by Miguel Chavez
It was a very shiny Sunday morning in Ocean Shores. The
kids, as usual, were very active, practicing their extreme
moves all over Madtown.
WAHOO!! cried Otto, while performing a
Totally awesome, Ottoman! said Twister, who was
filming his friendís stunts as usual.
Thatís nothing, man! Wait to see this new move!!
replied Otto, sliding down the half pipe and gaining speed
for a double inverted jump he had been practicing for the
Otto gained momentum and climbed the ramp. He was ready to
make his stunt, but then he experienced again that annoying
effect: when he climbed the ramp, the bright, intense
sunlight hit him directly in the eyes, dazzling him.
Momentarily blind, Otto couldnít see the ramp and lost his
balance in the middle of his jump, falling heavily to the
Whoa!! OUCH!! AW!!! cried Otto with each bounce he
made until stopping at the bottom of the half pipe.
Twister, Reggie and Sam ran to check on him. They found Otto
still sitting on the ramp, with his skateboard and helmet on
the ground. A painful expression was on his face while he
rubbed his right ankle; it was evident that he really beefed
hard this time.
Aw!! That was really rough!! said Otto while Sam
and Twist helped him stand.
Are you OK, Otto? Anything broken??asked Sam with
Just my pride, brother, answered Otto trying to
smile, but rubbing his butt, still a bit tender due to the
What happened, bro? asked Reggie.
I dunno, sis! I was ready to make my awesome stunt when
something caught my eye on the beach. When I turned to see I
was suddenly dazzled. I just couldnít see anything for a
moment, and before I knew I was bouncing like a beach ball
down the half pipe! In fact, my eyes are still a bit
Otto took his sunglasses off and rubbed his eyes with his
fingers. It was obvious that he was still a bit dazzled; his
eyes were somewhat reddened, and he blinked continuously.
You have been having these problems for a while now,
brother. In fact, this is your third fall this weekend, and
thatís quite unusual on you. Maybe itís time Raymundo
takes you to the optometrist again said Reggie,
offering her shoulder to Otto so he could use her as a
crouch. It was a maneuver she had practiced a lot with her
Yeah maybe youíre right, sis said Otto,
putting his glasses back on. Then he put his right arm
around Reggieís neck and limped back to the Shore Shack to
get his ankle bandaged.
While Otto and Reggie walked slowly away, Sammy looked at
Twister, confused. - Going to the optometrist again?
Sam asked him. So, Otto had visited an optometrist
Itís a long story, Sam. answered Twister while
picking Ottoís helmet and skateboard. It happened some
time before you arrived here, when I still used to be the
Squid. But maybe you should ask Otto to tell you.
Some minutes later, the kids were at the Shore Shack. Otto
was seating by one of the tables. He had taken off his shoe
and put his right leg on a stool. Tito covered the boyís
foot and ankle with ice to reduce the swelling. Meanwhile,
the other kids were sitting with him around the table,
waiting for their burgers.
Otto had taken his glasses off again and was rubbing his
eyes with his fingers. It was something he had done quite
Man, that really hurts! I canít stand my eyes!!
Said, a bit desperate.
Reggie told me you are having problems with your eyes
again, son. I made an appointment with Dr. Johnson, the
optometrist, and we'll visit him tomorrow after school.
Youíll be OK again in a snap, donít worry. said
Ray, while serving the cheeseburgers to the kids.
Thanks, dad replied Otto I thought I
wouldnít have to go visiting him for a while, but I guess
youíre right; its time to see him again.
I am a bit confused, Otto said Sammy. You
all talk about visiting the optometrist again; why, have you
had this before??
Otto looked at Sammy for a moment, a bit undecided. But he
didnít hesitate long; Sammy had shown over and over again
that he was a true friend and Otto knew he could trust him.
It all began about six months before you moved in,
Sammy. I had always had trouble standing bright lights, but
the dazzles had become even more intense and I began beefing
quite often and even crashing with objects I couldnít see
because I had my eyes closed or almost closed all the time.
Raymundo finally noticed it and took me to the doctor. They
made some studies and finally diagnosed me to have a
condition called anterior uveitis. One of its symptoms is
that I cant tolerate bright lights because my eyes hurt.
