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THE EYES DO NOT HAVE IT

Cindy Maddera

I few months ago, I had to renew my driver's license and I did not take my glasses in with me when I did this. Then the lady told me to look in the box and read the last row of letters. I paused while internally saying "fuuuck". Somehow, I managed to blunder my way through, though she did ask me to read them a second time. Up until this point I had no idea how much I had been relying on my glasses for distance vision. Cut to a day or so ago when I had to go in for my annual eye exam. The technician had me leave my glasses on and then read the letters from a board first with my right eye and then with my left eye. I could not read ANY of the letters with my left eye and I almost started hyperventilating.

It was bad. Real bad. I got into the room with the eye doctor and she set the phoropter (that's what that thing with all the lenses is called) in front of my face. We went through the whole right left rigamarole again. When we got to my left side, I gasped and kind of yelled out "WHAT IS HAPPENING!?!?" I told the doctor that I couldn't make out any of those letters, hearing the high pitch panic in my own voice as I made this confession. I started to worry that something was really wrong with me. Like maybe I had a tumor sitting behind my left eye. Maybe I somehow burned a hole in my eye when taking pictures of the eclipse or working with the lasers on the microscopes. I have seriously effed up my left eye. In fact, it's probably going to fall right out of my head.

My doctor could sense my rising panic and assured me that I was okay. She said "we knew your left eye was the problem eye. It's just gotten a little worse." Then she showed me cool 3D images of my eyeballs. She pointed out certain structures and told me that they looked nice and healthy. She drew imaginary lines along all of the blood vessels and said that my blood vessels looked healthy. My reading vision is still 20/20. I nodded my head and allowed her to console me. Then I spent about $500 on new lenses for my sunglasses and regular glasses. Later, I was talking about all of this to a friend. She played down my blinding left eye by telling about the time she left her glasses off at a pool party. She said everyone was so blurry that she couldn't even tell if they were wearing swimsuits. Her story really put things into perspective. At least I can tell if people are naked or not. 

So...things I learned: My left eye is not going to fall out of my eye socket. I do not have a tumor. My vision has gotten worse, but not so bad that I couldn't see something like a bear running towards me. If I decide to change careers and become a pirate, I need to put my patch over my left eye.