Deborah Armstrong

Have you had your eyes checked lately?

Deborah's Diary

Yesterday, I had my bi-annual check up with my optometrist. My complaint was that my right eye felt “goopy”.
It felt like it was turning to jelly, but there was no discharge or visible sign of “goopiness”. It was just a feeling. Dr. Rick, my optometrist, knew exactly what I meant.

If you know me, You know that I hate having my eyes checked. It ranks right below visiting the dentist (which I do every six months with complaint – ask my hygienist). I feel as though I’m taking a test that I have no reasonable hope in hell of passing. Which is better? The first slide or the second? Which is clearer? This or this? By the time I’m half way through the exam, my eyes ache and I have a major headache. Every nerve in my body is screaming for me to escape.

Then out of the blue, Dr. Rick asks, “Do you have sleep apnea?”
“Not that I know of,” I answer somewhat surprised. “What makes you ask?”
“You always hold your breath when you’re looking at the charts. It’s a sign of sleep apnea.”
“Really? I hold my breath because I don’t like having my eyes tested.” I answered honestly.
“I bet when you’re at your computer, you hold your breath. You have to look away to get your breathing back in sync. You should get tested. I have sleep apnea,” he confessed. “When I had the testing done, I stopped breathing over 50 times through the night. Now that I have the breathing machine I sleep like a baby.”

I went home, a bit perplexed. My vision was fine. I didn’t need a new prescription. Dr. Rick gave me the usual tips — use hot compresses to open the tear ducts, take breaks from the computer and exercise my eyes. I didn’t think I’d have a diagnosis of sleep apnea. I told my husband, Philip, of my diagnosis. He laughed, the way he always does. “You don’t stop breathing. I hear you snore all night.” Snoring is a sign of sleep apnea, too, but he still doesn’t believe it.

So last night I went to bed, thinking about sleep apnea and my sick son who was spending the night at our place for some TLC. I don’t know who or what to blame, but I kept waking up all night. I would hear Richard get up. I would think I wasn’t breathing and then I’d wake up (at least it felt like I wasn’t breathing). Was it mind over matter? I don’t know, I’ll have to wait and see how I sleep tonight.

If you haven’t visited your optometrist or ophthalmologist lately, maybe you should. Your eyes can tell him a lot about you. Of course he can diagnose your vision, but it’s the other important things like high blood pressure, diabetes, liver disease, heart disease, high cholesterol and sleep apnea, to name a few.

Your eyes are the window to your soul and good health. Have them checked. Please.

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