Imagine, you have a young boy. Everything is all fine and great, boys will be boys. Until one day, that is. One day which is today when he comes running up to you and says, all scared sounding and confused: Daddy, I can’t see!
Yikes! You’re freaking out, naturally. Freaking out and taking the little one to the optometrist as fast as you can.
And this is where it all starts.
Sit back and grab your favorite pipe kitteh, because it’s story time at guru Jake’s old timey guru temple.
Let’s look at some of the e-mails that make up the story, starting with this one:
Part I: Dad, I Can’t See!
Never seen or heard of this before, the doctors have. Mystery, it is.
I know. You’re thinking, Jake. Seriously. You’re not Yoda and also the theatrics all the time. Just tell the story.
Fine. I get these e-mails. I always say, go to the eye doctor. Get a checkup. Make sure there isn’t something out of sorts that needs attention before it gets worse. I can’t do an MRI over the Internet, plus I don’t have an MRI machine, plus I’m not sanctioned by any darling government or group of dudes who say who can talk about health and who can’t. It’s always wise to first go get a couple of opinions from well trained professionals, regardless. I sure would if i was me.
Then sometimes (often), people come back. Yes Jake, I went to the eye doc. Nothing out of sorts, they just prescribed me glasses.
You probably really wouldn’t believe how often I get these e-mails.
So back to the story. I reply to Nick:
Part II: Don’t Panic
Standard questions to ask yourself.
Nick went to the doc, doc said who-knows, so now it’s time to print up those eye charts and do analytical troubleshooting. Most common culprit, the focusing muscle. There’s no point going any further in the search before making sure it’s properly relaxed and doing it’s job.
At this point you should wonder why you need to go on the Internet and find the most bearded and unsanctioned sage, rather than just getting this done at the optometrist.
Because, #shutup. 😉
The story continues:
Part III: They Don’t Know What’s Wrong
See how all that is starting to make sense?
Boy spends too much time up-close, sooner or later you get a focusing muscle spasm. A bit unusual the degree of this, no doubt. Biology is a funny animal that way. But then look at the rest of it, the kid now wears -5 diopter glasses after going to the eye doc.
That part is messed up. All caps, bold, three exclamation points.
If Nick hadn’t found the various guru writings and been pointed in the right direction, he’d now have a five year old boy with high myopia. Glasses for life. All the baggage that come with that, for little Nerdly McFoureyes.
But then this is the misty mountain, and we can do better:
Part IV: Knowing Where To Look
Not a doctor, you say. That’s right, Jake.
Here’s how the story ends up:
Part V: Guru Prevails, Boy Sees
And there we have it. Problem solved, crisis averted. (and he meant endmyopia.org, surely)
See how that all can go very wrong very quickly? Sometimes absolutely, glasses are the answer. Young kids who for whatever reason don’t have the right eyeball axial length for example, maybe you need some correction. Maybe without it the problem can get worse. There is no magic answer of “no glasses, evar”.
Knowing how to troubleshoot, is key.
The Facebook reference btw, is Nick’s wife having joined our Facebook group, asked all the questions, gotten all the answers from group members and then apparently un-joined the group right after. If that was a hit-and-run, it’s definitely one of many. I get sad about this.
I’m telling you this story for a couple of reasons.
First, endmyopia is necessary. Without a resource like this, today as things stand, you may not get a local resource to help you get good answers. Maybe you have a great local behavioral optometrist, maybe you get an eye doc who’ll investigate. Maybe you do, maybe you don’t. It’s certainly not part of their curriculum.
Second, you always, always need to investigate. If something goes wrong and the answer is ‘you’re broken, here’s a permanent prescription crutch’, then you either learn and dig, or you get the lowest common denominator treatment.
Third, pay it forward.
I answer a lot of e-mails with, “go read the site, all the answers are there”. Yesterday was procrastination day and I felt like answering Nick’s inquiry in more detail.
This resource exists because of communal goodwill (and one cranky Jake who needs to be pat on the back occasionally). Stick around and even if just sometimes, become part of the voice of myopia-reason. That’s key. Let’s make sure that the next generation will have a chance to grow up with better answers and less myopia.
UPDATE: Video version of this story, now up on the tubes.
That’s right. He’s not getting weirder.