I Don’t Normally Ask for Prayers . . .

by Jimmy Akin

in +Religion

. . . but this time I would like to do so.

Here’s the situation: For some time, I have been developing cataracts in my eyes. I’m very young to get them, but I’m told that the men in my family tend to get them unusually early. (I’m also told that some people are even born with cataracts, though that wasn’t the case with me.)

Just recently, I have lost the central part of my vision to the cataracts. The result is that I may, at the moment, I may be legally blind.

I don’t know whether that’s the case, but I do know that at the moment my vision is so bad that I can’t:

  1. Drive a car.
  2. Walk across a multi-lane street (can’t see approaching cars or lighted “Walk” signs).
  3. Cook food (e.g., meat) that I would need to see in order to determine whether it is underdone, done, or overdone.
  4. Read anything written on paper (e.g., anything in any book or anything on an individual sheet of paper).
  5. Read anything on a normal computer screen (i.e., one that hasn’t been specially adjusted for my condition).
  6. Read anything at all without significant eye strain.
  7. See the letters on the keyboard I’m typing on (fortunately, I touch type, but it makes it hard to enter complex passwords when the characters on the specially-adjusted screen are blanked out).
  8. Use audio or video editing software (making it hard to do my podcast and YouTube videos).
  9. See faces and facial expressions, even when the person is close.

It’s also really hard to read and respond to email, so I’m slower about that, too.

You can imagine how this is forcing me to adapt to loss of vision (e.g., I’m having to use coping techniques like memorizing where I put down an object so that I know where to find it again), how it’s slowing down some of my efforts (e.g., after straining my eyes at a computer screen all day, I don’t have that much vision left to interact on the Internet at night), and generally adding strain to my efforts to lead a normal life.

Basically, I can’t see anything far away or close up. I can only see things in middle distance, and then they look blurry and cloudy, like I am looking at a world filled with fog through a blurry lens.

All this has given me a new understanding of the situation that those find themselves in who have vision far worse than the nearsightedness that I’m used to. I’ve been having to develop many of the coping techniques needed by the blind and partially blind.

I can, surprisingly, call square dances. In fact, I can even “sight call” (i.e., use visual cues to match the dancers up using the color of their clothing as clues to who they are). I just need someone to give me a ride to and from the dance which, happily, my Friday club is providing me.

The good news is that cataracts should be eminently fixable. In fact, they tell me that once I get the needed surgery in both eyes, my vision is likely to be better than it has been since I was a boy. I may not need glasses at all to drive, and I may not need anything but nonprescription, supermarket glasses to read (if that).

But we’ll have to see (no pun intended). Things could go badly with the surgery or the healing of my eyes afterward.

And the stakes are high. It’s my eyes we’re talking about.

That’s why I thought I’d break with my usual practice and let people know about the situation in case they would like to pray.

I would be very greatful.

The surgery on my first eye is scheduled for Tuesday, August 21st. The second eye will be operated upon a few weeks after that.

Whatever mention of me and my intentions that you might feel moved to make in your prayers, you have my sincere gratitude.

Please also pray for all those who have to live with vision loss on either a temporary or a permanent basis.

Thank you!

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prolifemother August 13, 2012 at 7:55 pm

@JimmyAkin3000 -will keep u in my prayers, Jimmy! May God heal your eyes soonest thru intercession f Sts. Odilia n Lucy.

trainingsaints August 13, 2012 at 7:57 pm

@JimmyAkin3000 our family will be happy to pray for you :) Hoping the surgeries are a success! God bless!

Sparki777 August 13, 2012 at 7:57 pm

Praying for you, Jimmy. And asking St. Paul to pray for you, too, since I hear he also had some sort of eye affliction and surely has an interest in your current vocation.

DorthyCSutton August 13, 2012 at 7:59 pm

I am experiencing blurred vision also, so I know how distracting it can be. I will be praying for you, please pray for me also.  I will say a prayer to St. Lucy. God Bless you.

Terry August 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm

I will be praying for you.  Even something “fixable” can be scary – especially when it is something as important to us as our eyes.  It is never wrong to ask for prayers; people should actually do it more often.  We’re all in this old boat together and we’re *supposed* to help each other.  Here’s hoping we will be reading about your successful surgery and marvelous recovery soon!

JanetMeyer August 13, 2012 at 8:04 pm

If it helps any, both my 80+ year old mother-in-law and 80+ year old dad had successful cataract surgery, resulting in only needing reading glasses. (My dad had needed glasses since age 10.) Cataract surgery is fairly routine now. You will do well.
Thank you so much for letting us pray for you.

captjeff August 13, 2012 at 8:06 pm

You are always in my prayers, Jimmy, but especially now. May God guide the hands of the surgeon, and give you peace.

