Friday, April 22, 2022

Grace and negative dysphotopsia

I have now joined the ranks of many my age in having my first cataract surgery. The surgery itself was without incident but I have developed a condition called negative dysphotopsia. It is a black arc in my peripheral vision. No one knows for sure what causes it—could have something to do with the new lens or the optic nerve. Hopefully, it will resolve in time, but it may be months before it does so. For those of you considering cataract surgery, this complication is rare. From what I can tell, the numbers are from one to fifteen percent of patients deal with it. I also have had flashing lights in that eye which is common but that has changed to pulsing which is irritated by fluorescent light even with sunglasses. Again, this should disappear after a time.

Knowing what I know now, would I still have the surgery? Oh, yes. My eyesight was failing at an alarming rate. Most people describe the transition after surgery as everything being brighter. For me, it’s as if the world was lit by a warm led before and very blurry, and then someone changed the bulb to a cool led, which brought with it great clarity. The doctor said the eye lens begins to yellow around age forty and it is replaced with a clear lens which would be in keeping of my perception of the color temperature change. It turns out the world is a much cooler place than I realized.

One article I read indicated that negative dysphotopsia led to great patient discomfort. Well, yeah. It’s something to get used to, for sure. It’s like having a border that never goes away around the eye. And yes, I know it could have been something much worse like a retina tear. 

Ragamuffin Gospel author, Brennan Manning wrote, “The conversion from mistrust to trust is a confident quest seeking the spiritual meaning of human existence. Grace abounds and walks around the edges of our everyday experience.”

When I read these words, I sensed God saying that grace is walking around the edges of my vision—that in the periphery, God’s divine influence is being exerted.

Maybe, you too have a borderland that seems disturbed, but keep in mind, God is at work. Grace is at work. 

So, we trust. I am thankful for my doctor and all the medical technology, because again, my eyesight was in a downward spiral. And now, at least out of one eye, I have a picture of the leaves on the trees again . . . and they already have a frame around them.

“Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need” (Hebrews 4:16).

Beverly Varnado is the author of several small town romances from Anaiah Press including her latest, A Season for Everything. All are available at Amazon. A memoir, Faith in the Fashion District,  from Crosslink Publishing  is also available as well as her other books, Give My Love to the Chestnut Trees and Home to Currahee. She also has an Etsy Shop, Beverly Varnado Art. 

To explore the web version of One Ringing Bell, please visit

Beverly Varnado copyright 2022


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