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May is Healthy Vision Month and I certainly have my own story to share when it comes to bad vision and bad decisions when it comes to eye health.
Today, as a 36-year-old, my vision is OK, but not as perfect as it could be had I made some better decisions as a child.
When I was growing up my mom tried to get me to wear one of those eye patches to correct one of my eye’s vision. You can see a photo of me with the patch with this post. That’s my grandma with me.
I wasn’t too pleased so I didn’t wear that patch too much. I was kind of surprised that I was even able to find a photo.
I’m sure my mom and others then told me the potential consequences, but I wasn’t listening. Years went by and my vision was so-so. I was able to play high school football at a high level and even got a scholarship to play for the Iowa Hawkeyes of the Big 10. But the childhood decision to not wear that patch years earlier did affect me.
I’m sharing this today as another example of how we can share our authentic stories in a way that might help others learn from our experience.
My eye doctor explained the situation to me like this:
The patch trains the eyes to look at an image together in unison. This training can only happen early in somebody’s childhood – before age 5 or so. Today, there’s no way for me, she explained, to make major changes.
I did make one change a couple of years ago when I had surgery at the University of Iowa and the surgeon moved one of my eyes out a bit. They now move in parallel unison and that procedure helped my vision some. But it couldn’t do what the patch would have done years ago.
Of course, I see my eye doctor at least once a year, and maybe even more importantly, have put my oldest daughter on a regular check-up schedule. She may end up having perfect vision, but I’ll try to do whatever I can to help.
Today, I hear that children don’t even have to wear one of those ugly patches anymore and that other procedures can keep our daily appearance intact. Thinking back, it was all about appearance. I didn’t want to look different and that patch did just that. I didn’t understand the long-term impact.