So, do you read xkcd? You should, if you don’t. It’s a delightfully nerdy webcomic. Today’s comic was this infographic about the visual field:
Fascinating, no? Well, it got me thinking about my visual field. My eyes are really shitty – they went south around third grade, and haven’t really stopped getting worse since then. So, a 20 year slow deterioration. No big deal, but they really decided to go for the gold beyond that. I’ve always had deposits of random crap on my optic nerves, which in my case affect my peripheral vision (thus, very clumsy). So, no peripheral vision – no big deal. BUT THEN, like four years ago, I got optic neuritis. My optic nerve in my right eye (previously my good eye) got all pissed off for reasons unknown, and parts of it never recovered – the resulting ischemia (lack of circulation) caused parts of the nerve to die, so now it’s like a TV screen with messed up pixels. This is what my central vision looks like in both eyes:
So, no peripheral in either eye, and yeah my right eye is basically effed. When this first happened, it was very confusing – I just CAN’T see a lot of what is right in front of my face. It was scary and weird. Now, my brain has largely compensated – it fills in the blanks pretty well most of the time to where I only notice it occasionally. I can still drive and play sports reasonably well, but I awkwardly miss high fives all the time, and I’m REALLY easy to sneak up on. Medically, it’s sort of fascinating because idiopathic optic neuritis is a HUGE risk factor for MS – something like 50% of folks who get it end up with MS eventually. That freaked me out for a long time, but at this point I have no other risk factors and there is nothing I can do about it regardless, so whatever. I haven’t actually thought about that part much in years.
So, that’s today’s interesting factoid.