So yesterday off to the ophthalmologist. This lady is the best explainer of eyeball technology Iíve found in twenty years, and I love seeing her. Figuratively and literally.
She told me four years ago about my Blepharitis. I have a yellow-mucus discharge in my eyes about once every two weeks. It can be a stinging sensation; I often have to close one eye while reading. I rinse my eyes with four handfuls of hot-water from the bathroom taps. I also use a very weak solution of baby shampoo with an eye-dropper from a re-used phial of hair dye (not mine!).
Five years ago Dr. Smythe told me three major causes of Blepharitis:
(1) Genetics; I am of English stock
(2) Age: I am approaching seventy years of age
(3) Dryness: I read books a great deal, and (back then) spent my working day at a computer screen.
There is nothing I can do about Genetics and Age; there is nothing I will do about my passion for reading a book a day (most days).
My little apartment had - at last count - over fifty houseplants, so the atmosphere tends to be humid, even in the cold dry wintertime in Toronto. I re-use my dishwashing rinsing water to keep the soils moist.
So Iíve been thinking about this.
I am an organism, made of cells. Cells have the ability to reproduce. They take in nutrients and energy and do work and survive.
Whatever is producing this yellow-mucus discharge is either a form of cellular life, or it is not. I am, of course, a form of cellular life and quite obviously I am, at the root, the cause of my eyes and their discharge.
But I wanted to know if the mucus is being generated by some species of small animal or at least some species of cellular life that has taken up residence in me, in particular within the confines of my eyes.
My reasoning was that if there is some little animal in my eye that is making a living and reproducing and spewing out mucus, letís wipe out the population and then thereíll be no more mucus.
If the mucus is NOT being generated by some species of cellular life, then it must be being generated by some sort of organic-chemical reaction. That is, there must be a chemical plant at work which receives constituent molecules and reacts to produce the molecules of mucus. In which case letís find another chemical, organic or not, which will neutralize the chemical factory and then production of mucus will cease.
In essence, my argument went, letís use either machine-guns or sulphuric acid and shut down the generation of yellow mucus.
ďNotĒ, says Dr. Smythe, ďso fast Chris!Ē
The first of three reasons given above Ė genetics Ė means, of course, DNA. English people tend to sport blephritis because we English folks share common ancestors and this is shown in our common DNA.
I could have worked this out for myself if I were a better thinker.
My DNA is different from yours. My DNA program makes cells a little bit differently from yours.
In particular, the cells in my lachrymal(?) glands makes cells that arenít of the same high quality as the cells in your lachrymal glands.
If my lachrymal glands are a factory that produces tears (or if you prefer tear-water), then my mechanics on the DNA arenít so good at repairing or making the lathes in the factory as are your mechanics.
So when the lathes in my lachrymal gland factories break down, the replacements arenít functioning as well as yours, and the output (tears) of my lachrymal gland factory are under-producing; working below capacity.
So I donít get as much tear-water in my eyes as do you.
The dry atmosphere (relatively to my eyes) causes some of the H2O in my tear-water to evaporate, which means that my entire tear-solution gets somewhat thicker than yours, faster.
In short, because my lachrymal gland factory is failing, I end up with thickened tear-water, which ultimately becomes so reduced in water-content that it thickens up like a good chicken-noodle soup.
Hence the mucus.
And stinging pain.
And a limit to the number of books I can get through in a day.
And a limit to the amount of time I can spend at a computer.
So I should stop now.