Sunday, August 27, 2006

I See

Well, there’s a name for what’s been bothering my vision. It’s called strabismus. It appears my eyes are both looking outward rather than together toward whatever it is I want to look at. Consequently, the letters in front of me have been dancing for months. I have to squint, take my glasses off and try to see without them, close one eye and try to see alternatively out of one or the other eye and curse a lot.

When I visited my doctor yesterday she said they can correct the condition with a prism in my prescription, but that has a downside and that is that my eyes will come to rely on the prism and the next time I need new glasses I will need a stronger prism. She said I could try exercises. We decided I will do both. This had been driving me nuts. It has caused me to be extra vigilant at work and has generally been a real drag on my nerves.

So, for the next 3 weeks, for 3 minutes every day I will focus in on the tip of a pen held before my face. I will slowly bring the pen toward my face until it goes double on me. She warned me that doing this will lead to headaches. Hey, I’m so frustrated now I will try anything.

I’ve been reading about the condition on the internet. The doctor told me this is something I’ve had all my life and is just now worsening. I’m really wondering about this. In the articles I was reading they’re mostly concerned with children and two things caught my attention right up front.

One was the child who could not concentrate. I loved to read, but had a very, very hard time with my studies. I ended up going to 12 different schools over the course of 12 years. I suppose I was an average student. There were subjects I did well with and others I didn’t do so well with. But, I never considered myself a good student. I hated school.

I complained repeatedly of not being able to hear, though every time my hearing was checked nobody ever found anything amiss. To this day I still have trouble hearing. If you are not facing me chances are I will not hear what you have to say. But, coupled with that was a difficulty in being able to see.

I remember the first time I ever got glasses. It was right after an incident that happened in my math class. Mrs. Stern said something to me. I thought she said I should get up and distribute the math books to the students. I began to do so and everybody howled with laughter. I had no idea what was going on nor would anybody enlighten me. They all, the teacher included, had a good laugh at my expense. I don’t remember what happened after that other than my parents got my eyes examined and I got glasses. I remember I almost cried when I stepped outside of the doctor’s office with my new glasses on and I could see clearly everything that was across the street. I was 12 years old and I’ve worn glasses ever since then.

The other thing that caught my attention in reading about this condition of outward facing eyes (strabismus) this morning was children having a hard time catching balls. I have always had a hard time catching things. Always. It is something that is absolutely hilarious to the people who toss things to me. Evidently I must look very funny as I try to catch whatever it is they are tossing to me. Mostly, I always feel a sharp sense of panic. I have always attributed this to being hit in the face with a basket ball during a physical education class in the 8th grade, but maybe, just maybe I might trace this to this condition of my eyes.

It’s been a revelation this morning to learn these two things about people who have this condition; that they have trouble concentrating and they have trouble catching things. It sort of explains a lot to me about my own situation.

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