April 6, 2012: Tortuosity And Dark Matter!
Two intellectuals contemplate.

Every year, when we were kids, my father used to put my sister and I through the holy trinity of medical check-ups: dental, optical, and general health.  Of the three, our local ophthalmologist was the only one I actually looked forward to visiting.  There was no pinching, no prodding, no poking – just some reading, visual puzzles, and always a hearty and much-appreciated congratulations on my 20/20 vision.  And that’s something I’ve always been proud of.  While many a friend and co-worker has struggled with contacts or corrective surgery, I’ve never had cause to complain.  I’ve always had perfect vision.

Until last year when I noticed I was having trouble reading at night.  I chalked it up to the heavy stress I’d placed on my eyes since the move to Toronto – endless hours spent on my laptop, reading and re-reading scripts and notes.  But, just to be on the safe side, I made an appointment to have my vision checked.  Boy, eye exams have come a long way since I was a kid.  Sure, there were the old standbys like the miniscule line reading and the progressively improving/deteriorating lens symbols (“Better or worse?  How about now?  And now?”), but some new tests had been added to the line-up since my last visit (Oh, twenty years ago), tests involving wonky glasses, bright lights, air puffs and eye drops.  The results?  I needed reading glasses.  I received my prescription, picked out a fashionable pair and equally fashionable eyeglass case, then brought them back home where they sat in a drawer for five months until I finally took them out – and packed them in a box and shipped them to Vancouver where they’ve been sitting in a drawer since this morning when I brought them along for today’s visit to a Vancouver ophthalmologist.

I put on the wonky glasses, had puffs of air blown into my eyes, read tiny letters aloud, stared into a light, commented on the progressively improving/deteriorating visual quality of certain symbols, and got stinging eye drops.  The results?  Yep, still need those reading glasses. Also, it would seem that I have tortuous blood vessels in my eyes. Huh?  The blood vessels in the back of my eyes are all squiggly.  Oh.

So what the hell does that mean?  Well, 82% of tortuous (squiggly) blood vessels are the result of genetic influence.  Nothing to worry about.  As for the other 18% , well, it’s  a mixed bag of possible causes: elevated cholesterol, high blood pressure, diabetes, and a central retinal vein occlusion.  Oh, also something to do with arterial blockages in my neck.  Y’know, come to think of it, the Toronto ophthalmologist mentioned the same thing last year but hadn’t seemed all that worried considering I’d just aced my annual physical the previous month.  Of course, my blood pressure had plenty of occasion to rise during those intervening four weeks.

Anyway, just in case, I’ll be following up with my GP.  Friday, April 20th, I’ll be pinched, prodded, and poked – and, I’m sure, ultimately told to keep doing what I’m doing: exercising, eating plenty of fruit and fish, drinking plenty of green tea, and snacking on dark chocolate.

In the meantime, considering I’m on my laptop the greater part of my days and reading the better part of my nights, it looks like I’m going to have to make a concerted effort to make better use of my reading glasses.

Hey, speaking of reading, I’m sure you’ve all been following my SF comic book series, Dark Matter, and are anxiously looking forward to the fourth and final issue of the opening arc.  It hits the shelves on Wednesday.  Here’s a sneak peek of the first couple of pages:

April 6, 2012: Tortuosity And Dark Matter!

April 6, 2012: Tortuosity And Dark Matter!

26 thoughts on “April 6, 2012: Tortuosity and Dark Matter!

  1. Very cool on the glasses. We just got my older son’s eyes examined after an almost two year gap. Of course, his vision had changed. 🙂 Since he’s playing baseball now, we got him two pairs—one regular and one for sportswear. The sports glasses look cool!!!

    Can’t wait for the last issue of Dark Matter.

    Have a great night!!!

  2. Heya Joe, you look even more distinguished with the glasses.
    You and your companion – can’t tell if it is Jelly or Bubba – just look so refined and dignified in your contemplation of world domination or a feeding which ever comes first.

