I’ve been thinking a lot about something my retina specialist said to me at my appointment yesterday. After he told me that my vision was testing 20/400 and 20/200, I asked whether I am approaching legal blindness. It was kind of a trick question, because I know that the “definition” of legal blindness is “Visual acuity of 20/200 or worse in the better eye with corrective lenses.” My rs hesitated and then said that he didn’t want to label me yet.
I don’t understand what that means. My vision is deteriorating rapidly for no apparent reason. What possible reason could there be to not “label” me? My husband, John, thinks that maybe my rs thinks he will be able to reverse the deterioration. Or maybe labeling me legally blind would feel like giving up on me.
What I want to know is who I am. What is wrong with my eyes. Where do I stand – in the sighted world or in the blind world. If my eyes get better, I will be happy to join the sighted world. If I am legally blind, I will be happy to join the blind world. I have been in no man’s land too long, with one foot in each world. I am tired of the no man’s land. If I am legally blind, please label me. If my eyes are repaired later, I will gladly give the label back.
There is nothing wrong with a label if it is accurate. I will accept the inconclusive tests and the unknown future and the waiting and the deterioration. I will put up with office visit after office visit with no answers. I will get shots in my eye and dye in my veins. But when I reach a new threshold, good or bad, I won’t deny it as if it is something to be ashamed of. If I am legally blind, let me accept it and deal with it and learn to live with it. Putting off giving me the label just leaves me in limbo – stuck in no man’s land.