The Passenger

Yesterday, I found out that my eyesight has degenerated to the point that I can’t drive a car anymore.

I went to renew my driver’s license and I had hoped that I’d be able to squeak by without my eyeglasses. That was my hope but when I stuck my forehead on the eye test machine I knew there was no possible way. Every line was a total blur. I couldn’t make out anything.

I’d lost my glasses at some point so I left the driver’s license place and went home to look for them. After they didn’t turn up, I decided to just bite the bullet and get a new pair. I went over to the optical center at Walmart to get an eye exam and a perscription, thinking I’d go to a one hour glasses place after that.

The eye exam didn’t go well.

My current normal video is 20/100, which means not good. How not good? It’s not legally blind but apparently I don’t have good enough vision to get a job doing government work. Ponder that.

In order to get a driver’s license, I’d need 20/40 and even with glasses, the best I was going to do was 20/50. This is all related to my diabetes and it’s gotten worse in the year since my last eye exam.

Worse, though, was the eye doctor saying, “You need medical help, not an eye exam at Walmart.” That little bit of concise brutality came from the eye doctor whose office was Walmart, remember.

This all has big implications, of course. I’m sorting those out now. I did 100% of the driving before for the family; Lauren never drove. When we went out yesterday, the kids expressed much confusion. “Ummmm — why is Mom driving?” I could also go into the ironies feeling like I’m going blind two of the most important things I do are photography and filmmaking.

But it seems like I have is diabetic retinopathy and that is treatable. I haven’t been getting treatment and with our health care system being what it is, now I have to figure out how I’m going to get that treatment.

And — I’ll need a ride there.


  1. Lee, you have my total sympathy. My husband suffers from the same disease. His vision is now 20/400 on a good day. He has a seeing-eye dog and is learning Braille. Are you by any chance a Veteran? The VA has been so good to Jack during all of this. Without VA medical, he would be out of luck, as I am unemployed/uninsured right now. Whatever your situation, good luck to you. I hope you can find treatment.

    • Thanks — I’m not a vet. From what I understand, there are new treatments so I hope I can avoid the seeing eye dog. Although my kids would love a dog.

  2. The dog rocks. The reason for getting him sucks. Again, best of luck.

  3. Do people on comunes in Canada get healthcare? What about their fathers? Just a thought. Maybe you can take the filmmaking to them ๐Ÿ™‚ Otherwise, Mexico might be a good bet.

  4. This is what I just had surgery for, but mine is pretty bad. I got 2000 shots of laser in my right eye and a vitrectomy in the left eye. I’ll also be needing cataracts, but in New Zealand it’s a 10k op. This is on top of the renal failure.
    Good luck.
    – Larry



  1. My Triple Whammy - [...] talked a bit about the problems with my eyesight due to diabetes but itโ€™s worse than I said, really.…

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