Overcoming obstacles with Optimism

After reading my post A View of My World , the editor of Stroke Connection Magazine, Jon Caswell, wrote me the following message: “I read your article and I have a question. At the end you distinguish between vision and eyesight and I didn’t understand the distinction. Can you clarify that for me?”

After the Storm

I appreciate questions for clarification and would like to share my answer with everyone:

Thank you for taking the time to ask your question.  In my post-stroke world, I feel there is a significant difference between the words “vision” and “eyesight”.

Eyesight is a common word meaning what we are able to view/see.  This definition portrays a noun.  My usage of the word “vision” is a verb.  In this regard, it is derived from an old French word meaning being seen within an imagination.  I was attempting to find a better way yet to describe it but decided to head to the trusty dictionary.  Here is what Merriam-Webster offered:  “2 a: the act or power of imagination b (1): mode of seeing or conceiving (2): unusual discernment or foresight <a person of vision>”

You see, I lost a lot of my eyesight.  I woke up in a hospital bed and only saw darkness.  I lost the ability to see anything in my room.  Immediately, I became upset when nurses and well-meaning friends would show concern and pain for the “vision” I lost.  I do not know why, but even from that early stage of recovery I knew there was a powerful difference between eyesight and vision.  I still had vision.  To me, vision held hope.  I could not see the walkers physical therapy assistants wheeled in my direction, but I could see the opportunity to get stronger and walk again someday.  I held a vision.  I could not see the aides I was trying to make smile, but I could hear the hope in their voices when they responded to my jokes.  I had a vision I would come back and train them to foresee and better meet the needs of their patients.

I did eventually have enough eyesight to see that walker.  I saw it be put away into a closet when I was strong enough to never need it again.  I did have eyesight to look the aides in the eye and see the hope they were developing.  I went back months later upon an invitation to train them about my experiences.  I did not have the eyesight originally, but I still had vision which lit my path.  With the vision I held, I was able to continue to hope and evolve my dreams into a new reality.

Comments on: "Missing Eyesight Offers Vision" (12)

  1. singer51781 said:

    Wow. That’s awesome. You’re a strong person to have that attitude. I take this with me as inspiration and strength for the future. Although I would like to have accurate “vision,” I think it will be positive if I learn from your approach: live to inspire, encourage, and reach out to others. If I ever lost my eyesight, I would be so frightened. But now I will remember this and be better prepared if it does happen. Thanks for your blog.


    • You are so kind… Thank you.

      It is an amazing gift finding the strengths we possess after losing everything we previously took for granted. Out of all the lessons life has taught me, understanding the inner strength I have is one of my favorites!


  2. That is a very inspiring Tara! I wish that if my eyesight fails me, my vision won’t. Thank you for making me feel more positive 🙂

  3. Vision is a symbolic word for you. It has its literal meaning, and then all the additional meaning radiating out from it in your mind.
    Literal eyesight is an important phenomenon.
    But the power of the mind, and its capacity to envision, is supreme!

    • One of my favorite volunteer programs I benefited from while in the hospital was a lady changing pictures in rooms of long-term patients. I explained to her there was no reason to switch my picture; I was unable to see it anyway. She sat on the edge of my bed and explained all the details of what the picture looked like. As she was leaving she said, “Even people without eyesight should know the beauty they are looking at.” She was right. Even without eyesight, we are still surrounded by great beauty.


      • A beautiful story. And makes me think of opportunities to use this wisdom —

        • I am always awed by the wealth of knowledge we can receive from gifts of time others give us. The gift of this particular volunteer program, and this specific lady, were just one shining example of how little moments can have a major impact on a life. She showed me beauty I had never before taken time to see.

  4. Tara, what an extremely good post! I love the way you distinguished between the two words that the rest of us—folks that haven’t been through what you have—tend to use interchangeably! What a great job you’ve done with the post—and yourself!!!

    • I’ve never regretted anything I have been through. Without these experiences, I never would have distinguished between the two either. Now I see the difference and truly appreciate that fact.

      I hope all has been well for you. Thank you for taking the time to stop by. I appreciate your kind words.


  5. […] fills the world around us.  She also allowed me to understand there is a large difference between having eyesight and having vision.  Images can be discovered in different ways and vision has more to do with the hope for our […]

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