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I Woke Up With Blurry Vision — 5 Days Later I Got This Diagnosis

It was just like any other Friday night: After a long, busy workday, New York Times columnist Frank Bruni went out for dinner and drinks to welcome the weekend. When he woke up the next morning, he immediately noticed some blurry vision. “I thought maybe some gunk had worked its way into my eye overnight, or maybe it was the extra glass of wine,” he shares on this episode of the mindbodygreen podcast. As the days went on, the blurriness remained, and Bruni headed to the eye doctor to finally check it out–maybe he could snag some eye drops.

“My eye doctor tells me that it looked like something serious and that I should go see a neuro-ophthalmologist,” he recounts. “On that visit, I was told that I had probably had a stroke of the optic nerve, that I would never see normally out of my right eye again, and that I was going to live forever more with the significant risk of the same thing happening in my left eye…I woke up with strangely blurred vision, and five days later, I was basically told I might go blind.” Technically, he was diagnosed with nonarteritic anterior ischemic optic neuropathy (NAION), and it happens to roughly one in 100,000 Americans.

As he grappled with this diagnosis, Bruni learned to reshape his own priorities and gain wisdom from others going through similar invisible illnesses–as he shares in his book, The Beauty of Dusk: On Vision Lost and Found, nearly going blind actually helped him see more clearly. Here’s how Bruni learned to manage his condition:

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