I suppose I should include a warning that this may increase your blood pressure from rage, but I'll let your individual hearts make that decision for themselves.
In Canada, I am considered legally blind. I'm not totally blind, but a good reference point is that I can see clearly for a distance of 5 cm, then everything goes to shit.
I've been wearing glasses since I was in the second grade and when I was in the 7th grade, I got a new optometrist and a whole new exciting thing to correct my vision. Contact lenses. Despite some hiccups, I mastered jamming the pliable lenses into my eyes quickly and finally had 20/20 vision. it was honestly one of the best moments of my life and I wore them for school and would take them out when I got home.
Everything was lovely until I began the 10th grade, he gravely informed me that because my vision was so poor, wearing contact lenses created a danger of oxygen depravation that could very well cause me to go totally blind. When I asked how often I could wear contacts, he told me as little as possible.
So I went back to glasses, despite the fact that they lessen my vision considerably and went about my life. Every appointment, he would tell me that this condition was getting worse and worse, and that my eyes were being deprived of oxygen more and more.
I started wearing the lenses only for sports, then only for special occasions, and then I just stopped wearing them.
A few years went by, and my family and I were informed that I needed checkups on a regular basis to see if I was going more blind and when I was about to start my second year of university, I went to the doctor's office, which by now had become this miserable place in my mind, since there was never good news. No regeneration, just knowing that by the time I was 30, I'd be blind.
When I went for the last appointment before leaving for school, there was a new doctor and new nurses in the building and I asked for my doctor and was curtly informed that he, and "his" nurses were gone.
The new doctor sat me down and told me the whole story as gently as he could.
I was never going blind. There was mild oxygen depravation, but nothing that could even come close to causing blindness, and the contact lenses were doing nothing.
The original doctor had lied.
And then the police got involved.
Turns out, one of his patients was the wife of a billionaire investor, and she came to him with an irritated eye and he told her that it was a small infection, and could be treated with antibacterial eye-drops. And she began seeing him weekly for status updates, and she was using the drops religiously.
When this had gone on for 9 months, another doctor in the building noticed that she was in an awful lot and asked why she was always here, she explained that she had a simple eye infection and showed him the irritated eye.
He called his brother, who is an optical surgeon and demanded his brother interrupt a consultation to look at this woman's eye. (They work in the same building)
The brother examined the eye and called an ambulance and made arrangements to perform surgery at the hospital 3 towns over.
Why? The "eye infection" was actually cancer.
Turns out the original doctor (my doctor) had a gambling addiction, and it had become out of control to the point where he was unable to cover the costs with the way his job was, so he began isolating patients and telling them they had maladies that were bad BUT could only be treated with multiple office visits.
I burst into tears, both for this woman facing cancer and being told over and over again it was basically Pink Eye and for myself. I'd been readying myself for the eventuality of going blind and it caused me sleepless nights and stress.
Thankfully, the woman was treated and her eye was saved, although some vision was compromised, and she is cancer free.
Legally, there were several insurance companies baying for this monster's blood, and while they got their money, justice was not served. The doctor's license was stripped for some amount of time, and it's been 3 years since that time and he's started a new practice.
I have to admit, I do still struggle wearing my contact lenses, it seems silly, but when someone you trust tells you over and over for many years that something will make you go blind, it's difficult to reverse that learned fear and behaviour.
I've tried to tell myself that I was fortunate, I mean I could have had cancer and he would have lied. But there is still a great amount of bitterness and hurt that churns inside me.
I still go to the same doctor who told me all this, and he told me the first day that he would do anything to repair my trust in the medical community. That meant a great deal to me, and true to his word, he's been an incredible medical professional, he's always treated me with great dignity and respect and walked me through exactly what is wrong with my eyes (nearsightedness and astigmatism in both eyes), why it happens (my parents both have poor vision) and has gone so far as to give me a basic education in the study of optometry.
Glasses are still worn about 80% of the time, but that 20% will hopefully become 30% with time.