I was a voracious reader before I became a writer, and in fact we keep being told that a writer must read in order to be a good writer. If one is to read, good eyesight is required.
Since early childhood, I have suffered from extreme myopia (nearsightedness). Without my glasses, the world becomes blurred about 2 feet from my face and further out quickly becomes an impossible blur. In my day, I had to play football without my glasses. I could not be a receiver, because I could not see the ball. When I played defense, fake hand-offs confused me because the ball was a blur. I loved the offensive line. Fortunately very strong glasses correct my distance vision to normal limits. This has made me a slave to glasses. This was good when I was engaged in lab work. I was never without safety glasses in the lab. This was bad for sports, driving and a host of “normal” activities. At my level of correction, even good vision is not perfect.
Then as I aged, a form of farsightedness known as presbyopia snuck up on me. When we look at an object close to us, muscles in the eye tug on the lenses to focus the image by changing the shape of the lens. Presbyopia occurs when the lens becomes stiff, preventing the muscles from changing the shape of the lens enough to focus. In the early stages, the eye can not focus at reading distances. The solution is bifocals, glasses with a section with a special prescription for reading. As the lens stiffens, we are forced to go to trifocals, glasses with both reading and middle distance corrections.
Life with trifocals has its challenges, but still allows functional vision.
Now I have developed cataracts. The lenses have become opaque and distorted. I noticed it first with declining night vision, but more recently have noticed problems reading fine print in dim light. The solution is surgery. The surgeon makes a tiny incision in the side of the cornea. Through this, he inserts a tiny ultrasonic probe that shatters the opaque lens. He then uses a miniature vacuum cleaner to remove the fragments from the sack that held the lens. He then inserts a plastic lens in the sack to replace the lens he has destroyed. The results are almost instantaneous. In my case it took 24 hours for the swelling to go down. By the day after surgery, I had close to good distance vision.
My left eye was operated on October 14th. My right eye will be operated on tomorrow, the 27th. In the mean time, I am a cyclops. The left eye has great distance vision but no close vision. The right eye can see up close (within 8 inches) but has terrible distance vision. The left lens was removed from my glasses. In theory, I can wear these glasses for distance vision, but even then the brain does not like the way the two images are not quite the same. If I try to read, or use the computer, the left eye, with trifocals works great, but I must ignore the left eye’s image. Usually I close the left eye eventually. With no glasses, I see great with the left eye, but the right eye image is so badly blurred that the brain tends to ignore it and I have no depth perception.
The primary reason for the operation is to remove the opaque lens. The world through my left eye is now brighter. I have been wearing sun glasses again.
It has been interesting living with two eyes so different. I tend to patch the left eye for close work. I have a large print Bible, I can read it with my altered glasses by holding the book at arm’s length. There the left eye is only slightly blurred, and the middle part of my trifocals brings the right eye into focus. I have been running with no glasses. My depth perception is imperfect, but I am free of glasses. These minor inconveniences really make me appreciate good vision, even vision made good with glasses. I have friends who have visual problems that can not be easily corrected. I also have friends who are completely blind. I thank God that He gave me two eyes that see. Imperfect thought they may be, He at least made provisions for refractive corrections that gave me close to normal eye sight.
All of that will change tomorrow. A plastic lens, fitted to my eye, will be inserted into my right eye. The surgery irritates the eye to cause swelling. Thus for the first 24 hours, I will be looking through a white fog. As the swelling goes down, the fog will lift, leaving me with good vision. For the first time since 3rd grade, I will be able to see clearly at a distance without glasses.
It will take about a week for the eye to stabilize. Then I should really see well, at a distance. I will pick up a pair of “dime store” reading glasses to help me read until I get permanent glasses. I have an appointment in four weeks to have my eyes measured for glasses. I expect them to be trifocals. The distance part will be “window glass” or a very weak correction. The middle distance and close sections will have enough of a correction to be focused at those distances.
I hope I will be freed from glasses, and only need reading glasses for the close work, but there is no guarantee of that level of success. At the worse I will need weak glasses, and when I am without glasses, I will at least be able to see the world, perhaps a slightly blurred world, but a world I have never seen before without glasses.
Reynold writes fiction for his own enjoyment and for your reading pleasure. Visit his website, www.ReynoldConger.com, to learn about the books he has published.