New York Times columnist Frank Bruni has penned a first-hand account of how it feels to be confronted with the possibility of going blind. Bruni's weekend op-ed details his recent experience with what is known in layman's terms as a "stroke of the eye." Bruni writes that the brief lack of blood flow to the eye occurred in his sleep and that he woke up the following morning to a blurrier—and more uncertain—world. While a doctor told Bruni his brain would eventually compensate with his left eye for "the blob of petroleum jelly" in his right, the possibility he could lose vision in the unaffected eye within five years is around 20%. "There was nothing I could do—no diet, no exercise, zilch—to influence the outcome," Bruni writes. "Probably I should take a baby aspirin daily, to promote blood flow. Possibly I should avoid high altitudes, where oxygen is thin. Mostly I should pray."
Prayer, Bruni writes, because he now goes to sleep each night wondering about the possibility that things could be worse in the morning. While his diagnosis of nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy, unlike more common conditions of the eye, has no typical treatment, Bruni's doctor helped get him into a clinical trial for an experimental treatment. The situation has brought Bruni to a crossroads, one he says has taught him strength in the face of uncertainty. "The oddity of my situation—the emotional riddle—is the distance between the manageability of my current circumstances and what tomorrow could bring," he says. "I’ve learned that the best response to weakness is strength: Prove to yourself what you can still accomplish." (Click to read the full column.)