It has been almost forty years since I last saw the world without prescriptive care. At age nine, I remember one of a handful of times when I was taken proactively to see a doctor. On some level, it felt more like I was in trouble, but the only trouble was I didn’t do very well on my most recent elementary eye exam and the school nurse was worried. Soon I was fitted with cheap pink glasses and off to experience the world for my remaining days one lens parted in a new ocular reality.
Over the years, through excessive reading and computer work at the burgeoning of the high tech movement, with each worsening eye exam, my glasses got thicker, my contacts higher in their numbers. I was approaching legal blindness in my left, while oddly, remaining at near perfect vision in my right.
I made due with high fashion frames, colored contacts, a variety of brands, and a regular annual exam. Then something happened. When I first began a serious asana practice, each eye exam, my eyes improved. For several years, I reverted from 3.75 to 2.75 in one eye and kept the other eye to 1.00. To this day I thank three things about the yoga practice for restoring some part of my eyesight:
- Inversions, hanging upside down to flush more blood to my head
- Hormonal rebalancing resetting the eyesight
- Drishti, maneuvering a controlled gaze in many directions aided in strengthening my eye muscles
In spite of all the yoga goodness, I still could never fathom operating in daily life without assistance from eyewear: the little contacts holder on the edge of my sink; my Tom Fords or Pradas left somewhere intermittent about the house.
In the last six months my eyesight has death -spiraled, and it was super scary. Deteriorating rapidly- double fulltime client loads working as a Strategist and Communication Director, as well as graduate school and research had completely fried my eyes. It was a complete eyeball rebellion and I had to spend a few days after my first semester, eyes shut and legs up the wall.
But the reality of returning to the job prevailed, so I just converted to working all day typing with my eyes closed. Fortunately, I make few mistakes, so this was as productive as working eye-wide open. Example, I just typed this paragraph with shut eyes and only made one typo without compromising my speed.
My first thought was to get special glasses with blue light preventative film- love me my mitochondria. Then came nausea, burning eyes and migraines. It was a losing game and I was growing a bit desperate. At the end of this summer, it was as if my eyes were rejecting eyewear, so I did the unthinkable.
I liberated my eyes of all prescriptive care.
Guess what happened?
- Every misery went away
- No migraines
- My eyes are a bit dry, but they are happier and not tired
- My eyes are feeling air reach them
- The heavy bags under my eyes are soften (slightly)
- Driving and reading from a distance, has become manageable
- My eyes adjusted and feel stronger than ever
- I have scared the shit out of my eye doctor
- I pay attention more, and keep focused; yogi ninja tricks, so all good.
Two months have gone by and I always have glasses by my side, but seldom reach for them. Last weekend, I did a big test, and went to see a movie unaided. Yes, things were not crystal clear, but not nearly as blurry as I imagined either.
For the majority of your life I always did something one way, and one day decided to no longer do that. It’s small, but a bit of a personal revolution. It took me losing my sight to actually begin to see.
Is it the yoga? Or is it the free will, a determinant spirit, setting its own course? I wonder how much of anything we do is actually truly necessary, or just merely a resignation to the authority and advice of another?
How much of our own personal power and individual choice do we forfeit at any given point in our lives without much soulful consideration? In hindsight, now I feel like I did myself a disservice allowing my eyes to grow weak aided by optics and never focused on just caring for them. Diet, relationships, overworking, not sleeping, lack of exercise discipline, all the same sides of the coin; resignation, not resistance.
It’s not to say that I will never again wear glasses, but for now, I am enjoying the freedom, and at times the momentary panic, when I am about to leave the house and wonder if I forgot to put on the glasses for the moment I no longer need.