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World Sight Day 2018 - A story about the precious gift of sight

Look at the sugar!

I have always felt very privileged to be an eye surgeon. The part of my job that I love the most is talking to patients the day after surgery and listening to their stories. Many of the stories are similar ‘I had no idea how dusty my house was’ or ‘I didn’t know I had so many wrinkles!’ People frequently remark on the brightness of colours, or the ability to see individual leaves on trees. They often say they had no idea how bad their sight had been and how much they had been missing. I never tire of hearing these stories no matter how often I have heard them.

One story, however, stands out in my mind. Some years ago, I operated on a young man in his 20’s. When I saw him the following day he didn’t say very much, and I wondered if he had noticed much of a difference in his vision. That’s when his wife spoke up and told me about their morning. While they sat at the table eating their breakfast he suddenly shouted ‘Look at the sugar! Look at the sugar!’ She had no idea what he meant and wondered if there might be ants or something in the bowl. He explained that he could see individual grains of sugar, instead of the usual vague hazy blob on the table. I myself, don’t recall when was the last time I became excited by something as simple as a grain of sugar, but this story has always reminded me just how precious the gift of sight is.

Dr Brian Kent-Smith