I Didn't Ask to Go Blind

Let me apologize for the hyberolic title if in fact you are genuinely visually impaired.

The fact is, I see fairly well still. However, its getting worse, and I can’t stand it. I feel like like I’m dying because highway signs don’t become readable till I’m far closer than I needed to be two years ago. I’m only twenty-three years old! Yes, I’m sure you old fogeys have better gripes. Yes, I’m sure this is not a problem that can’t be fixed and I have no right to bitch, but dammit the real truth is I am deteriorating and I just realized it and it is goddamn terrifying.

When I was kid I had constant headaches - I’m sure they were actually stress headaches as they invariably ocurred on Mondays (though other days were susceptible as well). In any case I was taken to an optometrist who diagnosed far-sightedness (he was definitely right, but it was not severe and the glasses were not necessary). Eventually, I gave up on the glasses because they did not help the headaches and I did not truly need them in order to read or whatever.

Later, I was 20/20. Golden. I didn’t find this out till I earned a serious eye injury (hint, fence with masks and stainless steel not random branches) that recovered to a state of pure, perfect vision (well average human vision anyway).

Now, it is going away. The OTHER way. Near-sighted. I have to squint to focus on far-away letters - and sometimes it doesn’t work. I have to work to make them out. I have to get closer to make them out. I can’t make them out. Fuck. The same thing has happened to my sister, but that does not make it right.

Vision is the most important sense, and it is slipping away from me.

Well, do you have glasses/contacts? I’ve been wearing glasses since I was eight and contacts since I was ten, and even though I have hideously near-sighted vision, I see 20/20 with my contacts. It has little impact on my day-to-day life, and I mean I have REALLY awful vision. I DON’T know how many fingers you’re holding up, I can’t read a book without help, etc., etc. My lenses are hard because soft lenses can’t be made into a strong enough prescription. This is me at 21. It sucks, yeah, but that’s what eye doctors are for.

Incidentally, I went to high school with a girl who was completely blind since birth. She never let it get in the way of doing anything she wanted, from taking AP classes to going to the movies, to going to college. She knew every inch of our school and could get around easily without any help at all.


“You couldn’t fool your mother on the foolingest day of your life if you had an electrified fooling machine.”

I wore glasses or contacts ever since second grade, and was blind as a bat without them.

Last April and May I had lasix surgery – laser eye surgery. It’s awesome to be able to see without assistance. Water sports are suddenly lots more fun – I can see what I’m doing and not worry about losing the glasses or the contacts.

Go talk to your eye doctor and see what help s/he can give you.


And then there’s macular degeneration. Sometimes it can be slowed, but so far there’s no cure. Just happened to someone close to me. Had already lost most vision in one eye, then the other started. Lost 95% of her vision within 3 weeks. Doesn’t have to worry about seeing street signs - can’t drive anymore. Can’t read anymore.

Take care of the vision you have.

You do have my sympathy, because I understand how this can be a little frustrating and maybe even scary, but it is not the end of everything.

I got my first pair of glasses at nine and contacts at 11. Life goes on. I, too, wear hard (gas permeable) lenses because nothing else will work. And I don’t even have 20/20 vision with them. I dread the day that I get too old and shaky to handle them. I can only hope that something will have been discovered by then that will allow me to see.

Please, count your blessings that you have gotten this far, and PLEASE, have your eyes checked. It may not be as bad as you think. And, yes, glasses are not fun, but life is like that. (I do sympathize, really I do, but only so far.)

I’ll agree with everyone else here. I’ve worn glasses since I was 2. And contacts since I was 10. I’m legally blind without them - I can’t see ANYTHING because it’s so blurry. I’ve almost grown out of contacts, which sucks…I hate wearing coke-bottle glasses. I do understand how you feel though - there are times when I’d give ANYTHING to be able to just see across the room when I wake up. Go to the eye doctor and see what can be done…glasses and contacts suck, but not seeing is worse.

And Melin? How was the laser surgery? I’ve been considering it for a while. Did your insurance company pay for it?

“There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it.” - William James

Gee whiz, cry me a river!

I’ve worn glasses since I was 3. They’re the first thing on my head in the morning and the last thing off at night. They’re like a part of my body.

Let me get this straight – you’re 23 and complaining about the aging process? Get used to it.

And if you’re too vain or lazy to get your vision corrected, kindly refrain from driving on the same highways as I do.

Plunging like stones from a slingshot on Mars.

My fiancée had the laser surgery this year. Her vision went from 20/300 to 20/20. The surgical procedure took maybe five minutes.

However, I have a doctor friend (family practicioner) who’s interested in vision and she’s told me that she wouldn’t do it herself because of possible side effects, and because it’s still a fairly new procedure.

It cost her $3500 (or maybe $2500, I don’t remember exactly) and she paid for it herself, not covered by insurance. And her price was lower than usual because she found out a special offer through a state university (California State Fullerton.)

