Focusing My Vision
by Joy Bach
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As I listened to the pastor, I followed along in the Bible…pen in hand taking notes. Suddenly, his words continued but my mind was stuck on the sentence he had just uttered. “What is your vision focusing on right now?”
If he only knew.
A few months ago, I began feeling like I needed to change eye doctors. I’ve learned to go with my feelings, so made an appointment for January with an eye doctor of whom I had heard very good reports.
Have you ever done the periphery test? You rest your chin on a little shelf; they block off the vision of one eye and then place a big machine in front of the open eye. The instructions are to focus on the green light and if you see a flash of light somewhere in the dome of that machine, you are to push the button on the cord they place in your hand. The test was to take only two or three minutes, but it seemed to take forever. I began to get a funny feeling, when I paused so long between times of pushing the button. Did I have a problem?
Apparently enough of a problem that I was asked to return for a more in-depth periphery test…one that would last seven minutes. That’s a long time to have your chin on the holder and one eye covered while focusing on that green light. Again, long periods of time elapsed between the pushing of the button.
More waiting for the results.
The diagnosis was that I had some blind spots in my eyes. The right eye was worse than the left one. I was asked to return for a third appointment with a specialist who only came to town once a month and tested eyes with a very special machine called an HRT. (I did take a moment to explain to the eye doctor that HRT stands for “hormone replacement therapy”. He smiled.) It’s like an MRI of your eyeball, taking thousands of little slices of images that become an accurate model of the inside of your eye.
This doctor asked me if I had been told I had glaucoma. No, I had not. But I didn’t care for the question. Exactly what was happening to my eyes?
Then came the day I was told what was wrong. I had too much pressure in my optic nerves, especially in my right eye. I was shown the pictures that indicated something called “cupping”, and a chart that showed where the optic nerve was pressing against the nerves to my eye, causing blind spots. More information was forthcoming. The blind spots were permanent, but further damage could be prevented by lowering the pressure in my eyes. That could come about with the use of eye drops at bedtime. I needed to put just one drop in each eye each night for the rest of my life.
The diagnosis was unsettling. But I could adjust.
We had plans to go out of town that weekend. I dutifully took my new prescription with me and placed one drop in each eye at bedtime. Had he mentioned that they were going to burn like this? After a few minutes the pain went away and we went to bed.
As I came to consciousness the next morning, my first thought focused on my right eye. It felt frozen in place. As I tried to move it, it ached. For 30 minutes I struggled with making my eye work. But as the day wore on, all was well. I wasn’t too keen on putting more drops in my eyes that night, but I also didn’t want any more blind spots.
It was a repeat of the night before. Since I was out of town, I decided to call the doctor first thing Monday morning.
He was puzzled over my reaction and suggested I not take the drops for a week and then try again. I thought, “But what about my pressure?” Were these my only choices?
When I resumed the drops, I had no more frozen, aching eyeball. Perhaps the problem had just been temporary.
Then I began to notice I was having trouble reading. As a bookkeeper, I look at a computer screen with numbers on it. I had to get close to the monitor and squint my eyes to see if that was a six or an eight. And then came choir practice. I couldn’t read the words on the video screen…and there seemed to be two choir directors; one above the other.
On Thursday, I placed a phone call to my eye doctor. My iPhone became an extension of me as I waited for his call back. Friday evening my husband and I went to a movie. I put my phone on vibrate, just in case. No phone call.
Monday morning I called the eye doctor’s office again. They said he had been out of town the previous week, but they would give him my message. Still no phone call that day. Tuesday morning I drove to the Vision Center. I was standing at the front counter, beginning to explain my problem when the doctor walked by. He had not yet received my message. He was very apologetic about not responding to my calls and took me right into the examining room. Removing my glasses, he had me place my chin in his little contraption to look at the letter chart. When he asked me to read smallest line I could see, I simply said, “Which chart?” I could see two complete charts…one above the other.
I had gotten new prescription in my lenses in January. It was only April and my eyes had changed that much? Again, I wondered what was happening.
I was told I had a muscle issue. New lenses were prescribed. It was explained that a prism is placed in the lens to refract what you are looking at so that you see only one. Sounded good to me.
Ten days later I received the call that my lenses were in. Leaving work early, I made sure I got there before they closed. All this squinting made my head ache.
It was truly amazing. The blurriness had disappeared. When I walked outside, everything looked crisp and clear…so clear that I had to put on my sunglasses. That’s when I realized that I hadn’t been wearing my sunglasses this spring. The loss of vision had happened so slowly I hadn’t realized it was happening.
I thought again of the pastor’s question. What was my vision focusing on right now? I instantly applied it to my life. My focus had been on my eyes. It was obvious I needed to take a clearer look at my life. Did I have a double chart in my spiritual life? Part of me saw God in control, but part of me saw me as the one who would take care of it.
Perhaps I needed a little prism in the lens of my life so I could see clearly again.
How’s your vision? What, exactly, are you focusing on? How many charts are you seeing? Have you slowly lost your vision, but haven’t realized it? Do you need new lenses? How about a little prism in them, to help you see clearly?
I believe that prescription is in a book we call the Bible. It will help us focus on the one true thing. We will no longer see double.
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What an amazing analogy, Joy - and what an experience. A bit long on the analogy, but what a message!
There are so many prompts in this short devotional, they really make me think and wonder about my own focus. Maybe it's time to make some changes in my priorities.
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