Books had ruined my eyes, That’s what the neighbors said. I doubted that. I could see perfectly well Even after hours and hours with Black Beauty, or Sherlock Holmes, or Alice in Wonderland, or Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, or At the Back of the North Wind, my eyes felt fine. The words remained as clear as ever, from the beginning of a story to the end.
Nonetheless, a note from school said I needed my vision checked. I had failed the eye exam.
Now, that was hard to imagine. Never had I failed any test at school. In fact, that eye exam was scarcely a test at all. It was simply, “look at this,” “look at that.” “Which is clearer?” How could they grade me on whether their charts were clear?
I didn’t voice that question to Mother and Dad, however. At Dr. Hunt’s optometrist shop, I looked through gargantuan binoculars. He, too, asked me to assess the clarity of his materials, which I happily did.
Two weeks later, we returned to claim my unwanted prize, a pair of very pink, very plastic spectacles, unlovely to behold. The good thing about putting them on was not having to look at them.
Oddly, though, they had an Alice-like effect. Objects appeared larger. And if I moved my head too fast, the edges got wavy.
Dizzy and prancing like a high-stepping Black Beauty over the now uncertain floor, I followed Mother and Dad out of Dr. Hunt’s office into an unrecognizable world. The sidewalk loomed up in full 3-D, with cracks that gaped like drainage ditches. Surely, I would never step on one of those again.
On the car ride home, we passed a new landscape of bigger, brighter trees and an amazingly complex field of corn. Safe at home, I worked my way through what should have been familiar terrain to the picture window.
“Wow, Mother, look at this!”
She came running. “What is it?”
“Look at Tracy’s house!”
She looked, didn’t react, looked back at me. “What, sweetie?”
“The bricks! You can see the individual bricks in their house. And all the little lines of mortar. Look at that. And their trees! You can see every single leaf.” Surely Mother laughed, but I didn’t notice. Awestruck, I simply stood and gazed at this beautiful, new, infinitely detailed world.
I wrote that reflection many years ago. But just now, t experienced another miracle. In two brief procedures, the eye surgeon implanted multi-focal lenses inside my eyes. My vision is better now than ever before. Amazed and grateful, I can only imagine what advances the future may bring.