Mkallsen August 13, 2012 at 8:08 pm

I’d be glad to pray for you!

JonSorensen August 13, 2012 at 8:20 pm

Prayers for you, dude! †

carsonweber August 13, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Retweeted (and praying!)

Jason August 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm

I’ll pray for you. I was brought into the Church 12 Aug and am itching to do some praying so you got it. About your eyes: I have had poor vision since childhood, Surgery when I was 8 that failed to correct the problem and I have had a sort of double vision since (I am 49). I was told a couple yrs ago that I have what looks like the beginnings of cataracts so I feel for you. Through all that I have lived pretty normally, able to do most things except pilot an aircraft, which I dont mind. Just hang in there and dont lose hope, we need you on the air!

theologyontap August 13, 2012 at 8:35 pm

What? I have had two cataracts. One hous surgery and they are gone.

Kathy16670 August 13, 2012 at 8:56 pm

Praying!  (And I also know many people who have had the cataract surgery, and they all healed perfectly!)

ocgarcia August 13, 2012 at 9:42 pm

I’ll offer my daily masses for your vision.  Hang in there!

txnicole August 13, 2012 at 10:21 pm

Jimmy, you’ve helped bring me clarity many times through your wonderful answers to questions, and I’m glad to offer up my prayers on your behalf. I’m certain you’ll be watched over and protected.

Kevin Clarke August 13, 2012 at 11:44 pm

Count on my prayers!

Peter August 14, 2012 at 1:43 am

Jimmy, I will certainly pray for you.  In addition, I will give you some personal experience.  After “getting along with it” for a number of years I was forced to confront the cataract situation myself (don’t live in Fla for a lifetime eschewing sun glasses or you too will get the cataracts) when I could not pass the driver’s license eye exam 3 years ago.  Turns out mine were particularly opaque.
Anyhow, found a great surgeon and he went to work.  The drops and prep seem eternal, 30 days of drops as I recall.  But the day of surgery comes and it takes all of 15 minutes, you don’t feel a thing and the miraculous change in your vision will have you “golleeee-ing” like Gomer Pyle for about a week.
The glasses get consigned to a drawer and you’re off to the races.  Do it, no fear!

Gail Finke August 14, 2012 at 3:27 am

Hi Jimmy: I will definitely pray for you, and I understand your qualms about having surgery on your eyes — the very thought makes me squirm! However, my father has had the surgery on both his eyes and it was quick, painless, and 100% successful. There is no reason to believe it wouldn’t be for you as well. God grant it so!

dmgmrc August 14, 2012 at 3:44 am

Jimmy, Thank you for sharing this information. For all that you have done for me in my walk of faith, I will be offering up many prayers for you. Please look into the life of the Venerable Father Solanus Casey. I will be asking him to intercede on your behalf. God bless you!

mariannasipod August 14, 2012 at 4:33 am

@wbdnewton Prayers for @JimmyAkin3000 and a retweet.

wbdnewton August 14, 2012 at 4:36 am

@mariannasipod @JimmyAkin3000 I’m sure he will appreciate them.

ChristianHigh August 14, 2012 at 4:40 am

You’ve got my prayers Jimmy!

Teresa August 14, 2012 at 4:55 am

Dear Jimmy:You will be in my prayers beginning today (Tues the 14th) for the procedure on the 21st.
I will especially lift you up tomorrow on the great Feast of Our Lady’s Assumption.
I do not know you personally, but I think of you as a friend – your kindness and wisdom in all your works has meant so much to me.
Peace, dear brother in Christ!

Devin August 14, 2012 at 5:53 am

I just learned about a company called Optimedica who uses some of our products to do precision cataract surgery: http://www.optimedica.com/  You may want to consider it as it seems to be much more precise than when it is done “manually”. Prayers for you.

BethanyBloom August 14, 2012 at 5:59 am

@JimmyAkin3000 The Lord bless you and keep you safe, Jimmy. I will be praying for you! Hang in there n keep strong.

jrwahlund August 14, 2012 at 6:43 am

St. Lucy, pray for Jimmy!

EJohnE August 14, 2012 at 6:59 am

Prayers for you.

DrBCT August 14, 2012 at 7:04 am

Jimmy I will definitely be praying for you. I pray for intercession of St. Lucy..
Dr. Bill

Amy2boys August 14, 2012 at 7:36 am

I will keep you in my prayers. My mother has dry macular degeneration so I know how difficult this is for you. Thank you for all you do for us out here reading and listening to Catholic Answers Live!