The doctor gave me some medication and suggested that I
might try wearing sunglasses. Thatís why I use these
things all the time; they help me reduce the glare.
So, you wear those sunglasses everywhere because you
actually need them? asked Sam, who now understood
quite well why his friend had that apparently odd habit.
"Thatís correct, Sammy. See, I need them even at night,
because artificial lightning like bulbs or neon lights are
too bright to me. If I enter a brightly illuminated room at
night I can have the same kind of dazzles as if I stare
directly at the Sun. Thatís why we have all the lamps
shaded, both in the shack and at home.
Sammy now understood it. It had always seemed odd to him
that Otto used his dark glasses even at night or when they
were indoors. And now he knew why the first thing Otto did
every morning was putting his glasses on, even before
getting dressed. He had seen him do this on the several
occasions the whole gang had gone camping together.
After they finished their hamburgers, Ray cured his sonís
leg with an ointment and a bandage, and after a while they
were heading to the pier.
While they walked, Sammy couldnít help but watch Otto. He
was wearing his sunglasses again, as always; but now he was
constantly keeping his hand extended over his eyes like a
shade. He kept doing this all the day.
That evening, when they returned to the Shack, Sammy went to
Otto and asked if they could go outside to the pier. He was
concerned about his friend, and had a lot of questions and
doubts in his mind.
I donít mean to be an annoyance, Otto said Sam
But there are still a couple of questions I want to
ask about your condition.
Otto looked at Sam and realized that he was truly concerned
about him. Otto smiled; the Squid had become somewhat like a
brother to them all.
No problemo, Squid! Shoot them!! Answered Otto
with a thumbs-up.
Well I was just wondering what causes that? Will
you be OK?? Does it hurt??? Will you ever..
Whoa! Hold your horses, dude! One at a time!! said
Sorry! replied Sam, blushing.
Itís OK. Well, letís see. According to the doctor, my
condition is quite common, and is often associated to other
diseases, although many healthy people, and this is my case,
can also present the condition without a clearly defined
cause. But donít worry, Sam. Iíll be fine as long as I
get the proper medication soon; else my eyes could develop
some sort of scars and that would affect my vision. Thatís
why Raymundo always takes me to the doctor as soon as I
begin to show the symptoms.
Does it hurt?
A little. But that is treated with medication. Most
likely the doctor will prescribe some drops for my eyes, to
ease the pain.
Will you ever be cured of that?
Probably. This disease is most common in young people
than in adults. And with proper medication it usually
disappears for a long while. It has the nasty habit of
coming back, though; this is what I am suffering now. But
with the proper medication it will be gone again soon,
Sammy looked down to his shoes. He never thought Otto could
have some sort of illness; but he was quite impressed on how
well he dealt with it. Knowing that he actually needed his
sunglasses, he now understood a lot of things about his
Otto noticed Samís thoughts and comforted him. Placing an
arm around his neck he joked with him.
Now you know why I have never made fun of your glasses,
Squid! said Otto, jokingly.
Yeah, I was thinking that too, Ottoman. Back in Kansas
most kids used to make fun of me for wearing glasses, and
now I realize it was something weird that you guys never
even mentioned it.
Thatís because I know what it feels like having to wear
glasses, brother. I donít like being called a four-eyed
dork, you know, so I donít make that kind of fun. I
might be a pain in the neck sometimes, but Iíll never make
jokes that could come back to bite me.
Otto and Sammy walked inside the Shack again. Sammy felt
relieved to know that his friend was going to be fine, and
Otto was also glad that his friend really understood him and
cared for him.
The following day, Raymundo took Otto to the optometrist
and, as the boy supposed, the doctor found that he had a
relapse of his condition. He prescribed him the proper
medication, including some drops for his eyes, and diagnosed
that the kidís vision had not suffered any permanent
damage. The condition was well under control, and with the
medication its symptoms should disappear soon.
In a matter of days, Otto was again skating and shredding as
always. He had ceased suffering the effects of his disease;
only the sensitivity to light remained present, as usual.
But he had already learned to live with that. He just needed
to wear his sunglasses everywhere.
I found these sites that explain the conditions mentioned in
For information about anterior uveitis:
For information about photophobia, or excessive
sensitiveness to light: