Double Vision

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Early in 2023 while visiting my brother, I suddenly developed double vision. At first, I thought I had just strained my eyes and needed some rest, so I went to bed early. 

The next morning it was worse! I couldn’t walk properly and the double vision was making me nauseous. It is very disconcerting to see two of everything! 

I ended up going to Emergency at the local hospital, and after multiple tests—checking for stroke and diabetes etc which failed to find any obvious reason for my double vision—I was discharged from the hospital, with a patch over my left eye so I could see straight. I was advised to follow up with my GP when I returned home and get an MRI scan. My GP gave me the form for the MRI and referred me to a neurologist whose final diagnosis was isolated sixth cranial nerve palsy—which means they couldn’t determine a cause for my double vision (possibly a virus?) and I was advised it should get better on its own over the next several weeks. 

I am very thankful that this proved to be true and when I saw the neurologist again, six weeks later, my vision was back to normal. However, during those weeks my whole life was turned upside down.

Reflecting back on this experience I will share a few things I learned. Firstly, it has given me a whole new perspective on the challenges of vision loss. Even with one good eye simple tasks became much more difficult. Pouring water into a glass could be problematic! Routine tasks all took longer to do, and I needed more help, especially with shopping and appointments. I wasn’t confident to drive with one eye, so my husband became my personal chauffeur and I worked from home rather than going to the office. Even walking outdoors was difficult, especially on uneven surfaces, as my depth perception was affected. I started to wonder what it would be like if my eye didn’t recover and how that would impact my life. I love reading but with one eye that was harder to do as well, so the Bible on audio and other audio books became my best friends. I used larger fonts on my phone and computer screen to make it easier to read. I was grateful for the technology that allowed me to adapt and saw how important it is to provide these services. 

Secondly, it helped me to grow and heal emotionally and spiritually. Like all of life’s difficulties it was a time to reflect and bring to God my worries and fears, hopes and dreams, sadness and grief. Often one challenging time can connect to other things in our past—and resurface them—and this happened for me. It became a time for me to heal from some previous losses I hadn’t fully grieved. Jesus is so faithful and gracious to us in all of our trials, and He puts the right people in our path to help us, which in my case included a Christian counsellor. The promises of the Bible were very comforting and strengthening to me, reminding me that I wasn’t alone, and God was still in control. The whole experience deepened my spiritual walk as I depended on Jesus and allowed Him to comfort and heal my heart, while my eyesight was being physically restored.

Thirdly, this experience showed me how resilient I was. During my illness—even with one eye—I was determined to be as independent as possible. On the one hand it was humbling to ask for help when I couldn’t do some tasks alone but on the other, it was motivating as I learned to adapt and do things differently. The last thing I wanted was for others to feel sorry for me. I still went out in public with my one eye covered and told my husband I was a “pirate“. I didn’t care what others thought, I just wanted to keep doing the things I had always done. 

Finally, it reminded me to be grateful for all the blessings God brings to me each day and to focus on what I could control and not what I couldn’t control (which is easy to say and can be hard to do!) Being grateful also motivates me to do what I can to help others and to look at ways of improving services for those with any kind of vision loss.

CSFBHI may be able to assist you with alternate options such as large print or audio recordings of the Sabbath school lesson. Email or call +61 2 9847 2296. April 20 is Possibility Ministry Sabbath for the Seventh-day Adventist Church worldwide. 

Linda Thomas is a department assistant at Hope Channel, South Pacific.

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