As many of you know, three weeks ago today I had surgery on my eyes to correct a muscle imbalance and while the physical recovery has been fairly uneventful, the emotional and existential healing has been incredibly profound. The condition is called Strabismus and basically what happens is that the eyes don’t focus or track together. Let me explain…In the center of the retina, there’s an area called the macula which is basically the functional center of the retina where straight ahead images are processed. Within the macula is a spot called the fovea where the cones are at their highest concentration and it’s here where the image is meant to focus at its sharpest. In most people, if the eyes are tracking together, those two sharp images are combined to create binocular vision. In my case, my right eye was off axis—it was turned in—so the image didn’t focus on the fovea and when my brain tried to combine the two images, since they didn’t match up, I didn’t have binocular vision. Think of it like this—if my left eye was looking straight ahead, my right eye would be looking about 20-30 degrees off axis to the left. My brain would then try to combine those images into one, but since they didn’t match up, it would leave me with this somewhat fragmented almost double exposure type of view and would finally just give up and basically disregard the image data from my right eye. There are a number of different types of Strabismus, depending on what the eyes are doing. When one or both eyes converge in, it’s called esotropia. If the eyes point out, it’s called exotropia, and if they are misaligned vertically it’s called hypertropia. Bottom line, I was cross-eyed and for most of my life, it was a constant gut punch to my self-esteem and self-image.

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Music in this episode: The Wrong Way (Jahzzar) / CC BY-SA 4.0