I remember when I was in The Dubai Mall and received my first pair of glasses. I was five years old then and my parents preferred I bought a croakie with my brown rectangular glasses because I was quite the clumsy second grader and they feared I would drop them. As I walked out of the optical store and into the rest of the mall, I distinctly remember repeatedly taking my new glasses on and off, comparing how my vision went from blurry to clear and back again.

I believed myself to be a super spy, and vision was my superpower. Maybe it was because I had just
seen Spy Kids for the first time the day before. I recognized a bald head that I wouldn’t have been able to identify without my power vision and was fascinated by how easily I could finally read storefront signs. I was probably most attracted to the Book World store, the local Barnes & Noblesque of Dubai.

Of course, with great power comes great responsibility. I made sure to take care of my glasses, and received new ones when I had my vision rechecked once a year. Pink, purple, and even frameless rectangular frames, I tried a variety of colours throughout my primary and middle school years.

After moving to Florida I played in a local park with a 20 ft tall super tube slide. My mom was waiting for me at the other end, and my eight year old self believed I was invincible (with my super spy kid powers) and so I went headfirst into the slide. I did not think that one through; I thought I would be balanced and slide down smoothly.

Sweetie in glasses

Sweetie wearing Minahil’s glasses

I ended up hitting my head on the side of the slide and my pink glasses broke apart while I was still rushing down and a screw from the glasses’ leg may have scratched a bit of my temple. When I finally reached the end, my mom was concerned over the blood she saw on my head, but I was more distressed about my broken pink glasses! I cried apologetically for breaking such a precious commodity, however, my mom wiped my tears away and told me to not worry over such materialistic things. She advised me that my power came not from my glasses, but from within, and that we would get new glasses on the way back home. The car ride to the store was quite blurry, but by the end of the day I was the recipient of new purple glasses and treated to some Oreo ice cream.

I still have a small scar on my right temple from that tube slide, but it’s covered by the stem of any glasses frame I wear. I still reminisce with my mom over the fond memory and laugh over how I was more emotionally distraught over my broken glasses than the physical pain of the incident.

My vision has progressively worsened over the years, and I currently have worse than 20/200 vision (I have to be closer than 20 feet away to see something an average person could see 200 feet away!). When I was younger, I used to believe that watching T.V. all the time had caused my faulty vision, but my ophthalmologist would indicate it was because as I was growing, my eyes were too. Even though the only time I take my glasses off is to sleep, I never found my glasses to be a barrier when I’d play contact sports like soccer or basketball throughout my life. I knew that without them, I wouldn’t even be able to see where the ball was…

My most recent eye check-up was after the first day of my internship at Global Vision 2020. It was the first time in eleven years of annual eye check-ups that my vision wasn’t worse, and had relatively improved!

I am both blessed and grateful for my eyesight, albeit very blurry. I retain the power of vision only through my eyeglasses; but my other power, the internal power my mother spoke of, is what I use to work towards helping others get their sight.


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