What would your life be like if you could not see? Your eyes might be a small part of your body overall but they have a HUGE impact on how you live. Growing up I was acutely aware of just how important your vision is and not to take it for granted. My Grandfather was legally blind, he lost most of his vision due to macular degeneration around the time I was born. Although he could make out shapes and large high contrast images his life drastically changed forever when he lost most of his sight. He could no longer drive, read, and had to learn how to adapt to this “new” version of his life.
For me, it was just normal that Grandpa could not see like the rest of us as I had grown up with him without having his sight. From the outside it looked like he handled it with grace and was never bitter about the independence he lost. Reading the grocery ads and doing the shopping became a ritual he did with his sons. Books on tape from the CNIB was the way Grandpa enjoyed “reading”. But I will never forget the day I realized just how much noting being able to see altered his life.
I was in my teens and I don’t remember how we got to talking about sight, but I will never forget my Grandpa saying that he would trade 5 years of his life if he could have his sight back. This sounded crazy to me, how could one of the people I love most want less time with me. How could he be willing to give up 5 years with me, with the rest of our family? Missing 5 years of birthdays, Christmases, celebrations, graduations. But in that moment I realized just hoe much his sight meant to him, and how profoundly losing his vision had changed his life even if he didn’t show it. Although I had always appreciated my sight, it was not until that day that I had a deeper understanding of just how much being able to see means.
Part of not taking vision for granted is making sure you take care of your eyes. Finding small issues early on to help prevent eye damage and preserve your sight is so important. Did you know that 1 in 4 school aged children have a vision problem? Monkey is in senior kindergarten and being able to see correctly while at school can have a direct impact on learning. We took him for his first eye exam recently at the Optical Centre at our local Real Canadian Superstore just to make sure everything was OK with his vision. Eye exams are covered by OHIP in Ontario for children under 20 years old once a year. That means they are free for children up to 20 years old, and with the Loblaws Kids See Free Program, if your child does need glasses they can get a pair of select frames and lenses at no cost. So really there is no excuse not to get your children’s eyes checked as well. Check out my post tomorrow as I go through the steps and what to expect when taking your child for their first eye exam.
Remember you sight is precious, take care of your eyes.