Wednesday, February 15, 2012

I Can See Clearly Now

That is actually a joke!  Optic neuritis is the inflammation of the optic nerve, the nerve that transmits light and visual images to the brain and is responsible for vision.  According to the National Multiple Sclerosis Society, 55% of people with MS will have an episode of optic neuritis. The symptoms of optic neuritis are the acute onset of any of the following: Blurred vision, Graying of vision, Blindness in one eye (rarely both).  Double vision, uncontrolled eye movements, and temporary blindness are also eye problems that most MS patients have one or all of from time to time. The sudden onset of double vision, poor contrast, eye pain, or heavy blurring can be frightening. 
Double vision may increase with fatigue or overuse of the eyes.  Blurred vision or Uthoff’s Symptom is usually the result of an MS patient getting overheated.  Dimmed or reduced color vision can be caused by optic neuritis, Uthoff’s Symptom or be heat related. Colors can seem washed out or faded, depth perception is off, and things are viewed as looking at a negative rather than a sharp picture.

Vision problems cause a lot of MS patients to fall.  Walking across the floor is hard because at times, the floor seems to be like waves and it is hard to decide where to step.  Going up and down an elevated walkway is another problem.  My body tells me I am going up, but looking at the ground my eyes tell me I am going down or walking on ripples. 

Reading is hard because the words tend to dance around the page at times.  Watching TV can be a challenge for the same reason.  Trying to cook often causes a problem because you cannot “see” the true color or shape of the foods you are trying to prepare.  It is hard to tell when to turn a food over, and often is hard to do so because the pan seems to be moving.

I say all this to try and get some people to realize that “you don’t look sick” is a cruel thing to say to MS patients, as well as many other people going through diseases and problems you can’t see. 

Many mentally ill patients are as sick as anyone, but you can’t see it to look at them.  There are not large swollen places, rashes, cuts and other outward appearances of a problem.

Many times one of us may have to reach out and steady ourselves by holding your hand or arm.  We are not trying to be rude or fresh with you.  It just seems better to us to try and steady ourselves rather than fall and possibly take you with us in doing so.

I think I will put on my rose-colored glasses.  It’s nice to think the world is a good place and be happy and carefree.  Who knows……. if enough of us wear them, it might catch on!!!!!!!!! :)

No comments: