A woman sits on a couch watching a man on TV with 4 eyes.

Four Eyes and Floating Words

Three years ago in early October, I woke up to two smoke detectors on my ceiling. It was early in the morning and I had to get up to get ready for class. But all I could do was stare up at the two smoke detectors. It was a surreal and unnerving experience. The night before, I had gone to bed with no double vision and only one smoke detector on my ceiling. I rolled away, closed my eyes, then rolled back and looked again. I wanted to be wrong. I wanted to be dreaming. I never would have expected this moment would be the start of a two-year journey of experiencing double vision on a daily basis.

Double vision and a thyroid eye disease diagnosis

I never thought about double vision until I had it. And then, once I had double vision, that’s all I could think about. It was like I had woken up with a new pair of eyes. I suddenly had a new perspective on reality and I did not have a choice with what I was seeing. I was overwhelmed by the experience without any idea as to why it was happening.

I was diagnosed with Thyroid Eye Disease two weeks after I first experienced double vision. While a diagnosis normally gives people answers, I was left with more questions than answers when it came to seeing double. The first eye doctor specialist I saw gave me a prescription for a stick-on prism to help correct the double vision, which helped me see life the way I was used to.

Frustration with four eyes and floating words

The two consistencies I had with my double vision were four eyes and floating words. I found that I very rarely had issues with everything becoming double. But two things I could count on were people having another set of eyes on their foreheads and words on a page or a screen floating below.

At first, it was startling to see these images. This was not happening all of my life and now I had this whole new perspective to deal with. Then, it just became extremely frustrating. I would be reading a book or an article on my computer and I would have to stop because the words would be splitting into two halfway through a line. I would have to go to bed early when I began seeing double with the corrective prism on at night. The double vision would literally dictate what I could and could not do.

It's all about angles

Like with most things in my life, I tried to find levity in the situation every chance I could. I would joke with those around me. Like when I would have double vision while watching TV, I would point out that people onscreen had four eyes. It’s all about angles with my double vision. So the people on the left side of the screen would have the second pair of eyes higher on their foreheads than the right.

I tried not to let the double vision impact me too much. Though I must admit, since the double vision slowly vanished out of my life, I have not given it a second thought.

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