Vision Problems – 3/18

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Vision troubles are often the first symptom of MS for many people. Onset of blurred vision, poor contrast, color vision and pain on eye movement can be frightening. That symptom should be evaluated promptly. During most of my exacerbations I would have blurry vision in one eye or the other.

I also remember during one of my exacerbations both of my eyes being blurry. That’s kind of scary because I’d read that blindness is a possibility with MS. Whenever I had blurry eyes I would usually get headaches, too. I assume that’s from concentrating too hard with the eye that’s not blurry. Blurry eyes can also make driving a vehicle tougher. Concentration is needed for that or you won’t be driving at all.

Here’s a personal vision story. It was the spring of 1991 and I was at practice for slow pitch softball. I was in the outfield catching fly balls. A fly ball was hit my way and I ran to catch it. My eyes were looking up into a cloudy sky and without warning I lost the flight of the ball. It seemed to disappear. I remember attempting to take a couple more fly balls and the same thing happened each time. I thought to myself how strange that was.

I needed new glasses anyway so the next day I made an appointment to have my eyes checked. I went to a Benson Optical the same week and had my eyes checked. After all the tests were done my eyes were fine and there were no problems. Now, I was really confused as to why I was losing the ball in the sky. I certainly didn’t have any answers?

The following week we had another practice and I was playing catch with a teammate. We were about 10 feet apart from each other. The first few catches were no problem but then my teammate threw a ball to me. I saw the ball leave his hand and then it disappeared! I stuck out my glove where I thought the ball was going to end up. Suddenly, I saw the ball again when it was about a foot away from my glove. I caught the ball, threw it back and when my teammate threw another one to me the same thing happened.

Wondering what was going on I decided to try one more time. Again, I lost the ball in mid-flight. My little brain started whirring. I remembered the week before when the ball was disappearing in the cloudy sky. I thought to myself could I be going blind? It was a hot sunny day so I must have lost the ball in the sun except we were only 10 feet apart and throwing lower. Could the two situations be related?

When these types of things happen to people I think it’s natural to think about what might have caused them to happen. I thought I must have blinked, the sun was in my eyes or glare off the parked cars caused me to lose track of the ball. It was crazy and really weird! I decided to throw the ball one more time to my teammate to see what would happen. He caught the ball, threw it back and again I lost the ball in mid flight. I then decided to stop before I got hit in the mouth!

After that practice I decided to go to a Pearl Vision Optical the next day. I wanted to see if the Benson optician knew what he was doing. My eyes were checked again by the Pearl optician and again nothing was wrong. The Pearl optician had listened to my story and symptoms and thought for a minute. He suggested if it continued I should see an ophthalmologist (that’s a doctor of eyes and that’s really how you spell it, I looked it up). lol

The next day I scheduled an appointment two weeks later at an ophthalmologist close to where I lived. For the third time my eyes checked out perfectly. There was nothing wrong with my eyes but why did I have those problems at softball practice? After hearing my symptoms the ophthalmologist suggested I see a neurologist. It was then that my multiple sclerosis journey began.