PLEASE NOTE: I take a good long while to get to the point on this one. I had never written about my eyes before so I played around with it. It’s slow at first but still very related to my doc work!
When you have a lazy eye, there are a couple of side effects that no one thinks they need to tell you about. First, introductions. They will never not be awkward. People will spend the whole time trying to figure out where you’re looking. Second, calling on people. Give up on your teacher dreams, every time you call on someone whose raising their hand and forget to name them, two people start talking. Third, Grayson Allen. When you meet him, he won’t be able to stop staring. He will walk past you while rubber-necking, trying to get a second look and you will have to stop yourself from running up and tripping him.
These side effects can be frustrating, but they are also understandable. We meet and connect with people through their eyes. When your eyes are like mine, you make it harder for others to form this connection. So people start to freak out inside.
Before we proceed, I have two requests. First, please do not feel bad for me. I am a white middle class male in the United States with supportive family and friends. My life is way too good—please save your feel-bads for someone else.
Secondly, don’t be mad at these people. I have to remind myself of this one. Don’t be mad at these people when they ask you how your eye is doing (I clearly have two and what kind of question is that?). Don’t get mad at them when they ask you to take the glass one out (dearest eight year old boy, please stop reaching, I’m very serious—it’s not glass, and even if it was…what?!). Don’t get mad at job interviewers when they asks which eye they should look at (he’s just trying to make you comfortable). Instead, be understanding. Your having a lazy eye is really hard for them so you have to be their support network. Let them know that they will be okay. We will get through this together.
What these people don’t know is that individually, my eyes are perfect. In fact, they match my class year: 20/20. What my eyes lack is the ability to collaborate. Honestly, I can’t really blame them—I hate group projects as much as the next eye.
This inability to collaborate has a scientific name: strabismus. It means that I can only see out of one eye at a time, but then they switch back and forth. The switching happens every couple of seconds. I can control it if I want to, but for the most part it’s involuntary.