I also have a disability. A couple weeks ago I had an operation on my left eye to remove a cataract. Going into the operation I was not afraid, because many I know and have met sailed through the operation with little or no complications. But this was not to be so for me. Instead of gaining better vision I have nothing but blurred eyesight. My eye simply does not work. For now I must function with but one eye.

Floppy Iris Syndrome

Frightened, I went back to the doctor who performed the surgery. He calmly told me that I was suffering from floppy iris syndrome. It is related to the fact that I take Flomax, a drug to help me manage my enlarged prostate (BPH). I went to the internet and found the following details.

May 19, 2009 — Men who take the drug Flomax within two weeks of cataract surgery are at risk of serious eye complications, including a detached retina or lost lens, according to a new study published in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Flomax is a commonly prescribed medication used to treat urination difficulties brought on by an enlarged prostate, or benign prostatic hyperplasia (BPH). The condition affects nearly three out of four men by age 70, according to background information in the journal report.

Flomax is a type of medicine called an alpha-blocker, which relieves BPH symptoms by targeting receptors that relax smooth muscles along the urinary tract. However, the same receptors are located in the smooth muscle of the iris in the eye. Some small studies have suggested that Flomax may make a man more likely to develop intraoperative floppy iris syndrome (IFIS), which increases the risk of cataract surgery-related complications. But data from larger studies are lacking.

I am now a person with a disability

So all I can do now is to put drops in my eye and wait for the blood to disappear. The blood on the iris is from a nick caused by the operation. And that is causing me no small amount of difficulties. Suddenly I have lost my depth perception. Since I cannot see with my left eye I run into the wall when turning to enter a room. I tried to pour a soft drink into a glass and I missed the glass altogether. I dare not drive my car, because of my poor depth perception and inability to see things on the left side. I have to ask friends and relatives to drive me to the doctor. I rely on my pharmacy to deliver my drugs to my house. It has been 10 days since the procedure. The doctor says it will clear up in a couple weeks. I can only pray it does.

I mention all this because I am now a person with a disability and can relate directly to anyone with a similar disability. I have a personal experience with eyesight problems. This gives me insight into the frustrations and even humiliations experienced by anyone with eyesight problems. Although I can see fairly well with my right eye, all I need to do is close it and try to see where I am or am going using only my left eye. I cannot. All I have are some blurred images.

All this brings to mind a story from the Gospel of John.

The scribes and Pharisees dragged a woman before Jesus. They told him she had been caught in the act of adultery and Moses’ law said she was to be stoned to death. What did Jesus have to say? John writes that Jesus wrote with his finger for a time in the dirt and then he looked up at them and said, ““Let him who is without sin among you be the first to throw a stone at her.” Of course, they dared not and they knew it. One by one they turned away until only Jesus was left with the woman. To her the Lord said, “Woman, where are they? Has no one condemned you?” She said, “No one, Lord.” And Jesus said, “Neither do I condemn you; go, and from now on sin no more.” (John 8:1-11)

It is altogether too easy to be impatient with those who have disabilities.

We are so easily tempted to mock them, even throw stones rather than reach out to care for and love them. I’m learning this lesson again today as I pray that my disability will disappear in another week or so. Think about that the next time you also have a problem that leaves you unable to carry on with your usual routines. I pray that it is not permanent for you as well. But it may be. Then you and I will learn how to suffer alongside those with any type of disability. That is, after all, what the word compassion means.