People always say how your life can change in an instant, sometimes for the better and other times, well, not so much. I experienced a moment in time that caused my life to drastically change course. One night, not long ago, the eyesight in my right eye was suddenly taken from me after a traumatic injury. When it was determined the vision loss would be permanent, I was left with so many questions that needed to be answered. No matter how desperately I needed to find those answers, I knew deep down they would only come with time.
When will I get used to this?
It is common for most people to assume because you can still see out of your sighted eye that once you adjust to the loss of depth perception, you’ll be OK. I’ve grown used to everybody thinking I have adjusted to this and we have all moved on and everything is fine, except it’s not fine.
There are so many variables that can determine how good or bad your vision will be on any given day, and these things can also have a direct impact on your mood. Your vision can be affected by the amount of light you are exposed to, the type of weather outside, how tired you are or how much stress you’re under. I have become comfortable with the fact that I am blind in one eye, but it can present differently from day to day and that is the part that frustrates me the most.
When will I adjust to the loss of depth perception?
For whatever reason, I did not realize the scope of the loss of depth perception until a few months after my accident. There was the inability to pour liquids into a glass without spilling it, and I bumped into my fair share of people and walls (still do)! Beyond that, the loss of depth perception was a bit scary. For example, oncoming traffic was always headed my way, and trees, signs and pretty much everything in the world looked flat. Still objects would all blend together while moving objects such as flying bugs and falling leaves seemed to appear much larger in size than they really were. I didn’t always understand what I was looking at, all I knew was that I was terrified of how my brain was now perceiving things.
As time went on I learned to slow down, take my time and just try to be very mindful of my surroundings. I still get caught off guard (pretty often, actually) when something doesn’t look quite right. I will stop and stare, trying to understand what I’m looking at and attempt to remember what it looked like before my vision loss.
When will things stabilize?
Medically speaking, the damage to my eye has stabilized. The healing process has been a long road that included many stressful doctor’s appointments. They were filled with fear, then hope, followed by devastation. The trauma caused damage that had a domino effect; some pieces fell quickly while others fell much later on. I’ve had to rush back to the eye doctor more times than I care to count in order to have new symptoms checked out. This entire experience has caused me to worry greatly about any change in vision I may now have.
How long am I supposed to be upset about this?
Losing sight in one eye is a big deal even though you still have eyesight in the other. I struggled for a long time about how long I should be letting this upset me. Feeling like I should just get over it already, I sensed those around me around me felt that way too. In reality, I lost a part of my body, and when that happens you need time to grieve. I also lost a huge part of my independence and who I was. Through it all, amazingly, I found a way to cope with the cards I’ve been dealt — but it takes time to get there. There is no clear-cut timeline; everybody’s journey is different.
What else is going to happen inside this damaged eye?
Along with my vision loss also came unstable eye pressures, vitreous gel detachment, constant floaters, flashing lights, spinning lights, brain confusion, night blindness and extreme light sensitivity. So for me, blindness has been like a bag of tricks. Just when I start to feel comfortable again, something new presents itself. Until it is checked out by the doctor, it creates swirling thoughts of uncertainty in my mind and the questions start all over again.
Losing vision can be a long, complicated road, full of fear, questions, setbacks and accomplishments. If you find yourself on this path, know there will be good days and there will be bad days. Some struggles pass quickly, while others will remain, maybe forever. Be patient with yourself; you will get to where you’re meant to be in your own time.