Ailsa Maley – A One-Eyed Life

The loss of my right eye was not very dramatic, as the deterioration was over a long period. It came about when I was gardening and the spiky leaf of a Day-lily plant slipped up under my spectacles (that I needed to wear when weeding to see the difference between weeds and plants!) It scratched the cornea.

It didn’t start hurting for two days when I went to the chemist and got some “soothing drops”. It wasn’t very uncomfortable until the third day, when it looked as if a corneal ulcer could develop.

The scratch was not bad – it was the bug that got into it that caused the problem. I was in and out of hospital for some time. The infection returned in spite of eye medications. There was more tissue damage. I had been blind in that eye almost since I got the scratch! Another infection landed me back in hospital. Sadly there was no improvement. This necessitated further investigation when a new bug resistant to the medication was found, and the deterioration of the tissue was beyond repair.

So I became one of those who have a “One-Eyed View of Life  to quote the title of a book promoted by Paul Geelen, my prosthesis maker. I had had so long a time dealing with this possibility that the news of enucleation did not have the same effect on me as it might have done with a sudden blinding incident for example.

My surgeon was very compassionate. He told me how necessary the operation was and reassured me about my remaining eye doing a good job in the future. “That’s why God gave us two eyes”, he said. And this has proved so. It was great to meet Paul before the operation and to see the photographs he’d bought to the hospital to show me.

I walked around like a pirate with a patch over the socket for a few weeks while Paul got busy with the perfect prosthesis you can see today. Everyone who sees it after hearing my story is amazed. I used to say “It’s a dollar to guess, if you get it right, I’ll return the $1. I never ever carried out this little quiz but I always spoke the words. I could have made a lot of money! The most funny thing was that so many people would ask, “Can you see in that eye OK now?”

I have had my artificial eye for three years now and I never cease to thank God for Paul and his dedicated and transforming skills.

Reprinted with permission from Ailsa Maley. You may link to this story, but please do not copy or otherwise circulate.