I am nearsighted.
Not your everyday, run-of-the-mill, I-can’t-see-the-bottom-line-on-the-eye-chart nearsighted; I instead am referring to objects further than six inches away appearing as a blurry mass. From the moment I rise until the last second before I go to bed, I must wear glasses. Should they fall and I can’t immediately find them, panic crushes me until I recover them. Without them, I am virtually blind. They feel as much a part of me as — quite literally — the nose on my face. I am fortunate however that my prescription allows correction to near perfection.
So, I became concerned when, of late, looking at light on dark, I have been experiencing “halos.”
Two examples: When the subtitles on the movie are white against black, the text is blurry. More problematic, when driving at night, although I can see clearly cars, roads, and signs; taillights and street lights lack the same crispness. It’s unnerving enough that I stopped going out after dark.
My father was a hypochondriac’s hypochondriac; he would solicit a second medical opinion when the doctor told him he was healthy. I don’t mean to make light of it; I point it out to somewhat explain my resistance to going to doctors; an irrational backlash to not being my dad. Therefore, for me to visit an eye specialist over my symptoms will shed some light (um, no pun intended) on how seriously I took this change in my vision and resultant alteration to my lifestyle.
If this scenario sounds familiar, you know where I’m going. If not, the cause of my optical degradation is cataracts. According to the Mayo Clinic, “A cataract is a clouding of the normally clear lens of your eye. For people who have cataracts, seeing through cloudy lenses is a bit like looking through a frosty or fogged-up window. Clouded vision caused by cataracts can make it more difficult to read, drive a car (especially at night) or see the expression on a friend’s face.” Approximately 200,000 people per year in the U.S. suffer from them.