This year has been challenging for so many reasons, but one personal reason is the loss of my eyesight and independence.
I started the year off great and then slowly I started noticing my vision was becoming blurry. More blurry than usual. I have pellucid marginal degeneration. In November of 2017 I had crosslinking and limited PRK. Afterwards I had amazing vision even without glasses for a year, Then I needed glasses again which was no big deal, but in December of 2020 , I noticed something was wrong.
My optometrist who I respected moved away and my surgeon and opthamologist was no longer seeing patients. So I had to find a new optometrist and opthamologist, no easy feat during covid.
Long story short over two months later, I got in to see a new opthamologist who diagnosed me with eye herpes. Who knew you could get herpes in your eyes? Not me or most people I knew. So began the treatments.
Then another twist I had to go to Nova Scotia unexpectedly and find another opthamologist and optometrist who could treat me there. Luckily that all worked out. I have been unable to drive since January and to say that has been difficult for me is an understatement.
Fast forward to today and I am getting closer and closer to better vision. I just got fitted for sclerals and I am feeling very hopeful, not only that I will see better ,but that I will drive and get my independence back.
I don’t always make a big deal about my vision loss so often people forget and think I can see things that I can’t like menus in fast food places,misspelling words in emails. I worked all throughout this time and luckily I work with very compassionate people.
I sometimes feel overwhelmed in big stores because of the lights and can’t find what I am looking for. Of course when I ask for help it looks like I can see so instead of telling my story I just manage as best as possible.
I continue to wear my glasses for now even though they don’t help one little bit , I just feel more comfortable with them on. It’s hard to admit to myself that I am visually impaired, but it is even more difficult to admit to others. I cannot see people or things at a distance and actually you have to be pretty close up for me to recognize you these days.
I end up paying for a lot of things related to my sight because it is not covered by my insurance. I am hoping in the future this is not so.
I am hopeful that this invisible disability I have will be more understood in time.. It is my responsibility to try and educate others as best as I can and do what I can to advocate for others.
Loss of sight affects more than 1.5 million Canadians. Awareness around the issue is still relatively small. You’ve got to speak up if you want to be heard. Not that doing so is easy, but I will do my part. My eyes matter and so do yours. I am hopeful that I will gain new eye sight and independence in the near future. I am hopeful technology will change things for me in my lifetime (it already has) and I know it will for the youth that are newly diagnosed with keratoconus and corneal related issues.
There is a wonderful website I have found during this time, hadley edu and if you need assistance with your vision they are amazing. More websites should use their contrast feature. Check it out , it is so helpful.
I remain very optimistic even though I cannot presently see clearly.
These eyes they have many stories to tell.Feel free to just ask me , and you may start to see things differently yourself.