Adjusting to Life With One Eye

Imagine how hard it is for someone to live with only one eye. A fungal infection that occurred as a complication in cataract surgery is what took Anne Rice’s sight in her right eye. The incident took place in 2008. The retinal specialist assumed that since she has 20-20 vision in her left eye, she would not notice any differences.

Unfortunately, Rice noticed the difference most specifically when she backed into another car in a parking lot of a grocery store. She mentioned that this incident reminded her of her loss in vision efficiency. She said that she did look over her right shoulder when backing up but she did not remember she had the full range of vision that she had before.

Diane Whitaker, OD, chief of the Duke Eye Center’s vision rehabilitation service referred Anne Rice to see a driving evaluator. Dr. Whitaker developed a formal protocol that included referrals that help adults in adjusting to monocular vision loss. Monocular vision loss can be caused by trauma, infection, or tumor. The cause may not matter, what is important is that they can cope with their current situation.

How Much Time Will It Take for Monocular Vision Adjustment?

one eye portrait

People wonder how much time it will take for monocular vision adjustment. Just as with any other adjustments, it will take time and more work to adjust to a sudden vision loss. According to Dr. Whitaker, some people assume that as long as you have good vision in that one eye, you are good to go. This is because he believes it will function the same way it did with two eyes. Some eye doctors underestimated the time required for people to adjust when they lose one eye.

Some studies showed a declined ability to track moving objects accurately, judge distances, and perceive depth in adults who lose their sight. Dr. Whitaker prescribed three specific activities that include reaching for and grasping objects and learning new techniques. In the case of Anne Rice, she needs to learn new techniques that can help her drive safely even with vision in one eye only.

Can Retraining Speed Up Recovery?

closeup of an eye looking up

Anne Rice described how the driving evaluator helped her. Her strengths and weaknesses are assessed to know where to focus on. Retraining helped in improving her ability to drive as well as giving her a new level of confidence. According to Dr. Whitaker, it may take six to nine months for monocular vision to adjust completely.

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