The Speech

When I was 10 I wrote a short speech which I read to the rest of my class at school because I had many, many people who were, shall I say curious about my eyes and they wanted to know why they moved like they did. They kept on bugging me and so I wrote this:

“As you have probably noticed my eyes move from side to side most of the time. This is because of a rare eye condition called Nystagmus, which means I am unable to control the muscles either side of my eyes. Unfortunately when my eyes are moving I do not see clearly, for example when I see a ball coming towards me, it is travelling in a zig-zag. So I find rounders and games like that, hard to play, and think I’ll let the team down. I have had to give up my bike because I can’t ride it in a straight line and it could become dangerous. I find climbing on the apparatus difficult too, because when I take my feet or hands off and am about to put my foot on a different bar, the bar moves, so it is hard to determine where to put my foot or hand. I need to sit close to the blackboard and the TV, to see them clearly. When I am reading I need to hold the book close to my eyes. My eyes do not move so much when I am concentrating on a near object. I can show you…”

(At this stage I showed the class how my eyes will stop or slow. I did this by holding my index finger out and I gradually moved it closer to my eyes and as I concentrated on it and it got closer my eyes gradually slowed at a certain point!)

“It is often difficult living with Nystagmus. Especially when I am teased. I will always have Nystagmus because so far, doctors haven’t discovered a cure.”