The Value of Vision

Millennium Park offers many beautiful sights, great photo back drops, and exciting events. One special piece of Millennium Park is its centerpiece, the Jay Pritzker Pavilion. This past month, I had the pleasure of attending my first event here: an Andrew Bird concert. The venue itself is a sight to see. The architecture, designed by Frank Gehry, is so beautifully constructed and provides an atmosphere like no other.

blog-8-cloud-gateWith Cloud Gate, or “The Bean,” a few steps away, there is enough time to get selfies of your reflections before the show begins. Right across the street from the park, there is Tavern at the Park that serves delicious entrees, appetizers, and drinks.

I was happy to be occupied with the serenading sounds of Andrew Bird on one of the last few summery nights. The Jay Pritzker Pavilion echoed the sounds of violins, whistling, and loop after loop of incredible “Birdisms” all throughout Millennium Park. I sat and relaxed from a night of rigorous studying. It is always nice to escape to the heart of the city for a little reality check. With the skyline as the backdrop behind the pavilion, the setting sun highlighted the best parts of the cityscape. Feeling at ease from all of my obligations, I would occasionally close my eyes just to listen to the glorious sounds.

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Although you can physically journey away from school, you can never escape the value of vision. The entire show, I could have closed my eyes and been engrossed in the music, but the production had visuals that would have been missed. Without seeing the lights, flashes, and passion beading down with every note struck, the entire concert would have been completely different. My photoreceptors were constantly excited, while my visual systems continued to keep a clear image on my fovea. I was able to enjoy multiple sensations of the entertainment, all thanks to my intact and healthy visual pathways.

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Thinking back, even my selfies taken at Cloud Gate could not escape the optics of optometry. My reflection within the sculpture provided me with a virtual, minified, and upright image. Both concave and convex mirrors were simulated in different areas of Cloud Gate, bringing me right back to first year.

I began to realize the value of my education here at the Illinois College of Optometry. We have the pleasure of putting the many things we learn in school to use, even out in the real world, beyond clinic. We are so lucky to be doing this in such a wonderful, stimulating, and inspiring city.

blog-8-the-beanAndrew Bird never fails to put on a good show, but the combination of the city, the sounds, and the visuals was one to remember. If my dreams could be voluntarily constructed, this is exactly what I would want them to look, feel, and sound like, every single time I closed my eyes. The entire show was so elegantly pieced together to create a peaceful, easy-listening ambiance.

Back to reality the next day, as I reminisced of the beautiful evening, I got in a cab on the way to an optometry-related event. The driver found out I, along with others in the ride, were optometry students. He began to talk about his daughter and the impairments in her vision that were causing her to eventually go blind. He stated that they were trying to do everything they could to help her, and then he said something I will never forget, “I would give my eyes to her if I could.” The selfless love of a parent, combined with the desperation of a man with no control over his daughter’s sight, once again made me realize just how valuable our sense of sight is.

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So what, you ask after reading this post, is the value of vision? The answer: priceless.

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