Quand les talons claquent, l’esprit se vide.
Maréchal Lyautey

As noted, the procedure is not covered by insurance (sorry). It cost me $4600 total. It can be paid for out of a flexible spending account, if your employer offers one, which means that my after-tax cost was something like $3000.

And I love it!

I have “monovision,” which means that they corrected one eye for reading and the other for distance. It took a little getting used to at first, but now I rarely even notice. Having been so damn blind for three decades, this is truly like a miracle for me.


It’s unusual to become nearsighted in your 20s. For most people, the shift comes in childhood, and then stabilizes later in life. I assume you’ve consulted an ophthamologist?

I had laser eye surgery also. I had PRK as opposed to Melin’s lasik, but the results were the same. I have 20/20 vision now, for the first time since early childhood. Except for the money, I can’t understand why anyone wouldn’t go for it. I paid $3000, which seemed to be the going rate at the time. My insurance didn’t pay for it either, but it was definitely worth it. Unfortunately for you, your vision must be stable (not changing) before you are a candidate for either procedure, so you might have to wait a couple of years. Start saving for it now!

Side effects: a slight increased sensitivity to light, and some “starbursts” around bright lights at night. (These aren’t universal.)

It only gets moreso, my friend. At 41, my eyes are iffy (been wearing glasses for about 8 years, but I’ve needed them for much longer), my left knee doesn’t do things the way it used to, I’ve got bursitis in my right shoulder and both wrists, I suffer occasional bouts of irritable bowel syndrome, and I’ve developed seasonal allergies. I have no doubt this trend will continue.

Like Frank said:

I am too in shape! :::muttering::: Round is a shape.
C’mon up and see me sometime.

Following up on Frank and Story Tyler’s comments…

Be grateful your eyesight is all that’s going. I’m 24 years old, Cooper. I’m legally blind in my left eye. I have rheumatoid arthritis in both hands, which makes it hard to type in the winter. (Which REALLY sucks if you’re a consultant.) I have seasonal allergies. I have an underactive thyroid, which means I’ll be on hormones the rest of my life. I have moderate to severe asthma. And I have lupus, which has no cure. And it’s coming back, which means more blood tests, more pills, and more of being exhausted 24/7.

Not to denigrate your problems, because I know being nearsighted sucks, but just remember to count your blessings. You can deteriorate at any age. I started at 15.

“There is no worse lie than a truth misunderstood by those who hear it.” - William James

If that’s the only thing you have to worry about, you’ve got it made. Just do like the rest of us. Get contacts…or glasses…or both. Life goes on.

Some drink at the fountain of knowledge…others just gargle.

It sounds like you need a real good eye doctor. Not the idiots at the mall vision stores whom most are fresh out of Eye Doctor School, but a real MD. An opthemologist ( or is it optomotrist? I get them confused.)

I’ve worn glasses full time since my mid-20’s and I really hate them. Until pregnancy, i wore contacts most of the time, but since then, I cannot wear them. (pregnancy can throw your vision off due to increased circulation in your body: ie your head) Everyone that I’ve known who has had corrective surgery on their eyes just raves about it and says it is worth every penny.

I think one year instead of an annual trip, I might have lasik. I’ll go across the bridge to Canada where the dollar is stronger than the loon. ( With the recommendation of a US doctor, naturally)

Your vision changes from year to year throughout your life. That’s why you’re supposed to go see the eye doctor (opthalmologist) every couple of years.

You get your eyeballs zapped, you’re okay for the next few years. Then what? If your vision deteriorates naturally, do you go in to get zapped again? For another three or four grand? Or start wearing glasses/contacts again?


About the PRK and lasik surgeries- how long did it take to recover? Were the procedures really uncomfortable or painful? If someone could hook me up with some info on them, I’d be grateful.


Cooper, let me know when you are driving so I can stay off the sidewalks :slight_smile:

A friend had one of his eyes go completely cloudy in a very short time. They put in a plastic lens, which is focused for distance. I think he wears glasses to read.

Thanks (most of you) for tolerating my crankiness. I have not seen a doctor yet but I did schedule an appointment with an optometrist for this Friday. As I said, its not really bad yet - I’m sure I could pass any driver’s license vision test. The only problem I’ve had so far is far away letters blurring up.

::sigh:: I’m pathetic.

The local vision center was doing test runs on it’s new vision correction laser, which promises to take you from 20/whatever to 15/20. Better than average, even. They were giving away correction for free, or for up to $500 per eye, depending on your financial situation, and current vision.

And I sat on my ass too long. I missed it. I guess I’ll live with 21/43 (last checked) vision until I have the money to get laser correction.

Most common question people ask me: “Are you mad?” No. I’m just squinting.


We are the children of the Eighties. We are not the first “lost generation” nor today’s lost generation; in fact, we think we know just where we stand - or are discovering it as we speak.