Revealing Your Vulnerability

For the last eight years I have lived my life as partially sighted. I’ve suffered detached retinas in both of my eyes, with the sight in my right eye permanently compromised and my left eye repaired by laser. My left eye is also impaired by floaters and a cataract but my doctor is afraid to operate on it because such a procedure would increase the possibility of another detachment, he says.

I have a patch for my right eye that I seldom wear because I don’t want people to regard me as “disabled,” but I’m rethinking that notion because the double vision I endure constantly is exhausting for somebody who spends a lot of time reading and writing.

I’m writing this blog not because I’m feeling sorry for myself (because I’m not) but because I’m rethinking the use of an eye patch. I don’t want to be regarded as disabled but maybe this is my ego and vanity overcoming my pragmatic side.

Most of us at one time in our lives will be “disabled” so perhaps we should all regard ourselves as “currently-able” if we are not dealing with a limiting physical or emotional condition.

The question I am posing to you is, “When should a person make the decision to expose a disability to the world by using a cane, wheel chair, an eye patch or a driver?

Patch or no patch—that is the question.

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23 thoughts on “Revealing Your Vulnerability

  1. Jeff Lambing

    Wear the Patch!
    Personalize it by adding your company logo to it and make it part of your branding!
    It may get people talking about your business instead.
    Or just put a happy face on it! Why should it be black and gloomy? Let it say something positive about you!

  2. Theo Welter

    A friend of mine spent a good 40 years of her life struggling with a hearing disability. Finally she was confident enough with herself to not care about what people would think or how she would be percieved if she wore a hearing aid. Wearing a hearing aid (barely noticably ) has opened up a new world for her. Not only can she hear birds on a spring morning or rain drops, she can also hear what her teenage children are mumbling under their breath. She is now able to have a conversation with someone without trying to guess what half of the words are. This leaves her brain free to formulate more ideas and consider the substance of the conversation. It has become exceedlingly more difficult to win an argument with her.
    Wear the patch….lose the green shirt.

  3. Marty Tjader

    Nice thing about the patch is you can decide based on each situation, event or activity. You need to make your personal valuation of not wearing: (the discomfort of double vision, but you feel less conspicuous), vs. wearing (better vision, the impression you may make (or imagine you make) on others). I think you have already made the decision based on the picture. If that doesn’t work, its easy to change your mind.

  4. Larron

    Start a business making natural eye colored contact lens with an opaque center that will do the same thing but look natural.

  5. Bob

    I would ask your eye doctor to have an optican make a darken blank lens for your eyeglasses.
    Also, the web offers a great selection of patches with designed logos and symbols and such.

    It was cool to wear the patch when I had eye problems, however be active in outdoors may it hard to keep it in place while wearing eyeglasses. Believe me there are many people out there dealing with the same issues. I am one of them, I feel for you.

  6. Miles Free

    The answer to your question is “immediately.” What is the object of concealing the disability? The reality is what the reality is. (I will grant you that there is a lot of money being made on hair dye and cosmetics for the folks who don’t want “the reality to look like the reality is…”) But I can’t see how denying the reality would make a positive difference in your life. There are millions of us running around with bluetooth devices in our ears and ipod earbuds in our ears, yet the hearing aid industry makes millions on “barely visible” hearing aids.

    I do question the need for the bulky eye patch separate from your glasses. Why not just have a dark or neutral density lens put in on the side that you want to obscure? Without a Hoop Earring, Bandana, and a sword or pistol in your belt to complete your look, the eye patch alone comes out a little short.

  7. William Rewinski

    Personally, I have valued function over vanity. When I first started wearing glasses for reading 25 years ago, I was teaching school. It was difficult to deal with reading glasses only, so I quickly went to bifocals with minimal power for distance. That served me well until recently. I went to trifocals a few years ago because reading blueprints at an arm’s length distance was proving difficult, and I kept spending more and more time double checking dimensions for expensive workpieces being machined on a million dollar machine.
    I also had a finger removed once. The joint at the base was severely damaged in an accident, and measures to fix it were not working well. I chose to remove it rather rip it off at an inconvenient time and do much more damage.
    If you are still driving, that might be another consideration. I’m sure you wouldn’t want to hit someone’s child/grandchild/wife/grandmother etc. (or your own!)

  8. Roger Valentine

    When I was a child I suffered from double vision for some time before my parents dicovered my problem. As a result of my brain getting two disperate images it began to surpress the signal comming from my right eye. Had my parents not discovered my imparement I would have lost all the vision in my right eye. I too needed a patch for about a year until my eyes were stable enough for corrective lenses. That was sixtly years ago. Wear the patch!

