Regaining Focus

My eyesight’s really taken a turn for the worse these last two years. I started wearing glasses for the first time in my life starting this year. When I was a kid I was diagnosed with a mild case of lazy eye where I relied on one eye more than the other. As an adult the eyes sort of specialized one for reading and other short range tasks and the other for seeing everything else. I’ve always had 20/20 vision in one eye and never really noticed anything in daily life. However, working as a programmer amidst this digital revolution just made things unbearable these past two years.

During the day I’d really be staring into the computer as if my life depended on it. As a result my eyesight simply kept getting worse in the other eye to the point where it did affect my daily life. The blurred visions of my bad eye would interfere with my good. On top of that my eyes were getting crossed especially after a long session of work.

I figured that if I could correct the vision in the bad eye things would improve so instead of glasses I tried Ortho-K contacts lenses. These are pricy contacts that you wear before sleep (yes, you read that right) and wake up with corrected vision. You take the contacts out and live a life of 20/20 vision without glasses. At least that’s the theory and I’m sure that’s how it works for most but for me I ended up waking up to double vision because my eyes were crossed and after decades of relying on one eye I couldn’t focus things in distance (although for close range things were OK). This causes a lot of problems because I see things in double and they cross into each other. It was like a bad hallucination because if I looked at the road I’d see cars crashing into each other head on and people all around me as twins going all over. I had to learn how to ignore one of the visions to avoid bumping into things. Of course, my eyes didn’t improve a bit. I had sight but not focus. It’s really terrifying when you think about it, seeing things not as they are but as they are packaged by your eyes and mind.

All this did was make things worse and my cross eye condition just deteriorated further to the point where on bad days I couldn’t look people in the eye because one eye would look into theirs while another would be reading a poster on the adjacent wall. I hated pictures because I couldn’t look into the camera. I’d be the guy with a half-crazy look and the only one looking in a wildly different direction from everyone else.

You don’t realize what something as common as having two eyes looking in the same direction is until you lose it. I’d go to job interviews praying for a “good eye day” and hoping even if my eyes are crossed that they wouldn’t hold it against me. Still, it makes you more awkward and reserved in social situations.

The funny thing is that my condition started improving out of the blue. I have to make a conscious effort but I can focus my eyes at close range. It’s really weird because when I see double, I have to will my eyes to focus and then I see things sharp and in focus. I can actually feel the muscles in my eyes contract and align my pupils. The the eye muscles give and I need to close my eyes and refocus. Also, once my eyes start seeing double I can’t refocus on the fly, I need to close my eyes and refocus (at least at the end of a long day at work).

It only works and short range but the range is incrementally increasing at a very slow pace and after a long day of coding I look like I’m insane. I also can’t focus on faces for some reason. I actually have to spend time re-training my eyes to focus after a long day and bear my eye muscles tightening to correct my focus. Still, I’m happy because at least now I have hope that with a little more practice I can keep my eyes aligned and maybe even lead a life with normal sight some time soon. I really don’t like the cross eyed look and double vision is hazardous for your health. They eye focus exercises seem to keep my eye alignment in check so we’ll see.

However, it’s a blessing in disguise because it teaches you the importance of focus. Focusing means seeing things correctly and for what they are. It’s the only way to move forward without going down the wrong path or injuring yourself.