Vision is one of those senses that we take for granted. We wake up each day, rub the crud from our eyes, and glance around the room. “Another day,” we tell ourselves, as we think about what is to come. There are several – perhaps dozens – of concerns running through our minds as we prepare for the day. Nowhere on that list is a concern about our vision. We just assume that our eyes will continue to serve us faithfully.
What if they didn’t? What would you do if you suddenly lost sight or suffered an eye injury?
Recent trips to the ophthamologist reminded me in a blunt sort of way just how fragile the eyes can be. I had been seeing flashes in my right eye, which I knew was not normal. Long overdue for an eye exam anyway, I went in. The diagnosis: vitreous detachment.
In layman’s terms, that means the jelly-like substance inside the eye detaches from the retina. By itself that’s not a problem. But when it detaches, the goo can also tear away retina cells. That’s bad. As in really bad.
I injured my left eye at age 10 while playing with a piece of wire. Thankfully I lost only the lens in that eye. I still have vision, but I wear a contact lens to see normally. Ever since then I’ve been really leery when working with wire. With this latest incident – involving my good eye, no less – I am reminded of how important it is to take care of the eyes.
Remember to wear safety glasses when using power tools. Even some non-power tasks, such as pounding or hammering, can cause splinters to go flying. Don’t think it can’t happen simply because you haven’t been injured yet. It takes just a tiny fraction of a second to damage an eye permanently. Cover your eyes with something, even if it’s just a pair of sunglasses.
Certain sports, like racquetball, are hazardous to the eyes. Make sure you wear certified goggles while playing.
Be mindful of changes in your vision or odd symptoms. Flashes, blurriness, tunnel vision, and others are signs of something potentially wrong. Get to a specialist immediately. Many problems can be controlled with treatment, but once the damage is done, any vision loss is permanent.
Protect your eyes, and they will carry you through life. Listen to someone who’s experienced eye issues at various times: Do not take your eyesight for granted.