Feb 25, 2018

Journalist Frank Bruni opens up about losing his sight

Frank Bruni in May 2017. Photo: Matthew Eisman / Getty Images

N.Y. Times columnist Frank Bruni, on the cover of the Sunday Review section, "Am I Going Blind?":

"They say that death comes like a thief in the night. ... The affliction that stole my vision, or at least a big chunk of it, did so as I slept. I went to bed seeing the world one way. I woke up seeing it another."
  • "This was about four months ago ... I ... experienced what is colloquially called 'a stroke of the eye,' whereby the optic nerve is ravaged by a brief reduction of blood flow and thus oxygen."
  • "The name for this condition is nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (N.A.I.O.N.), and it afflicts perhaps one in 10,000 Americans."
  • "This tends to occur after the age of 50. (I’m 53.)"
  • "There was nothing I could do — no diet, no exercise, zilch — to influence the outcome."
  • "[I]n the middle of the night, when my bladder screamed, I hesitated before opening my eyes."
  • "For the moment my handicaps are minor. ... My typos have multiplied. My texting is a joke."
  • "I found myself taking inventory of the obstacles and upsets that people I knew were dealing with. There were children with autism. Parents with Alzheimer’s. Financial crises. Career disasters. Addiction. Abuse."

Why it matters: "How much else lurked beneath the surface? Show me someone with a seemingly unbroken stride and unfettered path. More often than not, he or she is hampered and haunted in ways that you can’t imagine."

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