Cataracts aren’t just for “old” people and the Peace Corps isn’t just for “young” people

I have been legally blind in my right eye since birth (a condition called PHPV). So when my ophthalmologist told me I had a cataract forming in my eye several years ago it didn’t really phase me much, after all I have only been able to see light and dark my entire life!

A few weeks ago I woke up one morning and with absolutely no vision in my eye. After suffering for a week with a nasty headache, my ophthalmologist confirmed that my cataract had worsened and essentially reached the point where it finally affected me. Due to the nature of my eye and overall vision, he doesn’t recommend surgery – not to mention he would not be restoring vision just light and dark. Fortunately, my headaches have decreased and I am starting to adjust.

I guess it’s fitting that I might have a condition that most would consider only effecting older people! My point to sharing this is to remind everyone that most things in life are not exclusive to “age”. I have a friend who developed dementia in his forties, there are people using wheelchairs and walkers of all ages, vision and hearing loss can strike anytime, and we can die at any age too.

Too often it is these conditions that we associate with growing older and “aging”. What about “old” students in classrooms of younger students, 73 year old “go-go” music pioneer, Chuck Brown crooning on stage for 2.5 hours, and elders joining Peace Corps ? Activities once reserved for people who were decades “younger”.

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