How Being Blind in One Eye Affects The Way I See the World

Early Stages

Before I even turned two years old, an eye condition rendered me almost entirely blind in my left eye. A very early attempt at strengthening my blind eye forced me to wear a black eyepatch for a portion of my early childhood, and as a little pirate, I adapted. With a condition that mostly affects the elderly, I began to navigate through life. My impaired vision didn’t stop me from being a kid, making friends and flourishing. Around sixth grade, however, complications began to arise. My blind eye would water at random times - people would ask me if I was okay. My sensitivity to light had increased dramatically, and visits to an eye doctor became more and more frequent as time progressed. It felt like my eyes were conspiring against me.

The Progression

I had to visit a glaucoma specialist multiple times a month, whose methods included yellow numbing drops and unfortunate metal tools. For a time, I was taking five prescribed eye drops per day. Cosmetically, my left eye, which had only ever been slightly off if you were looking really closely, became a lazy eye, and it became difficult to even open it all the way. I dealt with extreme self-consciousness and the feeling that there was nothing I could do about what was happening to me. But again, I adapted, got through high school, and started college. My obsession with not being judged too harshly and trying to hide my eye has made it really difficult for me to listen to people who nitpick other people’s appearances down to the tiniest things. I know what it’s like to not look normal and to worry about it constantly.

Fear of Driving

My fear of driving has made me, a freshman, do in-depth research on cities in the U.S that I can move to and live in without having to drive after graduating. Getting behind the wheel of what I came to see a giant death machine is simple for basically anyone with two fully functioning eyes, but when you have a bigger blind spot, everything is just a bit harder. I lack stereoscopic vision, and my depth perception is skewed. Although I am legally allowed to drive after proving that my vision in my right (non-blind) eye is sufficient and taking the normal steps, the experience of being on the road brings fear and ramped-up anxiety. Despite this, I have my permit and am working on the confidence and skill needed to get my license.

Realizing How Fortunate I Am

Millions of people are fully blind and never have and never will see colors or the faces of family members. I simply cannot see in one eye, and my physical appearance is affected by it. I am stuck in that world and I struggle with it every day, but there are much worse worlds to be stuck in, and there always will be. I can walk and navigate on my own. I am lucky. But looking into the mirror and trying to cover half of my face with my hair, it doesn’t always feel that way. I’m looking into prosthetic contact lenses; I would give almost anything for my eye to be and look normal, for it would change what I dislike about myself as well as many of my mannerisms. However, I constantly remind myself of what I can contribute to the world, of my long-term goals and the many things that I get out of bed every single morning to pursue.