Harry August 14, 2012 at 7:54 am

 Will put you on my “to pray for” list. God Bless.

MarylandBill August 14, 2012 at 7:54 am

You have my prayers.  The odds are very much in your favor.  In a sense your relative youth might be an advantage since you probably will heal faster than those in the more normal age range for cataracts. 
When my Dad had his removed, he was able to see better than he had in decades… the very next day.  My Dad mostly wears his glasses for cosmetic reasons (he has a lazy eye that was never fixed and his glasses make it very hard to notice)… though they are useful for reading.

Carlos August 14, 2012 at 8:06 am

From El Salvador, the land of Our Savior. May our patron saint and Mary, Queen of Peace, our patroness, guide your doctors’ hands so that your vision can be restored for a long time to come. You have given us a lot as a result of your work in apologetics in the past, and we look forward to many more fruits.  Que sea Su voluntad que tus ojos sanen!

zopie2 August 14, 2012 at 8:10 am

@JimmyAkin3000 i have already prayed for you and will continue to do so

Lorriel19dj8hhw August 14, 2012 at 8:12 am
Eric M T August 14, 2012 at 8:23 am

God Bless you Mr. Akin. Thank you for all the work you put in teaching and sharing the Faith. I am currently an orthoptics student (think about is as ‘sub’-ophthalmology, that’s the best way I can explain it in short) doing my penultimate year at university. Most cataract surgery is quick, day procedures. The ophthalmologist removes your natural lens which has opacified and then inserts an artificial lens (known as an intraocular lens, IOL). This IOL can compensate your refractive error (i.e. your myopia/nearsightedness) thus eliminating the need for glasses; reading glasses might be required (depending on the IOL inserted and other factors) due to the fact IOL can’t accommodate (i.e. change shape in order to increase its strength – our natural lens changes shape, into a more circular/curved shape for near vision).
Regarding the development of cataracts, (I know this might sound odd to the ophthalmic layman) lens opacities start by around the age of mid 20s, but it is very slight, insignificant. By 40, everyone has some level of cataracts. Some factors do accelerate its progress (e.g. Smoking, UV exposure, high consumption of Alcohol, use of use of steroids) but age is its most common aetiology and this is simply due to the lens’ normal physiology (basically it just keeps growing without eliminating other older cells – similar to adding clear wrap or cellophane on top and on top, layer a upon layer). Everyone, so long they are blessed with a long enough life will develop cataracts to such a degree that they become symptomatic thus requiring surgery. From an ophthalmic medical point of view, even though all surgery has risks, cataract surgery is relatively straightforward and commonplace.
I shall pray for your Mr. Akin. Once again, God bless you.

Randy Creath August 14, 2012 at 8:38 am

I’ll be praying for you, Jimmy!

ericboutin August 14, 2012 at 8:39 am

For all you do; we can certainly pray for you!!

ericboutin August 14, 2012 at 8:39 am

For all you do; we can certainly pray for you!!

L August 14, 2012 at 8:53 am

I had exactly the same issue in my early 40s.  Now, five years and two operations later, it ended up not being as bad as I’d feared.  At the time, though, I was going through the same thing you are, even down to the “but… it’s my ***EYES***!!!”.
You’re in my prayers, and I have all the confidence in the world that God will keep you as the apple of his eye…!

Amanda August 14, 2012 at 9:27 am

My prayers are with you, Jimmy.

atassina August 14, 2012 at 10:48 am

I will pray for the healing of your eyes every day. I believe you are important to the common good of the Church; Jesus has given you your talents as a gift for our common good. I don’t see why he would relinqush that gift. Truly, I will pray for the healing of your eyes.

LauraFairchildYanez August 14, 2012 at 11:53 am

My heart reaches out to you for the fear you must have.  My prayers are with you.  (Funny how often I pray in front of my computer these days!) In 2009 my husband had a non-malignant tumor removed from his optic nerves and brain.  I asked St. Michael to take charge an peace came to us both.  St. Michael is an integral part of our lives.  Jose, my husband, kept his eyesight and no longer needs glasses to read and just because God can, he also cured him of his color blindness.  Doctor’s were baffled! And we just smiled and said “Miracle?” until the doctor’s were saying it too.  I pray that you have this kind of joy of struggle too.  
Struggle but be blessed is my prayer!  

Philip Blosser August 14, 2012 at 12:02 pm

You have my prayers, Jimmy, my friend.  Pray for me too!  (Phil Blosser)

atassina August 14, 2012 at 12:57 pm

Saint Charbel’s  intersession has helped to heal blind people

Lori Pieper August 14, 2012 at 3:55 pm

Hi Jimmy, I am sorry to hear of your eye trouble and anxiety. I am praying for you — invoking the aid of Ven. Archbishop Sheen, the greatest of modern Catholic apologists.  We need you in top form!

