Kenya: I’ve used glasses since Class Six and battled with allergies for years

STELLA CHERONO
STELLA CHERONO

For as long as I can remember, I had itchy eyes which turned red immediately I scratched them. The itchiness has always been severe in the morning, in the evening and when there is too much wind or dust.

I was diagnosed with allergic conjunctivitis when I was in Class Four. It is during this period, that my chest would be blocked and I would experience several instances of wheezing. At the same time, my nose was always blocked and everyone kept asking me why I did not seek treatment for my ‘flu’.

My ears too were always itchy and it really annoyed me as I could feel the urge to scratch them, yet I could not do so.

Noting that my condition was getting worse, my late mother travelled with me from Bomet to Nakuru to see an ear, nose and throat specialist who told her that I had an allergy that needed to be addressed by different specialists. He also gave me medicine that I could use to ease my allergies.

My mother took me to an optician in the same town the next day. He said I was suffering from allergic conjunctivitis and prescribed a number of eye drops and syrup which to help me get rid of the irritation.

MEDICINE HELPED ME

The medicine helped me and I went back to school, but with time, I discovered that I could not read the writings on the blackboard from where I usually sat in the middle of the classroom.

I told my mother, who was a teacher in the same school, that I could not clearly see what the teachers wrote. She requested my teacher to give me a seat that was nearer to the blackboard and so she did.

However, after some time, I could no longer see the blackboard clearly. I could see people from afar, but it became harder to recognise them. I kept squinting and I realised that when I blocked my left eye, the right one could see clearly.  I also had recurring headaches and tears filled my eyes when I tried straining or concentrating on something I needed to see clearly.

At this point, my mother, who used spectacles while reading, took me to Litein Hospital in Bomet, where a specialist tested my vision and prescribed tinted glasses for short-sightedness.

I have, therefore, been using glasses since I was in Class Six, even though I did not like wearing them, especially in the village school I went to, where there was a popular notion that spectacles were ornamental.

It was not until 2005 when I had to get glasses on my own, that I discovered that my eyes were actually not equal in defect. The left eye is almost in perfect condition but as it stands, I have to keep my glasses close by at all times.

By STELLA CHERONO

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