My Eye-dentity


To look someone in the eye means to face them without fear.  There is even a wikihow page on how to do it.  Every romance story (or rom-com movie) has a piece where the couples gazes into each other eyes.  Mother and teachers claim to have eyes in the back of their heads.  Eye contact is an important social skill in the culture that we live in.  This is leads me to say: my eyes are different than yours.

People that have known me for years or for minutes have commented on my left eye.  Other people have never noticed anything different about this eye compared to my right eye.  This post is to give information to those of you who have been curious but too “polite” to ask!

My eye itself: my left eye has a misshaped pupil, is smaller, a different shape, and a different color than my right eye.  My right eye is a typical, hazel-green eye (although it still needs glasses or contacts to see!).  My eyes also don’t always track together, meaning that I can consiously choose whether or not my brain pays attention to the input from my left eye.  I also have realy bad vision with my left eye, and no peripheral vision at all on my left side.  That’s why I miss left turns, often run into things on my left side, and don’t notice people or ignore them (oops) if they are on my left side.  I have colobomatus microphthalmia, which means that my eye wasn’t fully developed when I was born.

Colobomatus microphthalmia:  This is an X-linked trait that basically means the malformation of the eye.  There is a spectrum in which a person with coloboma may bever even know, but other people with the microphthamlia part may be born without an eye.  Many people with this condition are also born with other physical or mental challenges.

Here are some links to other stories of people with similar, although more extreme, conditions: Click here on the little line–>  

My eye story:  When I was young, I was blind in one eye.  To be honest, I am not sure if I could ever not see at all, or if my brain just didn’t use my left eye because using the right eye is still easier.  I had to wear an eye patch on the right eye (decorated with panda stickers, of course) to give my left eye a workout.  I was pretty much the most stubborn kid, and the eye patch was pretty uncomfortable and unattractive, so I didn’t wear it as often as my parents would have liked.  If I wore it out of the house, people would ask if I had been hit in the face because it looks like a big, weird eye bandaid.  Now I am happy to say that there are much cooler eye patches out there!  I saw a little boy with a spider man eye patch once, and he was definitely a stud. Props to whoever made eye patches cool.  Little kids notice everything, and my first day of kindergarten, no one wanted to play with me because “my eye was weird”.  I had never thought of myself as weird or different before, so it was kind of a shock to me.  Throughout middle school, I was really self conscious about my eye and tried prosthetic contacts to make both eyes look like they were the same shape.  Come to find out, my ordinary greenish-hazelish colored functional eye was a really hard color to match!  I eventually decided that the prosthetic lens looked like a glass eye, which freaked me out more than my actual eye (disclaimer: glass eyes are cool and I know people that have them.  Prosthetic lenses just weren’t for me).  I eventually settled into wearing normal contacts and glasses.  In high school I even came up with a story about how an alien names Toswald was living in my eye.  You know, normal stuff.

How I feel:  My eyes aren’t really a big deal to me.  I don’t mind when people ask me about them.  In fact, I would rather have people know about them so that when my lack of peripheral vision or depth perception comes into play, they have a clue that I really don’t see them and I am not just purposefully ignoring them.  Or that when I’m outside sometimes I close one eye because it’s too bright, it’s not some creepy perma-wink.  My eyes don’t really effect my life that much, although I know I have (literally) a different perspective on the world.

My challenge: People that look different than you do are people too.  Teach your kindergartners to play with everyone, no matter what they look like.  Ask people in a polite way why they are the way they are.  Honesty and curiosity go a long way.

I am happy with how I see myself and how I see the world.  I just wanted to share because this has come up lately with new people I’ve met, and I realize that more people are probably curious but haven’t had the chance to ask.


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