When sight begins to falter…

I’ve been having sudden flashes of “light” at the periphery of my vision; as I’d received a warning from my opthalmologist, in 2012, to go to him if ever it happened, I went immediately.

Yes, there has been retinal detachment in my right eye, but luckiy, it’s not accompanied by a tear, so it does not require surgery. However, there are developing cataracts in both eyes (a very slow growth process, though) and I have been advised a surgical procedure to dissolve and remove them.

I have been noticing just a slight lessening in the clarity of my vision over the past year, and difficulty in low-light situations.

I am now getting my insurance papers in order (quite a long and daunting task in India!) and seeing if I am eligible to claim insurance for this procedure. But meanwhile, I was pondering on how life might be if, instead, I had been told that I had a progressive condition that would lead to my blindness.

The

cortical homunculus

shows the amount of information about the world that we derive from our various senses, and parts of the body…the eye, and sight, play a major part in our sensory inputs.

I remember, while doing a training program for teaching blind and low-vision people, having an Orientation and Mobility session where we were blindfolded and asked to reach the main road, from the venue (Ramana Maharishi Academy for the Blind) where the training program was being held. The main road! Most of us couldn’t even make it down the stairs to the ground floor from our classroom, without falling several times, and suffering deep trauma about our ability to manage, and getting quite disoriented.

Everyone glibly claims that “those who are deprived of sight develop the other senses to a remarkable degree” but surely this cannot be true of every single person who loses sight…so I wonder how the world, and life, would change without the magic of sight. I am able to shrug my very slight discomfort off…but what must it be like for a person who knows that s/he will lose the ability to see?

It makes me grateful, all over again, for the wonderful gift of having a body and mind which are “normal” and do not need constant care. My thoughts go out to those who have to get along without one (or more) of their senses.

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