What a Wonderful World!

I was thirteen years old and was doing well at school until a problem arose. I was having difficulty reading the blackboard. It was gradual but noticeable, and I really didn’t understand what was happening. When I mentioned it to my Mum, though, she told me I probably needed glasses. 

Now it suddenly made sense. Up to this point, I had always thought of glasses as things that other people wore. 

While waiting for my optician appointment, I asked my masters, somewhat embarrassedly, if I might sit in the front row. Now I could see the blackboard. Soon afterwards, I had my eye exam and then got my first pair of glasses. I really didn’t like the idea of wearing glasses, presumably for the rest of my life, but even so, WOW! I never realized the world could look so clear. The blackboard was no longer just readable from the front row but was crisp even from the back. Every detail was visible. To this day I remember being amazed that Mr. Hargreaves, the Latin master, had a detailed face. His jacket even had individual fibers. 

And so, I lived with glasses for many years. There were drawbacks, of course. Cycling in the rain, for example, was hard. Unfortunately, glasses don’t have windshield wipers. 

Life continued, in my bespectacled way, till my forties. Then, gradually, another problem emerged. I started having trouble reading. I had entered the bifocal era of my life! 

As most older people know, the first few weeks of wearing bifocals result in extreme stress, verging on insane despair. Walking downstairs was a particular challenge. What was the point of seeing better if I ended up dying from a broken neck? After a while, though, I got used to wearing what were in effect two different pairs of glasses simultaneously. In fact, miracle of miracles, I didn’t even notice that I was wearing them. Later, I graduated to trifocals with ease. 

For several years, the vision department of my life continued without problems. But have you ever noticed that eventually something always pops up to disrupt you when you have become thoroughly used to something? So it was that after I entered my sixties I was soon, and inevitably, attacked by cataracts. “Attacked” might be a slight exaggeration. Still, when, during a routine checkup, my optometrist mentioned the word “cataracts,” I felt I was being propelled, forcefully, into my dotage. 

Something beautiful happened, though. The ophthalmologist did not operate on both eyes the same day. The surgeries were a week apart. This meant that for one entire week, I could compare the change by first closing one eye and then the other. The difference was amazing! First, I closed my right eye and looked at the sky, and it appeared as it normally did. Then I closed my left eye and looked at the sky through my right. I remember saying to myself that the sky cannot possibly be that blue. The old sky was so gray, so dull. Yet I had been looking at it all those years with no idea of how much color—beautiful, gorgeous color—I was missing. The world was far more vibrant than I could have known. Cataract surgery, in which they replace the old dulling lens in the eye with a state-of-the art manufactured lens, restores clarity to the vision. But it also restores color vision. I now had the color perception of a four-year-old. Pass me the crayons! 

My optical journey was not quite over. The capsule that holds the eye lens can sometimes grow cloudy. My optometrist recently noticed that this was happening to me. I had a procedure in which a laser clears away that part of the capsule that is obstructing clear vision. Once again, this entailed two visits, meaning that in between the visits, I could compare the lasered eye with the non-lasered eye. It wasn’t the dramatic change that followed cataract surgery, but things looked crisper. The details stood out. 

It is now time to get a new pair of glasses. I am also going to clean them more often, because—sad to say—I am lazy that way. More than anything, though, I am going to make a point of enjoying, and feeling grateful for, this beautiful world the Lord has given us. Not all eye problems can be cured so easily. Some people are blind. I am fortunate, so fortunate. What a wonderful world indeed. Thanks be to Him!


  1. Kathy Wyncoll October 27, 2023
  2. Angela Havel October 25, 2023

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