John L Davis August 14, 2012 at 4:37 pm

I am not a fan of yours, in fact I typically turn off CAL if you are the host, but that doesn’t mean i don’t respect you and the work your do. I will spend a holy hour praying for your eyesight to be restored. God Bless you,

RyanNX211 August 15, 2012 at 2:33 pm

 @John L Davis My thoughts exactly.  I wouldn’t wish this on anyone but when the surgery goes well (and it will) he will appreciate this surgery.   I may have to tune in CAL to call and tell him how I’m grateful for his recovery.    Sometimes, suffering is a good thing

StevenVornov August 14, 2012 at 5:05 pm

What happened to you happened to me.  We also have these early cataracts in my family too.  Before the first successful surgery on 7/24 I was legally blind.  The second eye will get its implant in a few weeks.  So this can be fixed but going blind is trying; that’s for sure.
After I got my sight.  I couldn’t stop looking at beauty and saying praise God from whom all blessings flow!

fidelis927 August 14, 2012 at 5:08 pm

Prayers going up, Jimmy.

criggs August 14, 2012 at 5:10 pm

Be at peace, Jimmy. You and your surgeon will be remembered at daily Mass.

RichardFerris August 14, 2012 at 5:28 pm

I will be praying for you Jimmy. I have learned so much from your podcast and shows. I too have found changes in my vision from too many years staring at a laptop screen and now using my iPhone. Corrective glasses should do it for me. But I can understand the concern for ones vision now. I will be praying for you and following for a positive report from you in the near future. Go bless you.

CALOi August 14, 2012 at 5:43 pm

You will be in my prayers, Jimmy! For a successful operation and fast recovery.

tomdoud August 14, 2012 at 5:56 pm

I am an optometrist who used to work at a surgery center doing post op care for 1000 patients per year. Your anxiety is understandable since it is your eyes. You have nothing to fear. I have only seen a few bad results in the 1000’s of cases I was working with. This was a few years ago when the procedure wasn’t as advanced. 
What is more important is that early cataract is a marker for early aging and I suspect that your prediabetic. You would be good to adapt a rock solid diet. Go to wwwbulletproofexec.com and get his material. Good start. WIll be praying for you. I have learned so much from you over the years. God Bless. 

Aaron August 14, 2012 at 6:16 pm

Praying for you Jimmy. I had elective corrective eye surgery nearly three years ago to facilitate a career change. The surgeon who performed the procedure was a corneal specialist. Despite knowing this, I was still quite nervous going into surgery. Long story short, the surgery took no more than 30 minutes and with a minimum of discomfort. As another poster said, the worst part are all the drops you have to put into your eyes for the weeks afterward. :-) God bless.

AlfredoNevarez August 14, 2012 at 6:23 pm

Most definitely Jimmy.  Your writings and your conversion story have been an inspiration to me for years.  May God grant you healing and allow to continue your wonderful work. — Alfredo

Haroldusana August 14, 2012 at 6:45 pm

@catholiccom #jimmiakin prayers? Done brother

ChrisRedfield August 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm

Will pray for you Jimmy! Many Rosaries!

Alain F August 14, 2012 at 7:23 pm

I will keep you in my prayers and remember you during my rosary and as part of my mass intentions..

JonathanDeundian August 14, 2012 at 7:35 pm

I will definitely pray, Jimmy. Hang in there, buddy!

surkiko August 14, 2012 at 8:15 pm

I WILL pray for you, Jimmy. I’ve been following you on Catholic Radio for awhile. You’re a great gift to the Church in the service of Christ, our Lord.

AlisonLightnerZiegler August 15, 2012 at 2:33 am

I will be praying for your vision and anxiety at mass this morning.  God bless and thank you for all you do.

jamesNeville August 15, 2012 at 3:59 am

praying for you mate, from here in Australia

Bill In Racine August 15, 2012 at 7:10 am

I’ll be praying for you. My mother and grandmother have had cataract surgery (many years ago) and they were both fine afterwards.  The techniques have improved greatly since then and they know a lot more about what they’re doing today than they did then.

JeanPergande August 15, 2012 at 1:37 pm

Praying for you.

