The eyes have it

How would I endure losing the pleasure of seeing a garnet-amber or brick red or golden gleaming wine in my glass?

How would I be able to write (or read) about wine without sight?

Come to think of it, without sight how would I read the notes on music sheets when I play piano?

How will I get to my favorite wine shop, see my favorite people, drive myself to New York City to meet up with old friends in convivial settings, look at my wife?

How would living in the dark be?

This past week I was given a scare and some potential bad news that made me think all the above.

I was preparing dinner, putting together a braised lamb shank concoction. As I made my way to cut some potatoes, a small dot appeared on what I thought was my eyeglasses. I rubbed the glasses with a cleaning cloth, but the dot refused to go away. It did, however, keep moving around.

Later that night, I noticed a flash of light off to the side of my left eye every so often. I mentioned this to my wife and she told me about floaters. I looked floaters up online and learned that they are little breakaway gel spots that happen to us as we age. I also learned that flashes of light can be a serious symptom and that I should call my eye doctor (I have one of those, because glaucoma runs in the family).

The doc took me in on emergency and gave me a thorough going over: dilation and a laser examination. In the process, I could see the road-map image of the blood vessels in my eyes. Weirdly fascinating.

The examination proved that the loosening gel is pulling at my retina—hence, the flash of light as it opens a tiny passageway where light gets in. But right now, it is only pulling. There is no tearing of the retina away from the gel.

The doc said that I must keep vigil over this situation, because if the gel tears the retina away some I will need laser treatment. The symptom will be more light flashes. If I happen to see a curtain-like closing over my eye, then I will need emergency surgery, as it would mean the retina had detached and I would lose sight.

This news, as news like this often does, started me thinking about what is and what isn’t important. Seeing is important, especially to a writer who is also a lover of stimuli such as the many bulbs we have planted around our property over the years and that are in full glory this spring, plus the forsythia and soon the fruit tree flowers—not to mention the striking beauty of the Finger Lakes region outside my porch.

I could live without seeing a computer screen, but could I live without seeing words or music notes in print, or the red and white of wine, or the beauty of my surroundings, or the beauty of my wife and others whom I cherish?

Sure, I could live, but could I enjoy it?

I’m going to be vigilant and keep a watchful eye, literally, on my condition. Plus, I’m going to look more closely at everything and everyone from now on. Beginning with tonight’s Tamellini Soave Classico with dinner.

If you are reading this entry anywhere other than on the vinofictions blog, be aware that it has been lifted without my permission (and without recompense), and that’s a copyright infringement, no matter that the copyright information appears with it.

Copyright Thomas Pellechia
April 2010. All rights reserved.

10 Responses to “The eyes have it”

  1. don miller says:

    Good luck to you ! I enjoy reading your column with its insight and wit.

  2. Arthur says:

    Hang in there friend. I’m pulling for you.

  3. Thomas says:

    This damned floater is annoying, but the light flash has been less frequent the past day or so.

  4. vinogirl says:

    Wow! That is scary news.
    I can’t imagine what it would be like losing the ability to see all the things you listed (insert my husband for your wife), and lots of other things; the funny little bugs on the vineyard floor, the fuzzyness of new vine leaves, the river front of my home town of Liverpool…and much, much more. Hope everything turns out well for you.

  5. Thomas says:


    So far things are going fine. 25% chance of problems.

  6. Mitch says:


    Your large and largely invisible audience of support wish you well.
    If we can be of service/support somehow, simply let us know.

    Best wishes !

  7. Thomas says:

    Thanks, Mitch. I’ve wondered if you still haunt the Internet.

    When are you coming this way again? My wife is gearing up for her work in the tasting room…

  8. Mitch says:

    Hi Thomas,

    Reading your blog has a way of becoming habit forming. Your sentiments are often just twisted enough to appeal to we maladjusted types. Alas, I just pulled the trigger on a rather large amount of rose champagne from the left coast. The Finger Lakes presently poses an occupational hazard to my wallet 😉 I imagine this disequilibrium will have dissipated soon enough. Until then, please give my best to your charming wife. Cheers !

  9. Thomas says:

    Twisted! I always thought my sentiments are perfectly sane. 😉

    My wife just got her official winery T-shirt, and like others, she couldn’t leave the winery without bringing home a six-pack. They probably get more back than they pay her.