An Albino’s Guide To The Eye (Part 1)

The easiest way to give you a tour of the eye is to tell you about my eyes, to find out how normal eyes work and what makes albino eyes unique. The first problem I have is moving my eyes. The eye is like a ball suspended by six muscles. The ball is called the scherla, from the
Greek word for hard. It’s composed of fiberous strands that run
in parallel. Think of it as the equivalent of
fiber tape you use when shipping boxes. The sclera hods the eye together and maintains a pressurized eye. There are two muscles for left-right
movement, two for up-down, and two for rotating
toward and away from the nose. The last two come into play when you change your head position. My eye muscles work fine for each eye but they don’t work well together. Sometimes called squint-eyed, wall-eyed or cross-eyed, the technical name is strabismus. With this disorder the eyes tend not to orient together. They don’t point where the same object. This lack of coordination between the two eyes makes it difficult to get them to focus
on a single point or to change that focus. The main result is poor depth perception. The lack of coordination can be in the brain, the muscles or both. I had surgery was about 6 to align the eyes but their alignment still isn’t perfect.
A side result of strabismus, what doctors like to call cosmetic, is
that it throws people off. They can’t tell which direction I’m
looking. And not everyone is polite enough to not mention it. It was hard as a child but I’m still self-conscious about how I look. Even worse is that I upset people when my eyes move rapidly from side to side. They keep saying “Stop That!” but it takes me a few seconds to realize what they’re talking about. I am not trying to do it. It’s not on purpose. It’s an involuntary movement. This eye muscle disorder is called nystagmus, and it really screws up your vision. When my eyes are well rested, I have very
little unwanted movement but when they tired or exposed to bright light the jitter can be quite rapid. Interestingly,
it’s not a smooth movement from side to side. With nystagmus, the eyes move smoothly
sideways in one direction but make jerking movements on the way
back. I don’t notice the fact because I’m used to it. But if my “damn eyes,” as my eye
doctor used to call them, if they stopped moving so much I could
see a lot better. Nystagmus makes it difficult to get a clear image. With the eyes moving all the time, the image doesn’t settle well on the retina. It’s not based on what you look at
because some totally blind people have nystagmus too. I do okay with horizontal lines. The sideways movement at my eyes just
extends them. The real problem is reading a number with multiple zeros. I can never figure out how many there are.
I have to turn the page so the numbers run vertically. My other major pain is vertical blinds.
Curtains are fine, shutters are good but vertical blinds of any kind make my eye go wobble-jobble, that’s a technical term.

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