  3. Glasses r sexy ! Been wearing them since age 3.
    After looking at pocs of your food intake, I’m intetested in what your cholestetol is ….LOL

  4. You poor thing! I’ve always found going to the eye doctor worse than the dentist because of those stupid eye drops (well, except for the braces years). Starting in junior high, I had to get glasses, but wonders of wonders, my eyesight corrected itself by college so that I no longer have to wear them. I’m fairly sure I’m the only grad student in the department who doesn’t have glasses or contacts. But, I figure they’ll get back at me any day considering how much staring I do at computer screens for work and fun. I’ll probably end up with bifocals by 30.lol

    All that rambling aside, I like your glasses! They’re very modern.

  5. Just had an eye appointment last week. Managed to dodge the dilating drops this time, but not the puffs of air (which always make me flail back in the chair in a panic). But hands down, the worst part was the waiting room, where they play a video detailing every horrible, terrifying thing that can possibly go wrong with your eyes. Meaning my over-active imagination has all kinds of new material to focus on between now and my next appointment.

    For what it’s worth, the glasses do look good on you!

  6. G’day Joe

    You old fart you!!!

    Yep I been wearing glasses since age 11.

    BTW…you do look sexy with them…just sayin’

  7. Nice glasses, Joe! I’m enjoying the sneak peaks for Dark Matter – keep ’em coming!

    Hey, have you read Ready Player One yet? I think you’ll like it.

  8. Are you sure you and the dog (Jelly/Bubba) aren’t wondering if that is a spider on the ceiling?

    Looking forward to Dark Matter 4. Not reading your stinking spoilers. I am already sad Dark Matter 4 is the final copy written. Don’t just stop there. Are you going to continue the paper comic? I really like the story and think it would make a great series. Keep pushing it. Good luck!

  9. Welcome to middle age 😉 I beat you there. 🙂

    Growing up I’ve always had 20/10 vision, then hitting my late 30’s it dropped to 20/15. Then about two years ago I started to notice that I was having trouble reading small text, so I finally broke down and visited the ophthalmologist and as you can probably guess I needed reading glasses. My distance vision is still 20/15, it’s just that anything closer than 3 feet starts getting blurry.

    It was also getting hard to “scan” the instruments quickly while flying, so I had the Ophthalmologist make me a pair of blended bi-focal “flying glasses” with no correction on top blending to my reading prescription on the bottom. I thought that I’d only use them when flying, but they’ve come in handy in so many situations that I now wear them most of the time. Maybe such a blended pair could help you in your transition into the four eyes club?

    I’m waiting anxiously to be able to purchase and download Dark Matter #4. I wish Dark Horse would allow for digital pre-orders…it would make the whole process a lot smoother.

    Have a great weekend!

  10. Getting ready to go out of town so I will miss daily reading til Monday.

    I was pissed. I went to get Dark Matter for my Kindle. I was pissed because (A) it isn’t available and I had stupidly assumed the person saying they got it digital meant it was in all formats, and (B) because I am an IDIOT and I do not want it on my Kindle since it is not color type so I have to order when I get back. On the other hand, I’ll get them all 4 at once and that’s good, no waiting. Sigh. Just my luck, never interested, get interested, can’t wait, have to wait.

    If all you need are reading glasses, you are in good shape. I am progressively getting blinder, my new computer glasses not good now after much less than a year (before minimal changes in TWO years), and need new driving glasses too. Old age ain’t for sissies, you know. Take these early blips as warning shots and handle with grace and humor. You’ll need it. Aren’t I cheerful?

  11. I’ve worn glasses since age 12, and needed them long before that. Two very different distance visions, roughly 20/150 and 20/400+. Yes, the big E on the eye chart is fuzzy. Then I needed bifocals, which are horribly expensive to make with the two disparate vision fields… and yes, both eyes do not see the same close up. The right eye works fine inches from my face, while the left needs to b at arm’s length.
    Screw that. I read with one eye, use the computer with prescription readers, and wear single vision sunglasses which don’t quite work when I’m out and about. I do wear my regular glasses for TV and movies now and then. The rest of the time, I let the world melt into soft focus. Who needs HD? Not me.

