The World Through a Bubble


I have a bubble in my eye.

My doctor jokes that I can use it to make sure the photos on the wall are level. He tells me that, eventually, it will dissipate and disappear.

It's easy for him to joke: He's the one who put the bubble there.

In his defense, he did it to help save the sight of that eye.

Once he did his work, then it was my turn. My assignment: Help the bubble in my eye do its job by lying on my right side for the remainder of that day and the five days that followed.

Essentially, the prescription called for a week of bed-rest. That prospect terrified me more than the procedure that would put me there - and that procedure involved sticking a needle into my eye.

Six days of inactivity? Of lying still? Sure, I could watch TV or movies - if I didn't mind that the image was sideways. But, essentially, I would be out of commission for six days. It sounded like torture - more so than having someone poke a syringe into my eyeball.

It started innocently enough, with a routine eye exam. It had been a few years and I felt like my glasses were no longer strong enough to provide the kind of visual acuity I sought. As a film critic, eyes are, after all, one of the tools of the trade.

For the previous month, I had noticed a floater in my left eye. That wasn't new; floaters are a fact of life as we age and the liquid inside the eye begins to dry out. What was unusual was that this particular floater would occasionally obstruct part of my vision when it floated into view. It seemed to have the grainy texture of those paramecium that you'd see through the microscope in biology class.

But at the end of my eye exam, after first checking my vision, then looking inside my eye, the ophthalmologist smiled and said, "It's remarkable that your vision is still so close to 20/20, because you have a detached retina."

This commentary continues on my website.