Myopia and Me

Do you remember looking across the classroom, looking at the clock and thinking “How much longer till this wretched day is over?” Your stomach growls with an anxious temper because today was mystery meatloaf day in the cafeteria, and you cautiously decided to take a pass on that unsavory meal. How many times did that happen to me? Possibly more often than not… except for one thing - I could never see the numbers on that clock. My mother always told me that those who sit at the front of the classroom learn better and are the smartest. With my mother’s words of wisdom, and her stern glare she often projected, engraved in my mind, I always made it my mission to sit at the front of the classroom. Nevertheless, those numbers on the clock were awfully indiscernible. Perhaps the clock was just too far up on the wall for my little eyes to see it? I recall the dull smudges and smears of the black dry-erase marker on the white board in biology class, when my lab partner asked me to read the instructions on the board so that we could successfully dissect a frog. “What instructions?” I asked. “I only see spots.”

It was then, when a trip to the eye doctor’s office became a life-changing milestone. “… something, something, something, you need glasses…” was all I could understand when Dr. Smith diagnosed me with myopia. “Am I going to die from this?” I flailed in a panicked fashion. Dr. Smith just smiled with a calm demeanor, which reassured me that it wasn’t a death sentence. What is myopia? In laymen’s terms, it is nearsightedness. This simply means that we’re able to see “crystal clear” up close or near, but have difficulties seeing things off at a distance. In my case, that clock on the wall in school. A more technical way of putting this condition is when light enters the eye but doesn’t focus on the retina. Instead, the entering light focuses in front of the retina. The retina is a layer of the internal eye with light-sensitive cells that transmit impulses to the optic nerve, which then take it to the brain where visual images are formed and interpreted. So, if light isn’t focusing on the retina, these impulses sent to the brain are interpreted as blurred or fuzzy images.

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After a decade or so, my glasses have literally become an extension of my being -  an indispensable appendage and safety net. Though you may not think much of it, Dr. Smith saved my life. I now think back and ponder if life would’ve been any different if I wore glasses prior my high school years (insert pensive emoji here). What if the love of my life was in my first-grade class but my myopia caused me to miss them? I suppose that’s another story for another time. For now, I go about my days sporting the latest trends in frames and glasses from Premier Eye and Vision because life is better when it’s crystal clear!

The American Optometric Association website holds a wealth of knowledge on the subject of myopia.

Thanks for reading!

- Jeff Hernandez, Lead Technician, Premier Eye and Vision