Several studies have indicated that the crowding together of the letters makes them more difficult to read – I would go along with this. In my desire to “pass” this eye test I find myself concentrating so hard on the smallest letters that they begin to jump about in front of my eyes.
“Am I going crazy? Is this normal or am I trying too hard as a weird hangover from my school days?” I ask Glenn Carp who is conducting my 12 month revision.
“It’s not exactly as if the letters become blurred or out of focus as they get smaller – it’s more that they start to move about as I peer at them”, I attempt to explain this odd sensation.
“I believe I would be able to identify them – if only I could try a bit harder – and they would stay still. So is it my brain or my eyes that prevents me from going lower on the chart?”
This series of thoughts was not new; but this was the first time I had voiced them.
Glenn explained to me that the reason this happens to me is because of a rather rare genetic condition of my eyes that he had diagnosed previously. Although in my case it is in quite a mild form, it can cause some discomfort especially on waking. As it produces some breaks in the surface layer of my corneas, this uneven surface can also explain the “dancing letter” sensation I have described.
I learn that the condition goes under a host of names including Map Dot Finger Print Syndrome or – more grandly – Epithelial Basement Membrane Syndrome or Cogan Rees Syndrome. Apparently I am in the company of about one in a thousand of the population.
So I am not going crazy. I am happy to discover that there is a genuine physiological reason for my attitude to eye tests – I don’t need counselling to unravel any scars left on my personality from my unhappy schooldays.
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