal with a mild ear ache. Nothing I'd normally go to the doctor for, but Kathy and I will be taking a vacation to Hawaii soon, and I didn't want anything to go wrong. Turns out it was just excess wax.

They took my blood pressure before and after removing the wax. Before, it was 164/114. Waaaay over normal. After it had come down to 140/94. More acceptable, although still high. I got the diet and exercise lecture, and thought little more of it.

Which brings us to the eye exam on Friday. The University Eye Institute is a place on campus at the University of Houston where students learn by doing the exams themselves, and then have an instructor check their work by doing the same exam again. Kathy and I like the fact that this basically results in two sets of eyes looking for bad stuff.

And, this time, it paid off.

The student didn't find anything. In his defense, they were expecting a normal eye exam, and then I hit them with "hey, I've got PVD and have had a few minor spots in my eye since". So when the instructor came back in, she looked in there and almost immediately began rattling things off. Microaneurysms. Flame-shaped hemmorrhages. After a few more tests, Hypertensive retinopathy was the diagnosis, and spiking blood pressure the probable cause.

All I wanted was a new prescription for lenses. And now I've got flames in my eyes.

Wait a second... How cool is that! Fiery eyes! That's way better than being a pirate.

So today, I visited with my doctor again, with the blood pressure running at 146/110. With the readings they have taken plus the changes in my eyes, it's become official: I have high blood pressure. They're screening for other things just to be safe, with EKGs, blood samples, and an ultrasound.

I really shouldn't be surprised. It runs in the family, so it was very likely I'd end up with it at some point or another. The best thing is that nothing serious has happened, and now I can take steps to keep the blood pressure under control. And I'm sure a trip to Hawaii won't hurt, either.

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