Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Special powers.

Taken by a very tall man. Los Angeles 2014
 I've been wearing spectacles ever since I was a little girl of nine or so. At first, for reading the writing on the black board at school. For years I walked around in a fuzz, not realising that I needed to wear them all the time. Then, when I was sixteen, I got my first pair of contact lenses. Epiphany: the trees are not big green blobs - they are made up of leaves! And the boys have very hairy legs. (My mom remembers me telling her that)

I've always known my eyes are bad, but it was a shock to me when my optometrist told me that if I had been born in the middle ages, I would have a staff and someone would have had to lead me around - in fact, if my right eye was just a little weaker, I would be legally blind. Not in darkness, but without aid I saw only light, colour and blurry shapes. The long legged man often stands in the doorway and smiles at me - I know this because I hear the tiny kiss of the corners of his mouth. For what my maker took away in sight, I was compensated for with a fine set of ears.

 Last monday I went to see the Superman of corneas, Dr. Michael Attenborough. By a stroke of luck, I was bumped up to have PRK laser surgery on thursday - the waiting list is normally months long. It was over within minutes: the pasting of eyelashes with special curved tape, the flashing lights, the ice cold drops and a smell I'd rather not remember. Gentle words of encouragement from the doctor and the firm pressure of a nurse's hand on my arm the entire time.

I asked him a few days later what it felt like to bring such miraculous change to people's lives. He said that often it doesn't feel like work - in a case like mine, it's actually fun. Then he showed me some of the other work he's done - cornea transplants for people with cataracts covering the entire eye. He has special powers that man, and a very steady hand.

I can now read the teeniest little words on the eye dropper bottle. I've just done some darning and could thread the needle - piece of cake. Long distances are still settling in - there's a haze. But it's early days yet and just another lesson in patience.

The eyes can do a thousand things that the fingers cannot.
- Iranian proverb.

Sanell Aggenbach

9 comments:

Leslie said...

Yay you! My sight is the one faculty I'd least want to lose. Love to read too much. So glad it worked so well. Amazing the things they can do.

Marie said...

Sjoe. I may be as blind as you...were :-)I have often thought about what my life would be like a few hundred years ago. Even pre contact lenses. At school I went from geek to double page magazine poppie within a few weeks and the other girls never forgave me. But my confidence took another couple of decades to catch up.

I have resisted the laser surgery for fear of night blindness, and driving issues. But perhaps your discovery will give me courage. And I like the sound of your ophthalmologist.

SSH said...

I never knew you had contacts Lily! For "weak sight" you certainly perceived the most delightful things. YAY for a successful op! Can't wait what you'll discover next in full view.
Much Amore

dinahmow said...

What an encouraging tale. I know someone who is hesitant to have laser work done;she thinks if she has "coke bottles" in fancy frames she'll be fine.Meanwhile, I'm now reading through the next magnification...and can't drive at night. sigh...

the sourcerer said...

Thanks you all!
Two things I left out:
1. A major kick under the butt for me was staying in this house alone for 3 months - the idea that I could be severely compromised if someone broke in and took my spectacles. The next door neighbour was hi-jacked two years ago - luckily they they just tied her up and stole what they wanted. But unfortunately it's a reality.
2. That if all goes well, I'll live to a ripe old age. Even if my eyes weaken again, they'll never EVER be as bad again. My great aunt was very blind in the latter years of her life and had a terrible time.

Marie - I need to send you a mail about the whole thing....

xxx

D said...

I have a theory that really poor eyesight might contribute to a feeling for shape, form and composition... Before now my only compelling data point was Matisse and my habit of scrinching up both eyes to just see blurry shapes when I'm composing a photo.

Still, I trust your excellent eye for the right place for things is well enough established. The only reason I've not had the appalling astigmatism in my left eye dealt with by LASIK is fear of side effects and perpetual eye dryness - so pleased it went well for you.

the sourcerer said...

Thanks D!
I've not had any side effects, besides the post operative haze, which was kind of scary. But that was gone within a week and I've not had dry eyes at all.
In fact - one of the things I was worried about - my night sight, has become a lot better. The halos around lights are much less now, and my sight will continue to improve for 6 months after the operation. So.... it is indeed miraculous.
If you ever change your mind, or just want an opinion - please go to Mike.

Robert Lancaster said...

I have just read your posting. I too have suffered with poor eyesight ever since I was 10 or 11 years old. At 13 I was diagnosed with kerataconus and had my first two cornea transplants at 18 and 19 years old. I then had cataracts removed and lenses implanted in both eyes at the age of 25. I later required a third graft about 12 years ago. My right eye continued to deteriorate and as there was a shortage of donors there were no corneas available fo transplant. As a result over the last 10 or more years I was also on the verge of becoming legally blind. By sheer luck my sister met Dr. Michael Attenborough at a dinner and discussed my vision issues with him Four weeks ago I finaly had another cornea transplant in my right eye performed by Dr. Attenborough with a cornea which was imported from the USA. For the first time in years I can see ... in #D with depth perception ... and I am still finding it overwhelming. Something I am sure you can relate to. I agree with you wholeheartedly, the man is in a league of his own when it comes to corneas. I hope your journey with new found vision is as inspiring and wonderful as I am sure mine is going to be.

the sourcerer said...

How utterly wonderful Robert! I still wake up at night thinking I've left my contacts in by accident. Thank you for your kind wishes - all of the best to you also.