When someone thinks of a handicap, they immediately picture someone in a wheel chair (or golf). There are many ways a person can be handicapped. Perhaps they have lost the use of their legs, or they are missing an arm. Basically when the use of any of your basic human functions is hindered, you have a handicap. The ones I listed above are more serious than the lame handicap that was bestowed on me at birth: I was born with a cataract in my right eye. While most people can have this corrected by wearing a contact the first few years of their life, my parents opted to try for a surgery that did not correct mine.
While my situation is certainly not what someone would think about when they hear the word “handicap”, it certainly is… different. There are a lot of interesting experiences living with limited vision in one eye. For example…
No One Knows Where I am Looking
A man walks into a virtually empty bar and goes to order a drink. The bartender goes over and asks “What can I get you?” The man stares at him blankly. The bar tender asks again, “What can I get you sir?” The man looks confused and slowly looks behind him to see if maybe the bar tender might be talking to someone else, but much to his surprise there is no one behind him. He looks back at the bartender who is now pointing directly at him “YES sir, what can I get YOU?” “OH!” the man says looking confused. “I’ll uh… I’ll have a Bud Light…” The bar tender obliges and the man walks away, confused as to what just happened.
That is a story from back when I was a bar tender, and I wish I could say that was a one-time occurrence. That exact situation would happen to me once MINIMUM once a night. I have had a number of jobs that dealt with the general public, and that same thing would happen to me all of the time.
That’s because not only do I have limited vision in my right eye, it is also “lazy” (the correct medical term for it is “amblyopia”, but screw that noise). When you don’t “use it” you “lose it”, and the “it” in this situation is the muscles that control my eye. Imagine what your arm would look like if you never moved it. That is my eye. Depending on the position of my head, where I am looking, how tired I am, or how much I have had to drink, it can be really bad.
In my experiences, it’s almost always men that have no idea where I am looking. In fact, most women tell me “they can’t even notice it”. Whether they are being genuine or sparing my feelings, one thing is for sure: guys have no problems pointing it out. On one such occasion, a man I had never met before literally say “Holy shit dude! I had no idea where you were looking!” Yup. Good times.
People Have the Same Reaction When They Learn About My Eye
For my entire life people have always been intrigued when they find out I am partially blind. They immediately ask the same question: “What can you see out of your bad eye?” Before, my response would always be very similar: “It’s very, very blurry.” But I have recently figured out the perfect way to describe it: It is like opening your eyes under water.
Describing it does not satisfy anyone though. They need to see if for themselves. They have to put me through a series of tests to see exactly how little I can see out of my eye. That’s where the “how many fingers am I holding up” test comes into play.
People have been putting me through the eye combine ever since I can remember. The funny thing about it is NO ONE is original. Their “test” always seems to have one of two answers. They either hold up two fingers, or they flip me off. Every. Single. Time. When I say the answer they assume I am exaggerating my lack of vision. In reality, they are just very un-original. Thankfully now that I have figured out the perfect way to describe it, I never have to do this again.
I Don’t Have Depth Perception
Depth perception is pretty great. It allows you to be able to tell how close or far away something it, and it allows you to enjoy 3D rides and movies. However, you need two working eyes to experience such a phenomenon.
“Big deal,” you might be thinking. “3D isn’t that great anyways”. I agree. I don’t see the draw of it. But given the choice between seeing 3D, and seeing essentially the blurry mess that you see when you don’t have you glasses on, I would rather see 3D. When it comes to movies they always have a 2D option available and even when they don’t, the technology has gotten good enough that I can sit through a 3D movie and not want to throw up. However that was a different story when I went to Florida and most of the 3D rides were an instant headache for me. The ones that worked were pretty awesome, but the ones that did not work really sucked (I am looking at you, Back to the Future: The Ride)
But 3D can be avoided entirely. What CAN’T be avoided is being able to judge the distance of an object. For example, when it comes to catching a ball or any other projectile thrown at me, 90% of the time I will embarrass myself. Even if it’s something as simple as someone tossing me their car keys, there is a good chance they are going to bounce off my hand while the thrower wonders how anyone can drop such an easy throw. The reason is because I have no idea where the object is.
While this can be minor (it’s a great reason/excuse as to why I am terrible a sports) there was a time where it was pretty serious, and that time was when I was learning to drive. When I first starting driving on my own I got into roughly five fender-benders almost immediately. I have since adapted to my lack of depth perception, however I can definitely tell passengers are afraid to ride in a car that I am driving. But to me this is not the craziest part of only having one fully functioning eye…
My Good Eye Seems to Constantly Be In Danger
Let me show you something. Here is a picture of my good eye:
Now let me point our something you might not have noticed:
What you are looking at is just some of the many close calls I have had with losing my good eye. Those are just the instances that left scars. Those scars were caused from seemingly normal things like getting sucker punched behind a seedy bar, to the most absurd situations possible. In one particular instance, my friends and I were using a water balloon launcher and I was the…er… launcher? Anyway one of the people holding the handles let go, and the handle came firing at my face, roughly an inch away from my good eye. And this is just one of many “Holy shit! I almost became completely blind!” moments I have experienced throughout the years. This is a constant occurrence. My bad eye only has only had one injury to date, and that was when my friend flicked a beer bottle cap into it. I don’t believe in a higher power, but if there is one, they really have it out for my left eye. That or they are constantly telling me to stop doing stupid shit.
Do you have an interesting quirk, condition or ailment that has changed your life? Let’s hear about it! Leave your comments below!