What Do You See?

I squinted at the Word document on my laptop while I drowned out the noise of Xavier University’s campus center. I sat back in my cushioned chair within the study area of the third floor. It was my last finals week as a senior in college.

I increased the document size to 200 percent. There. I could finally make out the words of my American Literature class essay. Had this diabetes diagnosis changed my vision forever? I had somewhat poor eyesight before being diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes a week prior, but I wore contacts on a daily basis. It never interfered with everyday tasks.

Second to my father, I am the only one in my family who needs glasses. Now that my mom is older, she’s turned to reading glasses, but both my younger brothers have perfect vision. I started wearing glasses at 16, just so I could see the white board in class. When I competed in cross-country races, I ran blindly (well not really, I could see in front of me just not at a distance).

In college, I made the switch to contacts. My pupils are so large it is impossible to drive without sunglasses, and the frames I propped over my regular glasses to shield the sun weren’t doing the trick. What a difference contacts made! But then four years later, they didn’t help at all.

After working on my paper, I retired to my on-campus apartment. I texted my boyfriend at the time. There was no such thing as a phone conversation. We developed a relationship based on texts. But I was 22 – this type of connection didn’t bother me.

I had to hold my then Sprint flip phone a foot from my face so I could read the texts. I typed blindly, hoping autocorrect would save me. I informed my boyfriend of this, and he laughed or more appropriately “LOL” at the idea of me squinting to see my own phone.

I prepared for bed and took out my contacts. I placed my phone next to my twin bed so I could see the red light in case he texted me back. Once I saw it, I picked up the phone, expecting to see the usual blurry haze, but instead, I read the words clearly. I held the phone at arm’s length to test my far-sightedness, but I could still read the text.

Was this possible? Had diabetes restored my 20/20 vision? I turned on the bedroom light and tested my newfound ability. I tried to read a small poster from the other side of the room. Bingo! Then I went into the living room and turned on the TV. Sure enough, from far away and up close, I could make out the closed captioning.

When I woke up the next morning, I half expected my crummy vision to return. But alas, I could still see without my contacts. No wonder they were making anything near me blurry. I shared this information with my family and friends. I was so excited to be able to see on my own again. No more annual eye doctor visits, no more expensive lenses, and one less hassle. Thank you diabetes!

Maybe it was the fact my blood sugars were all over the place upon my initial diagnosis? Maybe it was just a funny side effect of the insulin? But whatever it was, it didn’t last. A week later, my old vision returned, and I was back to the contacts. Since then even when experiencing severe highs and lows, my vision has not returned to that perfect state.

What a tease.

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