The Somewhat Unique Opportunity To Go Blind Twice

For those who haven’t been following along from the beginning:

In January, I was a normal guy who just happened to be winning a multi-decade battle with an incurable eye disorder. By March,I couldn’t drive. By April, my tunnel vision finally became an actual tunnel.

It turned out, in addition to glaucoma, I had cataracts. Unfortunately I didn’t have the money to have them removed right away, so I decided to look at my situation as a chance to practice for the inevitable. 2009 would be my Summer of Temporary Blindness.

Then in May, I found out that the glaucoma has been stealing vision, too, and I wouldn’t be “going back to normal” like I originally planned.

Then What Happened?
I had a surgery, an accident, and another surgery. During all that time, my eyeballs were swollen, bruised, and healing from incisions – all things I can’t see through. The circle I view the world through shrank to the size of a fist at arm’s length.

Then I began to heal. The circle grew a little every day, but was very blurry. I could only read the largest of text.

Last week, after four months of healing, I was able to get my new eyeglass prescription. It’s five times the strength of the pair on my face as I type this.

Where Do You Go From Here?
I pick up my new glasses this/next week.

The circle has widened enough to where I feel like a fraud (again) with the white cane… until I trip on the sidewalk or walk into coupon dispensers at the grocery store.

I still can’t see the ground in front of me, but I can see to the right and left far better than I have in months.

Warming up the car for my wife, I noticed that I could see the driver’s side mirror again. I wonder if I could drive. I wonder how many cars get driven through windows and walls by people having this same internal dialogue.

Does this mean you aren’t blind anymore?
I don’t know. Does it? I can’t drive, I can’t walk without staring at the ground or using a stick, and I still have that incurable eye disorder.

Going into this, I thought this was my chance to have some Blindness Practice before I go blind “for real”. When I learned it may not be temporary after all, my perspective changed.

For several months I didn’t know if any of my vision would return. The only thing certain was that large portions of it wouldn’t be. This changed me in ways I could never have predicted – even with fifteen years of preparation.

I thought it was going to be all about white canes and braille. The lessons I learned this summer go much deeper than that. I am different because of this experience.

So, are your eyes okay, now?
No. Even after the successful surgeries my pressure is too high. I’m just not going blind as fast as I was six months ago.

…and from the inside, it looks like it’s going to opposite direction. Even though I know I have less vision than a year ago, I can see better than I could two months ago so I FEEL like I’m less blind.

That’s my old friend Denial coming back for a visit.

What’s that Denial? You have my car keys? Where are you going?


7 responses to this post.

  1. Hey there, I’m really glad you wrote again; I was getting concerned 🙂 I find that I get attached to bloggers really easily.

    I can’t imagine what this has all been like for you. I went totally blind last April, so I never had to deal with the what ifs or the possibilities of regaining vision. At first I hoped I would, and then I accepted that I wouldn’t.

    I am selling my car tomorrow, and while I’m relieved, its also quite sad. I love my car. But I’ll never drive it again. I’m trading in my steering wheel for a guide dog harness 😉

    Anyway, just wanted to say glad you’re alive, and congrats on getting some vision back! I hope you can get off those meds; that sounds pretty awful.


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