Today was a very good day. I think that I remember a similar pattern of adjusting to visual improvement which I experienced in 1992. At first things were very dim, and at times I was very sensitive to light. Gradually things would clear up. This process seems to be going a lot more slowly now than it did in 1992. However, I am definitely noticing some improvements. I am able to look at a surface with several objects lying on it and select one. At first I was unsure whether I was picking up the same object which I was looking at, but I am becoming more confident of this with practice. I am also noticing a few differences in color and some differences in shape. All of this is at a very close distance, but it is a fun thing. Food on a plate, paper wrappers, cassette tapes, tissues, coasters... The fascination just doesn't end!
Why has God given me this gift? I don't believe much of anything "just happens". My dad says that my tendency to analyze has to do with my personality type. But the point is that everything fascinates me. Since I was a little child, I have been fascinated with shapes, differences, how things work, etc.
When I began to struggle emotionally with vision loss this year, I also began to do research about my various eye conditions. I had taken a course in 1993 about the anatomy of the eye and eye conditions. I first went over all of my notes (and lamented the fact that I had sold my textbook back to the bookstore). Then I searched all the textbooks I had kept from other blindness-related university courses and obsessive shopping trips at various conventions for professionals in the field of blindness for information about the eye in general, ROP, or low vision.
Next I scoured the Internet, downloading the text of Web pages, making use of a free MedLine search to compile a huge list of articles, and even buying a book from a huge on-line bookstore called "Coping with Glaucoma". Much of the information in it was not very helpful to me, as it was designed primarily for the normally sighted person who develops glaucoma later in life and did not even touch on the issue of glaucoma being secondary to ROP. After compiling my huge list of articles, I tackled the on-line catalogs at the medical library in Houston and the Ruth Lily Medical Library in Indianapolis. So far Dad and I have hauled my scanner once to each of these libraries so that I could scan tons of books and articles.
Needless to say, I have learned quite a bit about the eyes and about ROP. I still have not learned much about glaucoma or the cornea. Neither have I stopped my quest. I firmly believe that I would not have gone on such a quest for information if I had not experienced the vision loss. As a result of the quest, I have a greater appreciation for a part of God's creation and a desire to share this appreciation with others. This desire has the potential to open a lot of doors for me, as my blindness always has: doors to help people understand blindness (particularly ROP), the eye, and vision; doors to help blind people to improve the quality of their lives, and doors to meet people who may want to know more about Jesus or to grow in their relationship with God. My blindness was no mistake.
In the same way, healing can open doors for me. People who are mentioned in the Bible as having been healed were often asked questions like, "Who did this to you?" "How is it that you were blind and now your eyes are open?" One of the consequences of their healing was that they found themselves in situations where they had to talk about Jesus, the healer. The fact that he could heal and had in fact healed was often the evidence pointing to his divinity and which led to people's coming to believe in the truth of who he was. My healing will require the same of me, and I hope it will result in people coming into that saving relationship with Jesus so that we can share heaven together.