by Laura Sillerman | bio


I’ve been seeing spots. I’ve been seeing them instead of the numbers on the crossword puzzle. Instead of the small type in The New Yorker. Probably when I visit our blog to see this, I’ll see the spots instead of some of the words I’m typing now.

My regular eye doctor (who is reason enough to keep one’s sight — he’s so easy on the eyes) said he was 99 percent sure it was nothing, but I should see a macular specialist.

Today I did. The man was kind, thorough, reassuring, respectful, funny, and happy to give me the layperson’s description of the eyeball, describing the vitreous gel between the outer eye and the retina by likening it to Jell-O.

“Now, if I put a square of Jell-O on this table for oh, say, 61 years, what do we think would happen to it?”

I thought, “Well naturally, it would get dusty.”

“It would lose its shape, it would collapse,” says he.

He went on to explain that the vitreous material in my eye had only
partially collapsed, but it hadn’t torn the retina or caused any liquid
to go behind it, which would be problematic. He told me he could go in
there and remove what’s floating around causing the spots, but
that would be extreme because maybe they’d settle, or maybe I’d get
used to them.

He told me to keep him posted and to think of this as quite good news.

I wanted to cry.

My first real diagnosis of age-related anything.

I thought of what the people in the waiting room, many of them there
with companions, were battling. I thought of my first pair of glasses
when I was in 7th grade (lavender cat’s eyes, natch). I thought of the
years I’ve spent learning to face what I was feeling. And I faced it
and let myself be quiet with it for a while.

I feel sad and slightly more vulnerable because of what I heard
today. I feel lucky to live in the times I do and to have access to
the medical care I have. I feel more ready to fight than ever before
for all the people who need to be able to see good doctors and see them
in a timely manner and to be respected when they do.

So I got some news related to aging today. I’d better get working on what I want to do with the wisdom that comes with it.

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