A few weeks ago, I sensed a sudden streak of light at the outer edge of my left eye, as I turned my head, to close a door.
It was night, and dark, and for a moment I thought it might be lightening; then I thought it was the street lights I must have seen , say in a fast neck turn. So I closed the curtains and did another test in what might be called pitch dark, and lo behold, the streaks of light, more like a vertical sword flash , continued every time I turned.
Strangely, this didn't happen at every turn but was fairly random. Happened during the day too. As is my wont, I started reading and checking out things, and everyone said, "go check with your doctor, don't delay!"
What happens is that our eye can be said to have a front end processing and a back end processing.
The front end is all about the aqueous humor, which is a fluid floating around the front of the lens of the eye, between the cornea and the lens. This is a watery fluid, that carried nutrition for the cornea and the lens , and is constantly replenished by our body. It also carries away waste from the eye region.
The back end is about directing the rays of light from the lens on to the retina (or screen) through a gel like substance called Vitreous Humor. This Vitreous Humor, also performs a supporting role, keeping the retina in place, maintaining the shape of the eye, and also acts as a shock absorber. At birth , this vitreous humor has the consistency of egg-white. Over the years it thins out, and the gel kind of clumps here and there. Sometimes a separation between the gel wall and retina ensues, and in a worst case scenario , a bit of retina gets yanked off by the wayward truant gel.
The aforementioned flashes in the eye , happen when this clumped gel or even thinned gel misdirects rays of light and activates photoreceptors where it should not.
This is a kind of old age thing. And there is nothing humorous about the humors.
I mean back ends malfunctioning after 65 years cannot be too bad. (So many multinationals and companies would give an arm and a leg to know the algorythm.)
Think of the eye as a sort of typical family . The Retina is a Patriarch, in much association with the Optic Nerve which is almost like a ancestor. The Vitreous Humor , is like a Grandma Matriarch, who must keep looking after the welfare of the patriarch, as well as keep an "eye" on the happenings at the front end. How the lens behaves, does it keep itself clean , is the Lady Aqueous Humor, in association with the Cornea, managing the upkeep of the front end well, and keeping it healthy ? In a world of fine rules, and finer anatomic machinery, is there adequate protection, and is there decent drainage of everything undesirable?
The stay-at-home Grandma , is these days of both parents working, often gets fatigued and old age takes its toll. Like our hair , memories, and so many things, she becomes thinner, loses a bit of gelliness, and the Patriarch Retina feels the change. Sometimes, he too feels the age, when she clutches on to him and tries to move.
And so one needs to avoid these situations, by getting checked at an early stage, so some corrective action may be taken to strengthen the retinal walls. Say in the form of drops to be put in over a set of many weeks. (What I have been advised)
Something similar happening in our society today.
We are a society , actually, with a very reliable, strong back end. Playing by the rules, keeps the back end healthy and running well.
But today, the front end, comprising of the lens, and the fluid that carries nutrition to the eyeball and lens , is not in a very happy situation. There are all kinds of influences that mix with the aqueous fluid thanks to mindless imbibing , and adulteration; both chemical, and of thought. The front end often is unable to handle the pressures it creates. The rich diseases quietly line up at the edges of the inside eye, and changes are seen in the back ends as well as front ends. There is debility in the entire system, a thickening of paths, a thinning of objectives and purpose, and our sight gets affected. As a people, we see things in a wrong way, because we are limited by our earlier careless and stupid behaviour.
In my younger days, and fluorescent lighting in houses was then very popular, when someone acted dense, the others would often tease the person saying, "So has the tube light switch on yet ?" or as they say in Marathi , my mother tongue, " ट्यूब पेटली का ? "
I like to think of these streaks of light in my peripheral eye, as tube lights switching on, trying to send me some sense and knowledge.
Not for nothing do we have a concept across languages, of something lighting up in the head.
As they say in Hindi , another one of my country's several languages, "दिमाग की बत्ती जला दे..... (Light up that light in your head ...)
Somewhere , some light must have switched on. Because a very popular old song, from a very old movie " Hum Dono " starring the late Dev Anand and late Sadhana came to mind, and this poem happened :
Lady Vitreous Sadhana,
tired of sitting subdued
and clumped together
by Sir Retina Dev Anand,
and the seeds of independence
as she holds herself
aloof and close
and dithers in doubt,
looking for an exit path.
Sometimes she pulls away,
still attached to him,
and he responds
with an angry flash,
only to have someone
with ocular drops of advice.
And Sir Retina Dev Anand,
much more aware now
of the life long support
by quiet Vitreous Sadhana,
looks up to see
rays of lights
in the distance,
Rod and Cone chamchaas
and bursts into a song
for Lady Vitreous Sadhana...
"Abhi na jao Chhodkar,
ye screen abhi bhara nahi ..."