‘I can’t read a letter, my son said during the eye test’

To say Colleen was nervous during her first visit to the eye doctor with her third son is an understatement. “My husband has very bad eyesight and we are always afraid that the children will too,” she explains. “One of our sons already has bad eyesight, so I wasn’t exactly looking forward to the visit to the ophthalmologist with our third son.”

At the first simple check it soon became apparent that her son did not see everything so clearly. “He then had a comprehensive eye exam,” she says. “Whereas our other kids were nervous about that, he sat down behind those big machines without fear and couldn’t wait to get started.”

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To all the ophthalmologist’s questions—whether his vision at close range or far, or whether he was bothered by bright light—her eight-year-old son answered yes. All the letters that followed, he read all wrong, with both eyes. ‘I thought, how could I have missed this? He had such bad eyesight all this time, but kept his mouth shut because he didn’t want to be a burden.’

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Until her son suddenly listed the letters correctly. “He did that automatically and it shocked him,” Colleen says. ‘As it turned out, he had tricked us. He saw fine, but pretended not to see anything. And made a mistake, which caused him to fall through the cracks.’


“The ophthalmologist said he could come back in a year and I asked my son in the parking lot what the hell he had done. “I can see fine, I don’t need glasses,” he said, “but I want one, okay? Because glasses are cool.”

Colleen explained to her son that it doesn’t work that way, but her son was determined. “Then I’ll put on Daddy’s glasses,” he said. He had to and would get glasses,” Colleen says. ‘Next week his brother is going to have his braces fitted at the orthodontist. I wonder if he’s already figured out how to make his teeth look crooked?’

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