  12. Been crazy busy.

    Firstly, however, a little story. I did a little bit of MDing yesterday morning in a spot I’ve gone before because, though it’s isolated, it’s not TOO isolated. It’s a parking area on dead end street that opens to a waterway, trees all around but houses about 2-300 yards away, and some traffic (people who come and park for the view, or whatever). So yesterday I’m out there alone, and this dude drives up in a truck. Nice looking fella, chatty, asked me if I had found anything. Told him just a few pennies (as I moved a bit closer to my car), and when he kept talking, I said that maybe I shouldn’t be talking to him (as I moved closer to my car), and he said it was okay, and he flashed a badge and said he was a fireman (like that makes a difference), and I flashed my bigass digging knife and said I’m armed (like that makes a difference). Well, I kept my distance, and he kept leaning out his truck window, puffing away and chatting. I mentioned a couple well-known cops from his supposed fire district, and he didn’t seem to recognize their names. Hmmmm. I tried to talk about MDing, he wanted to talk about the quiet location…

    Still, he was keeping his distance, and my car was riiiiiiiiiight there. Plus, I had my bigass Crocodile Dundee knife.

    Then we got to talking about litter bugs and fires. There was a forest fire up the road, and I made a comment about tossed cigarettes causing fires, and he said that doesn’t happen very often, blah, blah, blah. Meanwhile, I was picking up trash while detecting, and tossing it in the trash cans, one eye on the dude, of course. Finally I figured I better get the hell out of there, but not before making one more trip to the trash can. Well, as soon as I got to the can, he gets out of his truck. Now he’s between me, and my car. My neck snaps around, I grip that bigass knife, and move at a 45 degree angle away from him and back to my car. He said he was just tossing his cigarette in the trash, and made a comment about how fast I reacted when he got out of his truck. By now I had walked sideways back to my car (Sean and Gus crab walk! 😀 ), stowed my detector, grabbed my cell and keys, and kept my eye on him as he drove away (funny how he suddenly wasn’t so friendly at the end).

    I watched the direction he went (down another dead end street) and I did call the cops, but I didn’t get his tag number because I only saw the front/back of his truck as he drove away, and at that point I wasn’t thinking about his license). I honestly don’t think he was a danger, but maybe just a friendly guy who came across the wrong way, or – more likely – a dude looking for a free and easy piece of ass. Now, he was very handsome, and I’m old and fat, but I’ve seen enough episodes of COPS to know that good-looking guys everywhere have no problem hooking up with old, dirty, toothless methed-up prostitutes, so I figure by those standards I’m practically a runway model!

    Anyway, I am counting my blessings that nothing bad happened. I am going to check with the fire department he mentioned to see if he is, in fact, a local fireman. However, I never bought into that part of his story (he might be a fireman, but not for that department). He told me his name, so we’ll see if that was good, or not.

    In other news, just really busy with work, and church. If all goes well I also have a friend visiting next week, so getting ready for that, too.

    Really looking forward to Dark Matter, Joe…you just better not break my heart. And about those reading glasses. A caution…

    Once you start wearing them, you may never be able to NOT wear them. I held off until about a year ago, and finally broke down and started wearing ‘cheaters’. Now I can’t see anything!

    Of course, I have crap eyes – right eye correction is -9.75, with -.75 cylinder correction for astigmatism (015 axis), and my left eye correction is -8.50, with -2.00 correction for astigmatism (150 axis). Without contacts or glasses I can’t see a thing – my ‘clear vision’ (without correction) is only about 1-2″ from my eyes. I started having trouble reading (especially in low light), but I could deal with it. Then, I just couldn’t. Couldn’t read labels on boxes at the store, couldn’t read books, couldn’t read labels on medicine bottles. So, I started using the cheaters…and now I can read those things, but only with the cheaters, and when those come off, everything seems more blurry to me. (Have had no problem with the computer screen yet. I guess because the letters are larger, and there’s so much light, so I don’t need glasses to read from it.)

