Reflecting on That Magical Hall of Mirrors.

If you’re sitting in a coffee shop and reading this article, then you’re blessed with good eyesight or, with corrective glasses, you still have that same gift. But have you ever wondered about your eyes, those balls of jelly, what it is about them that make you able to see and also what it must be like when glasses can’t do it for you?

In a nutshell, it all seems to be about light and reflection and, after having lost my eyesight on Christmas Eve in 2010, and having to wait until the following April to see almost as well as I did before, I get the strangest feeling of that ‘Hall of Mirrors’ that used to delight the oldest of us when we visited the shows at the seaside resorts, when our parents took us away for the day. In one mirror you could see yourself as a ‘page three’ shape, though the real you would need to lose a couple of stone and yet, in another, you could see what overeating could result in. Others offered a delight of strange shapes and the experience gave you a chance to laugh at yourself and at your friends and family. It was a simple pleasure worth having.

Bad eyesight that cannot be corrected takes the simplest of things away from you, things you didn’t really think about before. Descending stairs blend into one, contrasting floor tiles look like steps and you proceed with caution, the computer and the supermarket are definitely out, as the glare (what glare, I hear you ask) may prove crippling and the housework (every cloud has a silver lining) becomes difficult. You might pass friends in the street, only to be judged as unsociable and, as regards to travelling alone, what was once an independent act, now becomes a perilous journey. Independence slides away from you and your confidence finds a new but lower level. Those jelly balls might be the windows to the soul but they are also the levellers of life.

We all know that we don’t appreciate what we’ve got until it’s gone and that should make us appreciate health and safety regulations, rather than hate the time they take to implement, making life slower and, on occasions, less fun. After all, didn’t we find it fun to take the odd risk, rather than think sensibly? Well, those of us who didn’t do any damage to ourselves.

Maybe health and safety for eyes goes beyond wearing protective glasses. That’s why opticians are there and don’t forget the all-important ophthalmologist who can look inside your eye, spin it round in his own hall of mirrors, take a cross-section view without resorting to scissors or knives and maybe even see a trace of your family’s eyesight history at a glance. That glance could allow corrective action before there is a need for curative exploration.

We spend a lot of money on cars, as we always want one better than the last one yet, when it comes to health, we think about the cost. I’m still trying to work that one out but caring for your own health should be given the number one place on your busy agenda. Once that’s addressed, everything else falls into place.

Every morning when I open my eyes, I realise that I can see. Having been without it for that short period of time makes me appreciate just what I’ve got. The next time you’re sitting in the coffee shop on route to wherever you have to go, and taking a moment to do a little reading while you have your cuppa, remember to appreciate those wondrous jelly balls, as you can’t replace them for newer models!

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