Put The Parrot Into The Cage

I live in the UK and was born with a lazy eye but this was not discovered until I was five years old at Infant School in the mid 1960's during a routine medical examination. The bad eye is my right one and as a result, I had to wear glasses and also wear a patch to cover my good eye. Every month or so I would have to attend the Opthalmic Department at the local hospital for tests. These included standing in a small booth about twenty feet from the eye nurse. She was a very attractive lady in her late twenties and was very kind and reassuring to me and I used to look forward to my visits She would wear a white doctor's coat which was never buttoned but hung loosley over whatever dress or skirt she was wearing.

There was a display board on the wall and she would point to the eye chart and whichever line she wanted me to read. Another tests was with a board with a letter 'E' on it in various sizes which she could rotate like an 'M','W' or 'backward E'. She would give me a wooden letter 'E' and I had to hold it in the same position as the letter she rotated. Other tests followed, then the final test involved 'putting the parrot in the cage'. The nurse would sit on one side of a machine which had eye lenses similar to a pair of binoculars, and knobs on it. I would sit the other side looking into another set of lenses and twiddle another set of knobs one way or the other to either put the parrot into or out of the cage as required. The parrot and cage were on a screen inside and by turning the knobs, the nurse could ascertain whether my eyes were coordinating correctly.

The glasses I wore  were horrendous by today's standards. The were round with wire arms which looped around the back of my ears. The patch was a piece of white plaster stuck across the lens of my good eye and had to be worn while I was watching TV or reading and writing. I wore it for about three years and my teacher at school had to explain to the class why I was wearing the patch as I was the only person in my class, and I think in the school at the time, so doing.

My eyesight improved although nowhere near that of my good eye. I continued to wear glasses throughout my childhood and the design improved considerably. I still wear glasses today although the vision in my good eye has deteriated slightly with age. I never wanted eye surgery to correct the lazy eye and am happy with my lifestyle. I can drive a car safely and it hasn't held me back in any way.

Sometimes I look at childhood photos of myself when I was a young girl. At infant school, I used to wear a lot of short flowery dresses and pink cardigans which together with the glasses and patch made me look like a right geek! Still, it was a small price to pay for the chance to improve my sight at the time.     
JennyBee JennyBee
51-55, F
1 Response May 9, 2012

That is some strong self-esteem! Thanks for sharing your story.