Seeing the World Through Different Eyes
Everything was just a tad off focus – like I couldn’t get my eyes to look forward no matter how hard I tried. I asked my mom for advice, not thinking anything of it. She figured it was allergies, gave me an Allegra and sent me on my way after I convinced her I didn’t need to see a doctor; I felt better after that. My eyes returned to normal, life went on. I left for college two days later.
Turns out, I wasn’t fine and things did not go back to normal. About a week into my sophomore year, I woke up one morning and had no control over my left arm. I found this out when I went to put my contact lenses in the morning of my first day of work, at my first real job, and my hand shot right past my face. I thought it was weird, but assumed I was just tired or having a “me moment.” So, off to work I went.
That was the beginning of my downward spiral with MS – I thought loss of mobility and strength was my first symptom; it wasn’t. It was the moment my eyes wacked out on me.
To this day, the most irritating symptom I continuously experience is the loss of visual focus. I’ll go to read and I just can’t. I try to do a task and I can’t because I can’t see well enough. It feels as though my eyes are going cross and there’s nothing I can do to help it.
This is one of those symptoms I feel is rarely talked about. It may not be as alarming as losing the ability to use my dominant hand or walk normally, but it’s incredibly frustrating and does absolutely impact quality of life.
I always made the joke that I was like a bat because my vision in general is just poor; introduce MS and the whole world turned upside down (almost literally). More often than not, I see the world through wavering, blurred vision. It’s almost like constant proof that MS exists and it is indeed inside of me. I am fortunate enough to preserve my quality of life due to a nutritionally dense diet and frequent exercise, but it is within the moments of weakness that my condition comes to fruition. I am reminded of my MS in the moments where I cannot see; the moments where I truly feel vulnerable. I work hard to maintain my quality of life and the moments where my symptoms take over do not only act as a reminder of what I’ve been through, but humble me to realize what I’ve managed to overcome.
It’s okay to be down for the count sometimes – we can’t all be “on” at all times. Just know, at the end of the day, you are not fighting this battle alone.
Editor’s Note: If you would like more information on vision and MS, visit the National MS Society’s website.