Friday, May 7, 2010
On losing my vision
There are hitches. Without additional surgery (slitting the cornea, ugh) I have to choose between correcting my astigmatism and correcting my nearsightedness. High school classmate Judy Burke Kraynak warned me that the plastic lens does not adjust between near and not-so-near. If you don't choose a correction that, say, lets you read your watch, you will need to wear glasses for watch-reading. Choosing a correction for close-up vision means no astigmatism correction. Which to do?
(Left: An autumn hillside at Storm King mountain.)
I agonized over this for a couple days, then I realized that seeing clearly into the faces of people I love is really important to me. Imagine, holding a baby up close and not being able to focus on its face. (Reminder: babies are fascinated by glasses and want to grab them.) So I am going for the near vision. (Continues below.)
Without my glasses I live in a world nobody knows but me. Among other things, it's a world of shimmer and of melded moving colors. Light and shade have different meanings in this world. What I see as areas of light or shade may actually be the same color as their surroundings but a different unseen texture. Movement is different in this world; a train moving across the far valley doesn't penetrate it at all. A car moving toward me could be a tank, or a buffalo. Sun glittering on waters of a flowing creek is dazzling -- there's nothing like it!
So I've been playing with images trying to approximate some of the things I now see that I will no longer see. The image to the right is something of an approximation -- although now that I look closely, the trunks of the young trees are far too clear -- I probably shouldn't show them at all. But I wanted to show how astigmatism works too. At least in my case, it's almost double vision, or a shadow vision with a similar image adjoining the stronger image.
So, by a month from now, this singular, personal, private world will be gone from me, never to return. Surely this visual world has helped make me who I am! Who is to say that the nearsighted kid who gets called weird isn't really walking in a completely different world?