I was born with Ocular Albinism which is a genetic condition where the pigment of the retina and the iris is reduced, which leads to light sensitivity and impaired vision. It is very rare in females [go me!] and, because it is not correctable, there is nothing I can do about it and it has been a pain my entire life. I was also born with esotropia [commonly called a squint] which was corrected by surgery when I was eighteen months old. However the squint has left my right eye significantly weaker than the left one which is apparently very common. I am also short-sighted and have been wearing glasses since I was very young.
So, I was born with several things wrong with my eyes and have spent years dealing with vision that is impaired and the issues that causes. The biggest of these is that I am marginal when it comes to being able to drive. I once failed a driving test because I could not read the number plate at the requited distance. It was very stormy and overcast that day and the lack of light did for me. As a result, I had to take another eye test and then send the result to the DVLA and then go in to the test centre and have the chief examiner for Wanstead take me out and get me to read a number plate after measuring out the distance. I passed, but it was very stressful and I was scared it wasn’t going to happen. As I’ve got older I have acquired more of the age related eye problems such as astigmatism and, a result, every time I go to the opticians I half expect them to say, oh dear, no more driving for you.
Yesterday I went for my first eye test in three years because I really need new glasses and where I often buy them online, I much prefer being able to try them on in person. This was a new opticians that is over the road from my work and which a lot of other council workers go to. I actually enjoyed the experience as, after I’d explained all the various ways my eyesight is fucked, I had a really interesting conversation with the optician about genetics and their role in Ocular Albinism. Of course the fact that he was happy to say I remained marginal but still fine to drive made me like him even more.
I now look forward to a new pair of glasses in the next couple of weeks which will be a nice change from my current pair that are broken and keep slipping off my face.
[I should point out that I can actually see and it’s just that I don’t get a very sharp image, especially at a distance.]