I am a 60 yr old who has lived with an artificial eye since I was a boy – Pete

I am 60 yr old who has lived with an artificial eye since I was a little boy. I lost my right eye, playing with a nail and an elastic band, by letting go of the nail thus shooting it to my eye instead of the elastic band going the other direction. (My parents must have been devastated and blamed themselves for years). image1

I remember spending Christmas in Sydney Eye Hospital (SEH) recovering from the operation amputating my eye. Numerous visits to SEH getting an artificial eye created and adjusted to fit my changing socket in my growing years. The impact of my handicap has been mixed and subtle. I was not as good at ball playing sports e.g. I would find myself tackled from an opposing rugby league player, from my right side…bang out of the blue…. Cricket and golf are also difficult tracking a fast moving ball, but having one eye was an advantage for table tennis and snooker and I was OK at ten pin bowling. I only lost my eye once, in a community Olympic sized swimming pool when I was about 10 and was lucky enough that they reported it to the management. My Dad and I were able to retrieve it from the finder (providing them with a small reward).

I was quite shy and teased a bit in school and in high school got the nickname of ‘Cyclops’ which was shortened to ‘Cyc’ resulting in some kids thinking it was short for ‘Pyscho’ and I only had a close circle of friends. When they found out I had lost an eye some apologised and I was then treated a lot differently. Being different made school a bit of a challenge but I was a good student and did well in my exams which helped my credibility.

I survived school intact, probably emotionally maturing a bit later than most class mates. Since school my life has been fairly normal employment wise, falling in, getting marriage and children, grandchildren. I think I was helped by becoming short sighted and had to wear glasses from age 19. The artificial eye is so well crafted and realistic and harder to spot with glasses. I always get reflective lenses so it is camouflaged.

Driving has not been a real problem given we drive on the RHS of the car here in Australia. I make constant use of rear and side mirrors, always have to have a clean windscreen, use demisters etc. I have once or twice had close call on the right. Prefer to sit in a right hand lane on an express way had a pretty good track record re accidents. (I’ve scrapped the RHS on a pole a couple of times in tight parking and only had two minor accidents both on my right).

Well what else can I add – oh yeah – I find my ‘centre’ is off a bit when walking around and I occasionally bump into poles, door frames and once or twice a pretty girl (I got a date once from an accidental full body to body bump into).

I also don’t look people straight on with my left side profile more to the fore. Mostly I appear to be well received and respected. Sometimes people may think something is not quite right but they are too polite to mention anything (a few times I have had some foam, from a cappuccino coffee, on my glasses’ right lens and no one has mentioned it to me. Sometime later I go to the toilet and see it, clean it up then go back to work reminding them I am blind and give them heaps for not letting me know (all in a fun way). I can count on one hand the number of people who have picked that I have an artificial eye.

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