Mark30339 August 15, 2012 at 3:26 pm

This is a very humbling post and I commend your disclosure.  One has to wonder why a person with such a gifted mind and with writings that tend to be firmly grounded in black and white, dualistic thinking, is afflicted  (or gifted) with vision of increasingly diminished clarity.  I am amazed at your developing gift for discerning nuanced visual cues as part of your love for square dance calling.  Of course I will pray for a comprehensive healing with your upcoming cataract surgeries  —  but there is no need to abandon the budding gift for nuance and the budding ability to discern outside the certainty paradigm of black and white, right and wrong dualism.

freddieflea August 15, 2012 at 3:28 pm

Jimmy, I just saw this. My husband had his second eye done two weeks ago. He’s 20/20 even 24 hrs post op on both and very happy. I had both of mine done 10 years ago at 50, they run in my family 2. Also, I’m an RN and did eyeballs in the OR for 20 years and only saw 2 problems, both related to other serious issues in all that time and hundreds and hundreds of surgeries. You will be surprised how easy and fast it is, how comfortable you are and that you can SEE! I will pray, though, but I’m also very thankful that God made these technological advances possible.

Dodger2x August 15, 2012 at 5:47 pm

Jimmy, you have our prayers. God bless your ministry!

Sharon August 15, 2012 at 6:09 pm

Jimmy, from Australia,  I will be praying for the complete success for your operations.    Your objective, irenic replies to questions have helped me in my amateur apologetics; your stress on addressing the principles of a question have led me to read on philosophy and ethics and this has helped me to come to a greater understanding of  issues in our culture today. You have been of such a help to me I my Faith walk I can’t thank you enough.

Mike August 15, 2012 at 6:56 pm

I pray for successful surgeries and recovery!

blanca_mar2004 August 15, 2012 at 9:31 pm

@Nicaea1 These surgeries are very safe. A person with same case was operated in ABC Hosp Mex She is very well. Count with our prayers.

Nicaea1 August 16, 2012 at 8:33 am

@blanca_mar2004 Thank you Blanca, you are very kind. The request for prayer was Jimmy Akin’s I just RT’d from his blog. God Bless!

blanca_mar2004 August 16, 2012 at 11:14 am

Praying for Jimmy. Blessings.@Nicaea1

SueJD August 16, 2012 at 10:18 am

I’ve just read your post about your cataracts and of course will keep you in my prayers. I developed cataracts a few years ago (in my case,I think because I have to take steroids). I have had surgery on both eyes very successfully – I was so thrilled at my fantastic clear vision after the first, it was hard waiting to have the second one done! I just had a local anaesthetic, and felt nothing at all during the procedure, just water falling continously over my eye.It is entirely painless.  It is a truely miraculous procedure, and I will remember youespecially on Tuesday.
And thank you for your work with Catholic Answers. You are my very favourite apologist; always so knowledgeable and courtelous. God bless.

SueJD August 16, 2012 at 10:21 am

Sorry about the typos! I wasn’t expecting my post to fly away so quickly!

Tim August 16, 2012 at 6:32 pm

You’ve got prayers coming from this Catholic family in the Boston area

eileenmechler August 16, 2012 at 7:41 pm

Jimmy, believe all the people who are telling you that you will be fine. Been there, done that. I wore glasses from age 5 to 60. Developed early cataracts and had elective lensectomies. What a thrill not to wear glasses. I thought I died and went to heaven! You will too. God bless you and your surgeon.

AndyP58 August 19, 2012 at 5:26 am

Jimmy, My thoughts and prayers are with you for successful surgery and a speedy recovery.
Many thanks for your work on Catholic Answers which I find very helpful.  God Bless.

Viki Garrison August 19, 2012 at 5:31 am

Hi Jimmy! I’m sorry to hear of your condition. Please know you’re in my prayers.
Viki Garrison

Diana Coffman August 19, 2012 at 5:32 am

Jimmy,  I’ve worked as a technologist in an ophthalmology practice in Orlando, Florida for 20 years.  I know your surgery will be successful!   Cataract surgery, while it has its risks, is now relatively safe.  You will be amazed with your newfound vision! So glad you are proceeding. I will keep you in my prayers.

mariannasipod August 19, 2012 at 9:59 am

@JimmyAkin3000 thoughts and prayers, especially this week.

Trubador August 20, 2012 at 1:18 pm

I used to follow your blog quite regularly. Then, for the past couple years or so this blog fell off my radar.  Just today, I happened to see your blog still in one of my browser bookmarks, and decided to “see” what Jimmy’s been up to (pun unintentionally intended).
Needless to say, a day before the surgery, you’re in my prayers. :-)

Fr Phil Bloom August 20, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Jimmy, I will in offer Mass for you this evening.  I am personally grateful for your books, blog, work with Catholic Answers and all you do for our Church.  We need you in best possible health – especially eye sight.
Fr. Phil Bloom

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