Gilland: A newfound gratitude for vision

It happened suddenly, with no warning. One recent evening, I came out of my home studio and walked into our kitchen to get a glass of water before retiring for the night.

As I turned around from the counter, an odd thing happened…it was as if I realized that a long, dark thread seemed to be hanging from my eye glasses, on the left side. After a couple of failed attempts at “swatting away” this thing, I realized that nothing was there. Nothing on my face, anyway.

As I looked up at our white, upper kitchen cabinets, I quickly realized that what I was seeing was not on the outside of my face-but inside my eye, for there were weird and unusual shapes floating all around and in my vision on that left eye.

Something like this gets your attention pretty quickly. I initially thought that I was having another incident of what my ophthalmologist called a “Weiss Ring.” I had laser surgery to correct that mishap. Now, it seemed to have happened again.

I did remember something that my doctor had told me after that first incident: He urged me to call immediately if something like that ever happened again. I did call my doctor and he got me right in. What I heard as a diagnosis shocked me.

First, it wasn’t the same incident as before. I actually had a torn retina. That “thread” was caused by an inner eye hemorrhage. I was not expecting to hear that diagnosis. I knew very little about torn retinas…except that they were very serious and can lead to blindness.

My doctor was amazing and sprang into action. Within minutes, I was scheduled for emergency surgery. There, a wonderful specialist and brilliant doctor (who just happened to be a Gator) performed corrective laser surgery. How grateful I am that I received such good care by both of my physicians.

This event taught me something I needed to know. I wasn’t really aware of the degree to which I took my vision for granted. While I wouldn’t have realized this presumption per se, it was there. I truly needed to be more thankful and grateful every day for such aspects of life…things that I daily enjoy, for which I fail to acknowledge my gratefulness.

I’m reminded of Psalm 103:2, which tells us to “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits.”

This verse is well known and included in many songs. Now, for me, it is freshly “in view.”

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