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Perfect Vision   

We did all the questions again. But this time, the doctor said that my eyesight was not perfect

As told to Chaya Rosen

MY name is Yossi, and I live in Eretz Yisrael. I’m in first grade. I like collecting cards and trading with my friends, and I love to read. Before first grade, my mother took me to the eye doctor. She explained to me that before schoolwork gets more serious, it’s a good idea to make sure that I see well. My mother told me that sometimes, there are kids who don’t see well, and they don’t do well in school — not because they’re not smart, but because they can’t see properly, which makes them unable to learn properly. That made a lot of sense to me.

We went to the eye doctor and had to wait a long time. I got eye drops that stung my eyes, but I was very brave. My mother squeezed my hand and told me that I was doing great. After a very long wait, we went into the eye doctor’s room. It was dim inside, with interesting machines and a big box of round lenses with plastic casings. I sat on a black, swiveling stool and tried to swivel around, but my mother stopped me. The doctor spoke to her for a few minutes and then he turned to me. He checked my eyes, and asked me to look at a flashlight. It was a funny, duck-shaped flashlight. Then he covered my eyes, one at a time, and looked into the other eye. Then he said we were going to play a game. He flicked a switch and the room grew even darker, and he turned on a projector. The wall across from me lit up with a gray box. In the gray box, there were numbers. He asked me if I could recognize my numbers. “Of course!” I said. We learned that in gan, a long time ago!

I said all the numbers very quickly and easily and the doctor was pleased. Then I sat on a different stool and looked into one of the machines. There was a little house inside the machine, which got blurry and then became clearer. The doctor checked both of my eyes on that machine too. Then, he told us that I have absolutely perfect vision. “His vision is 20/20,” the doctor told my mother. “But because it’s uncommon to have vision this perfect at his age, I’d like to see him in a year for a follow-up appointment.”

When we left the eye doctor, the bright sun and light outside hurt my eyes. My mother told me that it was because of the eye drops. She said they made my pupils dilate, but I didn’t know what she meant. “The pupil is the small black circle in the middle of your eye,” my mother explained. “Usually, it dilates, or gets bigger, when there’s very little light. It lets in more light to help you see better in the dark. When it’s very bright, your pupil grows smaller, to allow in less light. But the doctor gave you drops which make your pupil large even when there’s a lot of bright light, so it hurts your eyes.” She suggested that we try to stay in the shade on our way home. I asked why the drops did that. “It helps the doctor check your eye better,” my mother said.

I was very proud of my perfect vision. It was fun to know that I had great eyes. The school year started and I was doing well. But then one day, a lady came. She said she was a school nurse and that she was going to do a “vision screening.” That meant she was going to check everyone’s eyesight. I figured that not everyone has a mommy who makes sure to take their kids to the eye doctor before first grade, so the school had a nurse to come in and do it there. She had a poster, and one at a time, we had to go with her into another room and stand at a distance from the poster. The nurse then asked me to cover one eye and read the poster. We repeated the process with my other eye covered. It was harder than I expected, but I figured that I did a good job. After all, the doctor had said that I had perfect eyesight! The nurse gave me a note and told me to give it to my mother.

When I gave the nurse’s note to my mother, her forehead got lines on it. I heard her talking to her friend, asking if she should take the school nurse seriously, if just a few months before the doctor had told her I had perfect eyesight. But then the school nurse called my mother and told her to check it out. My mother asked me questions, like if I could see the board at school. Actually, I had to admit that it was getting hard to see. I said, “It looks like a gray blotch.” Then, one day, we were waiting for a bus. I had to squint my eyes to see which bus was coming. But I couldn’t tell. I said to my mother, “I can’t really see the numbers on the bus.”

My mother made an appointment for me to see the eye doctor again. We went back, waited for a long time once again, and got the stinging eye drops again. After a long wait, we went back into the dim room with the interesting machines. We did all the questions again. But this time, the doctor said that my eyesight was not perfect. He said I had a high number. Then he said that I needed glasses.

He gave my mother a paper that said which kind of glasses I needed. That very day, we went to the glasses store. My mother and I spent a long time looking at all the glasses. We tried on lots of pairs. Finally, we found one that we both liked. They were bright blue and Mommy said I looked “smart” in them. The glasses store would make lenses just for me that would help my eyes see perfectly.

A few days later, the glasses were ready. My whole family went to the store together to pick them up. When I walked out of the store with my new glasses, the world looked different. Everything looked brighter and sharper.

When I went to school with my glasses for the first time, I wanted everyone to tell me that I looked good in my glasses. Instead, some of the boys made fun of me. That was really annoying. My mother said they were jealous of me. But I wish kids would be nice. Everyone should always make other people feel good! Even if they’re jealous. Especially when they find out that their perfect eyesight isn’t perfect anymore, and that they need glasses.

I like my glasses and I take good care of them. I don’t leave them lying around, and I’m careful not to put them down on their lenses, so that they don’t get scratched up.

Even though my eyesight is not perfect anymore, I am grateful to Hashem that with my glasses, I can see perfectly, and read well, and do everything I need to do.


(Originally featured in Mishpacha Jr., Issue 921)

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