Four months ago my brother underwent surgery to remove the cataracts from his eyes. In a word, the ophthalmologist seems very happy with the results. Tests with the eye chart show marked improvement, exceptional even.
However, my brother does not seem as excited as the surgeon.
He was stoic through the post-op regime of three eye drops, four times a day for a month. A couple of community health workers shared the routine with my wife and I. He doesn’t like new people inside his place; especially he doesn’t like them touching his face. But he endured.
When I ask him about this, he resigns, “What choice do I have?”
More importantly though, he says “I miss my glasses.”
I have to bite my tongue that wants to shout, “What are you talking about? You can see! Are not the colours brighter and the shapes on the TV clearer? Is this not a vast improvement?
He massages his finger on the spot between his eyes where he normally presses on the bridge of his glasses, one of the smaller comfort rituals.
Like myself, glasses have been a part of his life, his being, since he was five years old. We grew up with the daily mantra, “Be careful with your glasses. We can’t afford to replace them if they get broken!”
Unlike my wife for whom glasses have been a later addition to her face to which she still has not adjusted, glasses are part of our physical space. We reach for them when our eyes open in the morning and put them by the bed before the light goes out. You care for your glasses like a precious egg.
A fantasy for many wearer of glasses would be prescription Maui Jim sunglasses, freedom from clip-ons or sunglasses that look good but do not foster sight. My brother would deem such images as an encroachment of the dark side.
This change, even if advertised as “better for you,” is not yet embraced with enthusiasm by brother.
He misses what he knows and cannot yet appreciate the gifts of the new. Now that’s something I can relate to!