The day before my 21st birthday I found out what was wrong with me. Why I squinted and struggled in school all semester, why light suddenly bothered me, why I kept missing the tennis ball.
Keratoconus. I try not to Careatoconus.
I tried to live my life with no excuses, never letting my vision limit my potential or hold me back from achieving my goals. I wore the scleral lenses, no matter how much they hurt or how red my eyes were. Limited vision is better than no vision I told myself.
I went to career recruitment events with red eyes and I was always insecure that the recruiters thought I was high. Professors called on me to answer questions on the board that were too small for me to read, even when I sat in the front row. I had to make excuses to my friends why I could never drive at night or why I had to so frequently fix my contacts (bubbles).
Awkward situations, uncomfortable situations, I didn’t ask for situations. The hour drives to contact fittings and ophthalmologist appointments. The halos and headaches. Cornea scratching and itching.
Is it getting worse? What do you think I should do? Two years and seven ophthalmologists later I have never really received a straight answer. They told me maybe Intacs, so why not? No change. Oh, remarkable change in the last six months, what do you recommend? Hmmm, maybe its time for the cornea transplant. Why not? It has been three months and time will tell.
I’m moving to a new city soon, with a new job. Starting over is hard for everyone, but my limited vision makes me scared for the future. Will the long hours of public accounting be too strenuous for my eyes? Do I have someone to depend on if something happens to my vision? Will I embarrass myself in the professional world by not being able to judge depth?
Though keratoconus has complicated my life in more ways than my closest friends and family even know, I have hope. I believe that one day I will see better than I do today, with less pain. I have hope that those around me will be understanding as I open up to them about my vision journey. I have hope that one-day scientists will know definitively what causes this disease.
The above story was shared by Grace Hudgins.