  9. dan k

    Instead of a patch, why not a dark lens for your glasses on that side?
    Might look better, and feel better as well…
    Wearing the patch over the glasses seems like it would be uncomfortable.

    Just a thought…..

  10. john Otto

    The patch can be a part of your alter ego, like a villainous pirate. Put it on whenever you need to go downtown.

    I think it’s better than my hearing aid which only qualifies me as the notorious superhero WHAT MAN.

    Don’t want to poke fun at your condition but I tend to gravitate toward the funny side of things.

  11. Eric F

    Get Occluder contact lenses. They are contact lens with an opaque center. They do the same thing as an eyepatch.

  12. John

    Wear the patch!

    If anything, go out and buy a parrot.
    It would be an excellent conversation starter with kids (of any age).

    My wife is visually impaired from birth. It does not slow her down.
    I am nervous when I know she is going to be crossing 6 lanes of 45mph traffic, but somehow she makes it every time.


    PS: If you follow other peoples advice and ditch the green shirt, get one of the black shirts with all the chili peppers on it.

  13. Joe C

    Wear the patch. One simple reason- Life is not about what others think.
    Life is about what makes you happy, accomplishing the things that matter to you and your family. Taking care of and being there for your family. Difficult to do these things if not wearing the patch has caused discomfort and most likely headaches. It sounds like not wearing the patch has been more of a burden than wearing ever will be. Maybe take the advice of the contact or a smaller patch that fits well with your glasses or sunglasses.
    You are right that we all live with disabilities and maybe the world should think of that before passing judgement or just thinking different thoughts.

  14. Lloyd Graff

    Thanks so much for the wonderful advice. Now I need to choose between Kramer’s puffy pirate shirt(Seinfeld) and Warren Buffet’s Hathaway shirt ( now defunct). Should I get a parrot? Oh more decisions to make. I have tried the occluding contact with a contact for the other eye but not with glasses. This is an interesting option.

    Incidentally, ilike the green golf shirt with the blue blazer look.

    Sincerely, I love the feedback. This is the best part of the blog for me.

  15. Deborah Rudy

    Lloyd, I think the patch is cool. Risa might even find it sexy!

    My dad was a really self confident man. In 1951 he suffered a horrific car accident. Thes were the days long before hip replacements, and after several failed surgeries, he had a hip fusion. In 1958 (state of the art surgery back then). It left him with one leg several inches shorter than the other, so he had to have a built up heel in one shoe, and he had a pronounced limp (but was pain free). He was never embarrassed or self conscious about it, and it was quite obvious. He always remarked that adults never asked him about it, but kids always asked, and he was happy to explain it to them.

    When 42 years later he was diagnosed with colon cancer and lost his hair from chemo, he was perfectly happy wearing baseball caps. He had a really nice collection of them. I remember, fondly, a really nice deep red wool one. His lack of hair bugged my brother , so he tried wearing a hairpiece, for him. He had it less than 24 hours when my 4 year old son came over to see his grandpa. The first words out of Ethan’s mouth were, “Hey Pa, you got new hair.”. That was the last he ever wore that rug! It went straight back to where it came from.

    My dad was a very vain guy. He cared a lot about how he looked. But he had such supreme self confidence, it never crossed his mind that he was disabled, or that the big-heeled shoe or baseball cap on his head made his disability stand out. He really loved almost every day of his life, and he wasn’t going to let a pronounced limp, or even a cancer diagnosis rain on his parade.

    Wear the patch! Don’t waste one more second suffering eye strain, brain drain, or a headache. You deserve to feel as great as you can feel, every single day.

  16. Kelly

    I will mimick Joe C he is right on.
    Besides after looking at your photo you need all the help you can get.
    Just kidding.

  17. Derek

    I’m only 30 right now and I’m on a cane due to 2 knee surgeries this year. As ‘uncool’ a cane is at 30, I need it and have accepted it. I use it in the gym (I’m still working out almost daily) and even at bars.

    At first I was against it, but honestly it has it’s advantages besides the handicap. It helps with getting people to hold doors, cutting in lines of long bathrooms, and no one will pick a fight with you! haha.

    Do whats best for YOU and don’t care what others think!

  18. Dick Crosby

    Lloyd! Go out and buy a swashbuckling, wide brim pirate hat with a big sassy plume, and a 6″‘ wide belt with buckle to match, and you’ll WOW the guys at the next PSMPA conference. My God, man! What a great conversation piece. Wear the damn thing!
    Besides. Women think that sort of thing is kind of sexy. How’s your score these days?


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