Kendall Vincent – Don’t Stress

I had my eye removed when I was eighteen months old because of chronic fibrosis staphyloma. Mum still feels guilty – like it is something she did. I have never felt that way. It was just one of those things.

I remember as a kid when it was time for a new eye I could tell because it would fall out at school. I actually lost it one day at Ascot Water Playground. I swam around and found it again. Most kids at school didn’t know I had an artificial eye. If they did find out they’d say, “what does it look like behind the eye?” A couple of times I showed close friends after school.

Once there was a boy I didn’t like. I pretended to take my eye out and drop it in his drink. I actually dropped a ten-cent piece in instead but he was really freaked out. He went all white – it was great.

Turning 18, I discovered a useful advantage in having an artificial eye. I wasn’t allowed to drive at night. This meant that when my friends and I headed off to the pub I didn’t have to take a turn at skipper. Driving is still a bit interesting with the depth perception thing. Parking can be fun especially because I drive a big four-wheel drive Patrol.

My husband didn’t see my eye socket for about five years. This was mainly because I don’t take the eye out all that often. When he finally did see it he said, “Is that all?” Like, big deal.

I wear a large scleral lens over my good eye and people often mistake it for the artificial one. I recently met a two year old who had just lost an eye. I told her parents, “Don’t stress. The new eye will just be part of her. She won’t know any different.”

As told to Julia Sutton. Reprinted with permission from Kendall Vincent. You may link to this story, but please do not copy or otherwise circulate.