Learning to See Clearly
Sometimes clarity has more to do with spiritual vision than physical.
by Yvonne Kays
My husband and I had been sheltering at home over a month into the pandemic. After dinner we settled down on the couch to watch Jeopardy, and I turned my head to the right toward the television.
Strangely, the screen was out of focus. I blinked hard, closed my eyes tight, and slowly opened them. Everything on that side of the living room was doubled.
My eyes must just be tired.
Because I’m nearsighted and can see well without my contacts or glasses when reading or inside my home, I hadn’t been wearing my contacts for days.
Tomorrow I’ll be more consistent.
I readjusted my body to face the TV more directly, but still struggled to see the images and words clearly.
The next day I put my contacts in and wore them all day. But evening brought the same difficulty in focusing. Relocating to a chair on the left side of the room helped, and moving closer to the screen brought noticeable improvement.
The next afternoon I was talking to my sister-in-law on my cell phone as I took my daily walk to the park. Looking up, I startled to see everything around me in twofold: the trees, the shrubs, the path, the car moving on the side street.
I interrupted the conversation to tell her about what I was experiencing.
Her voice reflected her concern. “You call your doctor or go to the emergency room,” she said. “That’s not normal and could be really serious.”
She spoke from experience. She had lost the vision in her right eye from a stroke in the optic nerve less than a year ago. I promised I would call the doctor’s office as soon as I got home.
By the time I reached my house, I was dizzy and struggling with a headache. I told my husband of my condition. My heart pounded as I dialed my doctor’s number.
The receptionist referred me to a triage specialist, who asked several questions and scheduled a virtual appointment with my doctor for the next morning at 7:30. She concluded firmly, “But if it gets worse, go to the emergency room.”
After she hung up, I evaluated my vison. Inside my home I could see clearly a short distance straight in front of me, and reading was not a problem. But if I looked to the right or gazed out the window, everything doubled.
Sitting down at my computer, I researched double vison. I learned that several serious conditions, like strokes, tumors, lesions, and some chronic diseases, could cause it.
I inhaled deeply and bowed my head. “Lord, I ask for Your peace and Your healing. Give me Your perspective in this situation.”
It had become my habit on January 1 to pray for a word from the Lord for the coming year and then journal about what I learned. My word for 2020 was perspective. I recorded scriptures and quotes that spoke to me about viewing life through His eyes.
Just that morning I’d written, “Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done” (Philippians 4:6) and added a quote from James Hudson Taylor (1832-1905): “All our difficulties are only platforms for the manifestations of His grace, power, and love.”
Nothing befalls me that escapes His attention, and that included this double vision. I prayerfully cast my concerns on the Lord and slept peacefully through the night.
My doctor was thorough in her virtual exam the following morning. She wanted an MRI scheduled as soon as possible and referred me to an ophthalmologist. I booked an appointment for that afternoon, but it would be three weeks before an MRI could be done.
As my husband drove me to the appointment with the ophthalmologist, I found keeping one eye closed helped. Viewing double images of roads, cars, and scenery flashing by made me woozy.
After a multitude of tests and questions, the doctor determined a small muscle in my right eye was not functioning. She, too, was concerned about getting an MRI as soon as possible.
Failing to reach my primary care doctor by phone, she promised to be in contact with their office first thing Monday morning to get the MRI scheduled sooner.
The double vision progressed some over the weekend, but I was grateful my close vision was still clear.
Acceptance and prayer
I was challenged by Psalm 66:10: “You have tested us, O God; you have purified us like silver.” Remembering the apostle James said that trials come to test our faith, I humbly asked the Lord for acceptance. I called my family and requested prayer, reaching out also to my friends online.
Prayers were answered. Late Monday the nurse for my primary care physician called to say that the MRI had been moved to that Friday afternoon.
Every day I still went out for my walk. If I kept one eye closed and focused on the immediate area in front of me, I didn’t get as dizzy. But with only one eye open, I had no depth perception. Trails with rocks or roots proved too difficult, so I stuck to the pavement and smooth gravel trails.
Finally, Friday arrived. The MRI took over an hour inside a clanging machine. My doctor called in the early evening to give me the results: no abnormalities, ruling out the possibility of a stroke, tumor, and other serious conditions. God had answered prayers again, but the double vision continued.
The following week I rode with my husband to my follow-up appointment with the ophthalmologist, wondering when or if I would be able to drive again. Remembering my commitment to place it all in God’s hands, I chose to be grateful for having someone to help me.
My exam showed the condition remained about the same. “This could be caused by a virus attacking the nerve,” my doctor said. “There’s no treatment we know of, and it could last two to three months before going away.” She scheduled another appointment in four weeks.
Her conclusion proved true. By the end of the month, the double vision faded away. And it has not returned.
Like the lens the doctor had flipped to seek the clearest image, this trial proved to be a filter that helped me see everyday gifts with sharper acuity.
Thankfulness washes over me for sight, for breath, for the ability to walk and bend, to sing and pray, hug and touch. A reminder to daily be content with all that comes from the Master’s hand.
Scripture quotations are taken from the New Living Translation.