I used to take for granted my excellent vision. That’s been the case far longer than my vision has been, in fact, excellent. Back when my eyeballs were younger–younger, and more agile—I didn’t really give my vision a lot of thought. I didn’t have to. It was just…there.
I’m finding it takes my eyes longer and longer to adjust from short distances to long and vice-versa. It’s annoying when I’m trying to read an ingredient list in the grocery store and then look up to see what else is on the shelf. It takes a moment while my eyes are refocusing. I didn’t used to experience that…they were always perfectly focused on whatever I chose to look at.
It’s actually a little disconcerting. It’s almost as if you’re looking at life through a video camera that can’t quite keep up with its subject. And it took me a while to realize that was what was going on.
The only time I could remember noting that focusing was more of a challenge was when I’d been getting happy with the cocktails as a Umass student, and at the random wedding here and there. So when it first happened while I was driving a few years ago, it kind of freaked me out. Something felt off, I just didn’t know it was my vision.
It would catch me off guard—I’d be driving along on a highway, and I’d switch my sight to look at the clock and then back at the road. It took forever to refocus, but I didn’t realize that–all I would do was think, “Whoa. Now I feel weird. That was freaky.” As it happened more and more frequently, it made me panic. Eventually I stopped driving on highways altogether. Not because of my vision—oh, no. I hadn’t made the connection yet. I had effectively trained myself to panic when I got on the highway.
I thought I wasn’t in charge of my car anymore. That I couldn’t respond quickly enough to an unexpected change. I felt like I needed to build more anticipation time into my driving habits so that I wouldn’t feel so sketchy while I was behind the wheel.
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I didn’t connect that sketchy feeling to my eyesight. I believed that I was simply nervous about highway driving for some inexplicable reason. Xanax has since helped me overcome that little issue, so happily, highway driving is no longer the terror-inducing experience that it was for several years.
What I really needed was a vision test. And I seriously only realized this just the other day. I was looking at some jewelry up close and something caught my eye. I looked up and out the door to my deck and slowly, my eyes refocused. I looked again at the beads in my hand, and out again at the deck. Same thing—both times I changed what I was looking at, and both times I watched as my eyes slowly I refocused.
It took that long for light to dawn on marble head. This eyesight thing? Kind of snuck up on me. Yes, it was under my nose for years, (or is that above my nose?) but I’m only really just coming to terms with it.
Now I’m left to wonder if there’s anything else that has gone all to hell, and I just haven’t realized it.