Magazine, website & books written by teens since 1989

Amblyopia This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

Unknown
   I never knew anything was wrong with me. It was the way I had always been. I tookone day at a time like everyone else. I saw what my eyes could see. I was fouryears old, and an energetic preschooler at Mrs. Macy's Mini-School. I wanted toplay dolls with my friends, eat cookies at snack time, and roam outside duringrecess.

One day, Mrs. Macy announced it was time to have our eyeschecked. When it was my turn, she led me over to the small plastic chair where Isat in front of a weird-looking machine. I rested my face against thebinocular-like lenses and a lady asked me to close my right eye and describe whatI saw. I described the animals, letters, and shapes inside the box. Then I closedmy left eye. What did I see? Nothing - well, a blur of colors - but mostly blackspace. They told me I would have to visit an optometrist.

After a seriesof tests and eye-drop experiments, they diagnosed me with amblyopia. Morecommonly known as lazy eye, amblyopia is a condition where eye muscles develop atdifferent rates, causing one eye to be very weak. It was the beginning of anightmare. Lazy eye meant a future of optical correction and humiliation. I wasforced to wear an ugly brown patch over my left eye - my good eye. By forcing myright eye to work, they hoped to strengthen it. Inside the box of patches werecute animal stickers to put on my patches. They may have temporarily boosted myspirits, but inside I knew I was still ugly. My classmates made that evident, andI endured years of constant torture.

One afternoon in first grade, wewere paired for a math activity. My partner was a small, dark-haired boy. Whilewaiting for the teacher, Jacob began to make fun of me. I bit my tongue as hehurled insult after insult. Fighting the tears that formed behind the tight,hideous patch, I clutched a pencil. He continued laughing. I could not controlmyself. I lifted my pencil high and stabbed it hard into his leg. Jacob screamed.The teacher gave me a discipline card and a long lecture. She did not understandwhy I was crying - nobody did.

I wore big, thick, bright pink glasses overthe patch. I also was given a pair of sunglasses. One day I placed my sunglassesin my cubby with my book bag and coat. The day was like any other. We did numberactivities, listened to story tapes, and played in the big, red, wooden house.When it came time to go home, I went to my cubby, carefully pulling out my coatand backpack. I looked in the space one more time. My glasses had vanished. In astate of panic I told the teacher. She thought I had misplaced them.

OneSunday morning a few weeks later, a girl walked up to us in church and said herlittle sister had my glasses, handing me the case. I opened it to find mysunglasses bent and broken. It was a cruel joke. I'll never understand why kidsstoop to such cruelty.

My optometrist finally decided the patch was notfixing my eye problems. My right eye was still nearly blind. Instead he gave me acontact to wear in addition to the glasses. They showed me how to pop it in,making it look easy. I remember standing in front of the mirror for hourspracticing, but the contact always ended up on the floor. I eventually asked mymom to put it in.

I have learned to deal with my eye problems. Thanks tomy ophthalmologist, optometrist, and parents, my right eye was saved from totalblindness, but is far from perfect. People have asked me what the world lookslike through one eye, but I have never known anything different. I justcompensate. For example, I try to sit in the front of classrooms and I do notspend hours in front of the TV or computer. My eyes have limitations. Years oftherapy with patches, glasses, and a contact lens have been difficult. I havetried not to allow these problems to discourage me. With professional care andfamily support, I have survived amblyopia.




This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




Join the Discussion

This article has 2 comments. Post your own now!

Laughternchoclate said...
Mar. 9, 2010 at 8:20 pm
What a little bi*ch, i wud hav done the same thing, cyber hi five
 
Sarah J. said...
Jun. 25, 2009 at 4:54 pm
My little brother has the same problem and was diagnosed when he was born. He doesn't wear the eye patch anymore because he hates it so we have given up on him and he might go blind. :(
 
Site Feedback