Every Cloud Has a Silver Lining, Even Horner’s Syndrome

So you may recall that I had a medical issue a while back.

(As I write this, I have an ear infection, which I wouldn’t consider an issue, but I note the irony of having an eight month old son and me who has an ear infection. It partially perforated my left ear drum, too.)

I had a right carotid artery dissection, which affected the nerves to my right eye and cheek, which is called Horner’s Syndrome. I can no longer sweat on my right cheek (but again, I really have no recollection of ever doing that in the first place) and my right pupil doesn’t really dilate well, if at all, anymore.

This happened before I turned forty, which I then did in May of last year.

They say life begins at forty. I’m inclined to agree – I’m much more mature, have a good handle on responsibilities, have a lovely family, and am enjoying being a responsible adult who can balance work and life well.

Life also begins to fall apart at forty.

Lately, I’ve noticed, ever so slightly, that my vision is changing. Whereas I can still read really small print (like the microprint on money) in good lighting, in dim lighting it’s all but impossible. Very occasionally, I have trouble switching between small print and larger print, and if I read my Kindle Fire HD 7 in the dark, the black-on-cream pattern inverts when I stop and I see the reverse pattern for a while.

These are all signs that my vision is changing, all of which point to one thing: presbyopia.


If it’s good enough for the future king, it should suit all his subjects as well I suppose…

This is the wikipedia article on presbyopia.

Literally, “to try and see as old men do” from the Greek.


As if the few ever-so-subtle white chest hairs weren’t enough of a sign. (The receding hairline has been around since thirty-two, so I guess that was an advance warning?)

Back to the presbyopia. The wikipedia article contains this gem:

“Presbyopia symptoms, like other focus defects, become much less noticeable in bright sunlight due to the action of the iris closing to a smaller diameter. As with any lens, increasing the focal ratio of the lens increases the depth of field by reducing the level of blue or out-of-focus objects (compare the effect of aperture on depth of field in photography).”

Well now.

What that means, is that since my right pupil doesn’t really dilate, is that I now have an in-built natural way of correcting for presbyopia. I merely need to close my left eye.

Sure enough, I tested it, and I can see smaller print significantly better with my left eye closed and using only my right eye.

I wouldn’t have thought anything good would have come from getting accidentally kicked in the back of the head, but there you have it.