Friday, January 25, 2008

Seein' Single!

Shortly after our twins were born, Elisabeth (who was 4 at the time) asked me why I always tilted my head to the side and closed one eye. I had no idea what she was talking about at first -- and then I realized that I had begun to see double and was trying to compensate for it.

I went to an optometrist who proclaimed that I had a severe vertical imbalance, probably having something to do with the birth of the twins, and he prescribed glasses with prisms in them. After that I immersed myself in raising four kids born within five years, with nary a moment to myself, so glasses and prisms were fine with me.

Fast forward about ten years. I'm getting pretty tired of wearing glasses and go to an ophthalmologist who diagnoses my problem as "fourth cranial nerve palsy" which led to a severe vertical imbalance, probably either caused or brought on by the twin pregnancy and birth. To make things worse, he tells me that I can't wear contacts and I can't have surgery, but also informs me that I'm now officially old and therefore I need reading glasses! So now I have TWO pairs of glasses -- one for reading and computer and one for distance, and I am forever switching the two. (I'm told that bifocals and progressive lenses won't work with my affliction, so I spend inordinate amounts of time futzing with my various pairs of glasses.) In business meetings and presentations, it's really ridiculous, with as much effort spent putting on and taking off glasses as on the content of the dang presentation! But I didn't think I had a choice, so I just dealt with the situation.

And that's how things stayed for years and years and years.

Until this week. On Tuesday I went to another new optometrist (because of insurance) in order to get an eye exam and update my frames. This optometrist spent a good amount of time with me, baffled -- as they always are -- about the severity of my vertical imbalance. Finally she tells me that she thinks there might be a solution to my problem -- surgery. No, I tell her, I was already told that surgery isn't an option. She suggests that I see her colleague, a surgical ophthalmologist... and that's where I went today.

And GUESS WHAT (she asks in all caps)? I will be having surgery in two weeks and after that I won't need any glasses at all except the generic Costco variety for reading! I am still in absolute shock! This whole eye and glasses problem has occupied a huge amount of time and energy for almost twenty years and the notion that one day I can just be through with it is amazing and phenomenal and delightful for me!

Delightful and scary, that is. This is not Lasik surgery. Instead, it is done at a hospital under general anesthesia and... well, what if something goes wrong? I know -- these are thoughts that anyone anticipating any surgery goes through, so I just need to deal and move forward and DO IT!

I've always had vision and I've always been focused, but now I can finally do it without spectacles!

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Blog Antagonist said...

Wow, that is so exciting! I had Lasik last year and it's still amazing to me that I can see without glasses. I was so blind. I was completely dependant upon them. I had glasses, contacts, prescription sunglasses, spare I have nothing. It's very freeing. I'm happy for you!

Anonymous said...

So cool!!! Remember that time when we were working in Seattle and you got new glasses- and didn't need to wear them briefly? That was so odd.

But wow- life without glasses. Very nice, congrats!


Jen said...

Oh, Carol, I'm right there with you. I also have a vertical imbalance, the two pairs of glasses, etc. I've also been told surgery isn't an option. And I have an appt. coming up... so maybe...

I hope all goes beautifully. I'll be sending good vibes your way!

swenglishexpat said...

Great news for you, fancy that, no glasses? I believe that there is a flaw in our human design. Why are eyes such a problem to so many?

Which specialist do you choose to believe? Or has there been medical progress? Second opinion? Yes, and third.....!

Seeing single will be doubly wonderful after all those years of glasses. I am sure you don't need any good-luck, it will all go smoothly. Ciao, "Bright Eyes". ;-)

Rositta said...

Yes,yes, yes, good for you. It's cool. I wish I could get rid of my glasses, maybe I'll try Lasik but I'm a chicken when it comes to pain. Very exciting news...ciao

Goofball said...

cool! Very good news!

Are you going to get both eyes in surgery on the same day? My dad had eye surgery in the past (my family suffers widespread from glaucoma) but they don't do both eyes on the same day in Belgium to avoid risk. But eye operations can be quite routine and fast. He's been off medication in the last 15 years now.

good luck!

Anonymous said...

I am very interested in the surgery you are talking about. I have the same problem and have been searching the internet and have never seen any surgery for a vertical imbalance. I have had the problem diagnosed for over ten years, but have probably had the problem much of my life, I was always on scoliosis watch as a small child when they would do the screening at school,since I too tilt my head to the left. I would love it you could contact with details about the surgery. I can be reached via email at

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