Eye and my vision

Having a permanent health issue does not mean you stop celebrating life, says George

January 13, 2017 06:37 pm | Updated 06:37 pm IST

George Thengummoottil may have lost almost all his eye sight, yet he is clear-sighted about what he wants to do in his life.

He wants to create awareness about Keratoconus, which has affected his vision. In fact, he even made an 18-minute film called Singalila in the Himalaya, which covers his trek in the Himalayas and also talks about this disorder.

“Kerotoconus is a disorder, which cannot be corrected by prescribing glasses. It is a degenerative disorder, where the thickness of the cornea reduces and its curvature changes from spherical to conical, creating distorted vision,” explains George. He adds that studies have shown that “one in 500 people suffer from it. Most lead an unhappy life as this affects our day-to-day chores, which becomes a challenge due to blurry vision.”

He goes back in time and tells us how it all began, “I could not read the board in school. I was taken for a test and diagnosed as being short-sighted. There was no respite even with the glasses and my struggle to read continued. As I grew older, the vision deteriorated and my glasses grew thicker with each passing year. It was only when I was in Class XI that one doctor identified it as Keratoconus. By this time, my vision was almost gone. I was given a special (RGB) Rigid Gas Permeable contact lens. It is a thick, hard lens that reshapes the cornea to a spherical shape. At times, it feels like someone is pulling my eyes out. This affected my academics. Some days, the cornea would become so conical that even the lens would fall off, creating anxiety and panic while I was in public spaces. The lens only helped my vision, but did not stop the deterioration. This will continue till the cornea thins and breaks off into bits and pieces eventually,” explains George.

“I became lonely and depressed. Fear of being scorned made me withdrawn. After months of being alone, I got a job to teach in Bhutan. It was here that the healing in my soul began. The scenic beauty of nature calmed me. The mountains and greenery seemed to soothe my eyes more than medicines,” observes George, who, being an avid photographer, decided to make a film about him trekking the mountains of the Himalayas.

“I went back to the mountains to make this film, as I wanted people to be aware of Keratoconus and give a message to those suffering from it that they can overcome and fulfil all their dreams, in spite of it. I have been gifted with a partial vision now, and want to make the best of this gift of sight as long as it lasts. Why should we think about what we can not do? We can be thankful for what we can. One should be crazy to forget the problems and jump into life, take risks and celebrate every moment that we have been blessed with. I don’t know how long my vision will last. But as long as it is there, I want to do something passionately. I want to take in every aspect of beauty that is around me.”

0 / 0
Sign in to unlock member-only benefits!
  • Access 10 free stories every month
  • Save stories to read later
  • Access to comment on every story
  • Sign-up/manage your newsletter subscriptions with a single click
  • Get notified by email for early access to discounts & offers on our products
Sign in


Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.