On a recent Friday afternoon I noticed some shooting-star lights in my left eye, with neither Johnny Depp nor Richard Gere in sight. Sigh. So Tuesday morning, after a weekend of hope the flashes would go away, and worry that they didn't, I saw an ophthalmologist. I had, of course, gone online and read that the worst-case scenario was a detached retina (diabetes being unlikely and head trauma or recent eye surgery not issues), and was somewhat concerned about potential loss of eyesight. Of course, most of the letters on my keyboard have long since worn away, so I can already only type if I don't actually see the keys, but still -- I do some freelance editing, which would be tricky if I couldn't see.
So off to the eye doctor I went. It has been decades since I've done the whole ring-of-blue-light alarmingly close to my eyeballs thing, and just as long since my pupils were dilated, and although the experience wasn't as bad as I thought it might be, it wasn't what you could call pleasant. I think it was a little more comfortable than an alien probe would be, because the doctor was human and quite personable, but the machines were scary even so, and so were the thoughts about possible diagnoses and treatments and consequences that were going through my mind. There are times when it is Not Good to have a writer's imagination.
As it turns out, the flashes are due to the random parting of microscopic strands of the vitrious fluid from the retina. The flashes are the equivalent, the doctor agreed, of the momentary pain of spider-vein formation in the legs. No biggie, really, but highly annoying, and alarming until you know that it's not an indication of retinal damage. (That's for the flashes at the side of the eye. The formation of spider veins in one's calves doesn't ever cause a loss of vision, even if one does wish that people couldn't see them.) They will probably decrease in intensity and frequency, and until they do, I have to just deal with it. (I tried to convince Husband-man that the doctor said stopping at Five Guys would alleviate the symptoms, but as he was in the room when I asked if there was dietary change that would help, it was an unsuccessful ploy.)
But ... a couple of weeks ago, Husband-man and I and some friends went camping so we could lay out in a clearing in the woods and watch the shooting stars of the Perseid Meteor Shower. This we considered a wondrous experience, even sacred. Soooo ... I have decided to deal with the flashes of light in my eyes as similarly oooh-ahh-ish, and equally inspirational. Writers can find prompts anywhere, right? Maybe my flashes, as long as they last, they will prompt sci fi stories, or thoughts of miracles, or in their randomness highlight ordinary events as special.
And there's always the possibility -- do not tell me it isn't so -- that they will herald an unexpected appearance by Johnny or Richard!