Some time ago I wrote about one of my favorite songs, "I Can See Clearly Now." It was my "fight song" that saw me through some of the tough days in graduate school, and whenever it came on the radio, everyone in my car pool knew they had to be quiet so I could sing along:
. . . gone are the dark clouds that had me down,
It's gonna be a bright, bright, sunshiny day.
I saw the eye doctor recently, and he confirmed what I knew: I can't see clearly now. It's been less than a year since my last exam, and I'm "off" by two rows on the vision chart. That's a lot of change over a short period of time, he tells me. I know the small print has gotten much smaller.
Then he told me that cataracts have begun to grow in both eyes. He'll monitor them and when they're "ripe" enough they can be dealt with surgically. I imagine that will be a few years from now. I know it's a miraculous and highly successful procedure. I just didn't know I had them.
My grandfather had cataracts, and I recall the ordeal of his surgery when I was a child. He had to lie flat for many days, with sandbags on either side of his head to prevent movement. He had limitations after that, I believe--no lifting or heavy exertion. But the happiness of improved vision was worth it all for him.
I also have "redundant eyelids." Excuse me. I'm a writer, and I'm very careful not to be redundant. But it seems that, in visual terms, my eyelids are beginning to droop downward over my eyes and will gradually limit my upper field of vision. There is a simple surgery for that, too, when the time comes.
There was good news: the retinas and optic nerves are intact and healthy, and there's no sign of glaucoma. I can still legally drive without my glasses. It's just the reading - and reading is one of my passions - that's suffered the most.
So for now I'll use the prescription drops for dry eyes and wait for my new bifocals to come back from the lab.
Hey, bifocals were good enough for Ben Franklin. I'm fine with bifocals.
"Do you think you can put new lenses in these frames I have now?" I asked the doctor, and then I said, "now, where did I put them?"
"Uh, you're wearing them," he said.
I walked out of his office feeling like a little old lady.
"Now, where did I park the car?" I wondered.
Okay, I made up that part. It would been a good ending for the story, though.