“No, Mrs Fuffufnick, Boris is not real!”

Some funny things happen in clinic showing the humor that patients have to their circumstances that they must endure. Mid week “Mrs Fuffufnick” came in for a routine follow up appointment as she has had vitrectomy surgery in both eyes for epiretinal membrane, macular hole and Tractional macular detachment. She also was diagnosed with cardiac issues prior to her eye surgeries that ultimately probably saved her life. One such eye surgery needed silicone oil use in the eye as a tamponade to hold things together until it healed. Then the oil was removed. Most of the time 99.9 to 100% of the oil is removed at surgery but sometimes a small bubble may remain and does no harm. It usually get caught somewhere and does not move.

Mrs Fuffufnick related that she had a problem at home with a spider that she was trying to eliminate. She saw it on the desk and grabbed her slipper and gave it a murderous whack only to watch the spider leap out from under her slipper and run to the wall. She gave chase and whacked again only to see in her horror that the spider (AKA “Boris”) ran away again after a direct hit! This went on for a few minutes until she remembered our previous conversation about retained oil bubbles in the eye. She sat down hysterically laughing about it. We all had a great laugh and it brightened the clinic day. Boris is not real and not an invincible spider!


Addendum: Mrs Fuffufnick came in for a follow up exam while the weather had turned bitterly cold. She stated that she could tell how cold it was by the activity of Boris. In the morning Boris would appear and if it was cold, he would sink down and disappear rapidly otherwise if it was warm, he would wander slowly before going away! If the cornea cools, it may cause thermal currents in a vitrectomized eye, the higher the temperature difference may induce faster currents hence the change in Boris’s behavior. The oil bubble would float and go superiorly causing the patient to see it “sink” visually (inverted image in the eye). You can see this effect in a Lava Lamp!

For those who are “The Who” music fans might remember a fun song that they wrote in the 90’s called “Boris the Spider”

Here are the lyrics to “The Who“ song:

Look, he’s crawling up my wall 

Black and hairy, very small 

Now he’s up above my head 

Hanging by a little thread

Boris the spider 

Boris the spider

Now he’s dropped on to the floor 

Heading for the bedroom door 

Maybe he’s as scared as me 

Where’s he gone now, I can’t see

Boris the spider 

Boris the spider

Creepy, crawly 

Creepy, crawly 

Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly 

Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly 

Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly 

Creepy, creepy, crawly, crawly

There he is wrapped in a ball 

Doesn’t seem to move at all 

Perhaps he’s dead, I’ll just make sure 

Pick this book up off the floor

Boris the spider 

Boris the spider

Creepy, crawly 


“Boris the Spider” by The Who

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