    Anyway, I hope the cheaters are not screwing with my myopia. I’m already blind enough, I really don’t need things to get any worse (and no, not legally blind since my eyesight can be corrected with lenses…but if there were no eyeglasses or contacts in the world, then, yeah…I’d probably be ‘blind’).

    So, I hope that makes you feel better, Joey! You’re eyes are perfect by comparison! (I also have floaters and ‘spider webs’ in my eyes – doctor says it’s because my myopia is so bad and my eyeballs are so oblong that it’s signs of a detaching retina – yay!!!! 😛 )

    I figure I’ll be blind by 60 (if I live that long). Guess that’s why I love taking the time to look at animals, and sunsets, and oceans, and fossils, and ships, and all the pretty boys now – I know soon they’ll just be shadowy images in my dreams. 🙁


  13. Have to agree with Debra and Kriss, it’s called getting old Joe. Be glad it’s just reading glasses for now.

    In my case, I required distance viewing help starting in my late 20’s, progressing to the addition of reading glasses for close-up. The last several years, I’ve been using bifocals. Which are difficult to become accustomed to, trust me. Too many instances of falling “up” stairs and stumbling about.

    At least you are escaping wrinkles and age spots from what I can “see” in your recent contemplation photo. Let’s see how long that lasts! 😉

    BTW, wish you would not move to L.A.. Bad air, congested roads, idiot drivers, water shortages, earthquakes & fault lines, fires, mudslides, violence, etc. Stay in lovely Vancouver.

    2cats @ the Jersey shore
    (getting “older” by the minute… and feeling it)

  14. Yes, I do owe you corn tamales, because we failed to find them in San Diego! I do, however, know where to find excellent ones in the L.A. area.

  15. Funny you should mention ophthalmologists. I just went to have my eyes checked since it had been a little over two years since I last did. I’d been putting it off for the last 6 months, well it turns out after all that procrastinating I went in only to find out that they didn’t have a ophthalmologist.. But were interviewing for a replacement.
    Back I go to procrastination, I like to think of it as waiting for the right time.

    Have a great Easter everyone.

  16. @ das – oh my gosh, that is a scary story!!! Look here young lady!! It is too dangerous for a girl to go by herself anywhere secluded like that. You are exactly what a perverted guy out trolling around is looking for…someone alone or lonely looking. And wasn’t Ted Bundy suppose to be a good-looking, normal looking guy? He went out looking for just the right opportunity. In today’s world, unfortunately, you just have to be cautious. Take someone with you next time. Your husband can sit in the car and read the paper. Thank God you are okay and nothing happened!!

  17. I also had perfect or even 20/15 vision until my mid-40’s when I got the classic near-focus issues. I resisted the reading glasses as long as possible, because the doc said once you start using them, your eyes get weaker. But finally when I couldn’t read a menu or my own watch anymore… I had to give in. Now I need them to read anything, and I have all those old-lady habits like misplacing them, searching all over when they’re on my head, etc. Yep, sucks to get old!

  18. 2 cats: Vancouver’s on the Ring of Fire, right in a subduction zone, just like Japan, Alaska, Chile, and every other place where you hear about the big ones hitting. And the fault beneath Vancouver is locked, which means that the stress from the subducting plate is building and building, with no release. When it finally goes, it’s going to be a disaster. Back in 1700, it went with what they estimate to be a quake in the magnitude 9.0 range, based on the size of the tsunami it generated, which Japan’s historians recorded. At least in L.A., they have small earthquakes all the time, which helps relieve the stress and makes it less likely that there would be something like a devastating magnitude 8 or 9.

  19. Tortuosity’s almost a cool word, it’s just too over the top. Tortuous retinas, though, sounds like a superpower to me.

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