Sunday, September 23, 2007

Mel's 411: Iritis (eye-write-us)

I've been jamming on books and college classes this past week, so I've neglected my blog. When I disappear for a while, you can bet something interesting has happened.

Last week on Tuesday, I got up 4:30 a.m. with blinding pain stabbing through my right eye. It was a familiar sensation I hadn't had in a few years. I found I was incredibly light-sensitive. Which also checked with previous experience.

I took ibuprofen and tried to go back to bed. The pain was nonstop. At 7:20, I gave up and called my optometrist. He's started working four days a week, but the trade-off is that he opens early and closes late.

Gary Wade is a friend as well as my doctor, and he took me right in. He looked at my eye and confirmed my fear that it was iritis. I've had it three times before, always in my left eye.

Iritis is an inflamed condition of the eye that causes chronic spasms in the eye as the pupil tries to close. It was almost the diameter of a needle (at least, that's what it looked like to me, but I was in pain and my eyes were watering) and shot through with red.

It's caused by something to do with the auto-immune system, but no one knows exactly what causes it. It can also cause blindness, which is scary.

More info for the curious (

Gary put drops in my eye to paralyze the pupil. It took 45 minutes to get it calmed down. The pain gradually went away. But my pupil was left dilated almost as large as the iris. I looked like one of those cartoon idiot/bad guys. One of my college students even told me I looked creepy. Just what I wanted to be: a creepy, old guy around college babes. That'll get me arrested. And looking an officer in the eye and protesting my innocence wasn't going to work.

Even worse, I needed to finish a book. But my right eye is my up-close working eye. I'm on monocular contacts. Needless to say, when your pupil is paralyzed, it won't focus. I spent the next few days trying to plug away at the computer and trying to do the Braille thing with my eyeball. It was hard.

Anyway, that's the exciting part of the story. A lot of people want to know more about me, so here's a link to a recent interview with me that I just found out about. If you're curious, go there and have a looksee.

If you have any questions, post 'em or send me email and I'll get to them.


Katie said...

Sorry to hear about your eye bothering you. It sounds very, very painful. :( But at least you've got a good doctor who gets you right in to get it taken care of. As for being a creepy guy around all those babes... well some girls like creepy so it can't all be bad. LOL! :)

Katie said...

Wow Mel, I'm reading through the interview and I knew you had a lot of books you worked on but I never realized that you worked on several at a time. WOW. And I didn't know you didn't drink. that is such a great interview!!!

Ron Simpson said...

You said in the interview that readers forgive.

Not Trek fans.

Mel Odom said...

Ron: sad but true. They just won't let things go! :)