The eyes have it


Azalea R. Bolton - Storyteller



These past couple of weeks I have spent a lot of time sitting around — mostly watching TV. Week before last, I had a tumor removed that was in my eyebrow. I didn’t realize beforehand what an affect that surgery would actually have on my eye itself. I knew I would lose part of my eyebrow but that didn’t really bother me — after all, that was only hair. What I didn’t realize until the day after the surgery was what a shiner I was gonna have. My eye was so puffy I could hardly see out of it and the whole left side of my face was black and blue. I looked like I had gone a couple of rounds in the boxing ring and had lost the fight. Needless to say, I didn’t get out of the house for several days because I knew I was going hear things like: “What happened to you?”

During those days that I was in the house, I didn’t even indulge in one of my favorite pastimes, which is reading. Every time I tried to read any at all, my left eye felt like it was in protest and sometimes it felt as if I was having muscle spasms around it. It didn’t take long at all for me to decide I needed to put my reading off until my eye got a lot better. I certainly didn’t want to take a chance on damaging my eyesight.

My husband had three uncles who lost their sight. Two of them had a genetic disorder that caused them to gradually lose their sight and the other one lost his sight because of glaucoma. Then, I have an uncle who has lost much of his ability to see because of macular degeneration.

Have you ever thought about how devastating it would be to lose your ability to see? I suppose all of that sitting around made me realize just how important our sight really is. Without it, we can’t read, can’t drive, and the list goes on and on.

I can’t help but remember the story in the Bible of blind Bartimaeus, found in Mark 10:46-52. He cried out loud for Jesus to have mercy on him and then when Jesus asked what he could do for him, Bartimaeus replied: “Lord, that I might receive my sight.” Jesus then told him to go on his way because his faith had made him whole. We can only imagine what a difference this miracle made in the life of Bartimaeus who had apparently never been able to see.

A definition of “eye” is an organ of vision or of light sensitivity. Our eyes can work together or independently; each having a lens (which focuses light that falls on it) towards an internal photo-sensitive retina from which nerve impulses are sent to the brain. There are many parts to the eye such as: cornea, pupil, iris, lens, and optic nerve. All of these parts are important and need to function properly for us to have good eyesight. If any of these parts are damaged it could lead to possible blindness.

I would think it would be hard for anyone to adjust if they had a sudden eye injury which resulted in the loss of sight in one or both eyes. Even having to rely on glasses or contact lens is a minor inconvenience compared to losing your sight altogether.

The loss of an eye also makes a very big difference to an animal and its ability to navigate around obstacles. A good example of this was a hunting dog that my husband acquired. It had somehow lost sight in one eye and its prior owner said that the dog was still able to run rabbits as well as it did before. The problem was, when my husband tried running it with the other dogs, it ran straight into a tree.

I’m thankful for the ability to see green leaves in the summer and yellow, orange, red and brown ones in the fall. Also, to be able to see birds swoop down to catch an insect; to see a beautiful butterfly as it reaches in to get the nectar from a flower; and finally, to be able to see the clouds up in the sky as they change shapes from moment to moment.

Sometimes, we might actually see things that we wish we had never seen. That happened to me back when I was a teenager. We lived just a hop, skip and jump from my grandparents and thought nothing about running up on the porch, opening the door and yelling out: “Grandmother, where are you?”

One day when I came in from school, I had something on my mind that I wanted to talk to my grandmother about. I walked across our yard and started up the steps at their side porch. Just as I reached the top step and reached out my hand to open the screen door; something caught my eye. My eyes had adjusted just enough that I was able to see someone standing there inside the screened-in porch. That one look was enough to cause me to turn around and practically run down those steps and back to our house. You see, that someone I’d seen standing there was my Granddaddy (stripped down to just his underwear) and he was washing off right there on the porch before he went into the house. Believe me, that is not the way you want to see your Granddaddy!

So you see, there is such a thing as not seeing well, but there is also such a thing as seeing way too much!

Azalea R. Bolton is a resident of Richmond County, member of the Story Spinners of Laurinburg, and member of the Richmond and Anson County Historical Societies.

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Azalea R. Bolton

Storyteller

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