When friends ask me, “How’s the vision thing going?”, I don’t know what to tell them. If I go into the details how utterly frustrated I am, how I can’t drive at night anymore, how I see double, some try to make me feel better by saying they can understand how I feel. I doubt they really get how trapped I feel. When they ask me questions I’ve already answered before about vision therapy, I just get annoyed.

Recently one friend emailed me asking why I was bothering torturing myself with the therapy. Obviously, she had forgotten the explanations I had given her previously. I will see her on Tuesday and she wants me to explain to her and her boyfriend, whom I’ve never met before, about my “eye thing”. Repeating my medical saga to someone AGAIN and explaining it to a stranger is irritating. I don’t expect anyone to recall all the details of my vision problems, but a good friend should at least remember that I can’t see in 3D and that’s why I am doing vision therapy. (Sometimes, even when I’ve told people that I have no depth perception, it doesn’t register until I tell them about it again. They’ve never met anyone with this condition.) I told her I’d rather not burden her boyfriend with my story the first time he meets me.

Yesterday, another friend was in town with her boyfriend whom I’d never met before. She asked me twice about my eyes. The first time, I brushed it off. Since she asked again, I figured that she really wanted me to tell her what was going on. Her boyfriend wanted to give me the contact info for his eye surgeon in Minnesota who did laser surgery in his eyes. I know he was just trying to help but I AM NOT a candidate for laser surgery. The problem, as I explained to him, is in my brain, not in my eyes. Even when someone is acting with the best of intentions, their actions can land the wrong way. Giving “advice” when not well versed in the details of someone else’s medical situation is not a good idea.

I’ve gone to so many doctors and I am stuck. Consulting with someone’s surgeon half way across the country is not going to help me. Those who know strabismus well are pediatric ophthalmologists and behavioral optometrists, not laser eye surgeons.

How do I respond to my friends’ sincere inquiries without getting angry because of their replies? I think I’ll just tell them that it’s complicated and that I doubt they want to hear my whole story. There’s no need to burden anyone with a mountain of details and conflicting medical opinions. It’s probably better to just avoid the topic with most people and only talk to those who actually remember what I told them before.

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