I Am Blind and I Can Not See

I Am Blind and I Can Not See

I hear this daily. A patient comes in for examination and is asked how his/her vision has been. “Horrible, I am worse than legally blind.”

“But with your glasses or contacts, do you see well?”


Maybe I should amend my question, but I ask it as a test question and await the answer.  It serves as a type of barometer, it gives me a clue as to the personality type of the patient and their knowledge as to why they are here.  Is it unfair?  I don’t think so.  Most patients answer hoping to “wow” me with their degree of impairment without glasses.

Millions upon millions of us rely on corrective glasses, contacts or vision correction to see.  With corrective lenses or contacts, our astigmatism, near-sightedness, far-sightedness or presbyopia is corrected.  What I really want to ask is, “With your glasses, how well do you see?”

Most patients that have eye disease do not see well despite having corrective lenses.  In the retina world, patients with significant retinal disease such as macular degeneration, diabetic retinopathy or others, still can not see despite having brand new glasses.

Funny, these patients don’t try to “wow” me.


Randall V. Wong, M.D.
Ophthalmologist, Retina Specialist

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