The Norman Transcript

Local news

August 4, 2008

Nelson Dent doesn't believe in giving up

At 38, it looks as if Nelson Dent has it all.

A successful career.

A loving wife.

A delightful, 4-year-old son.

Ask him, and he'll tell you he's been blessed.

He'll talk about how he has the perfect job. He'll tell you how much he loves his wife. And, when he talks about his little boy, Mason, he'll smile like he's won the Powerball.

If you didn't know Nelson, you'd think his life was perfect.

Well, it's not.

Because, at 38, Nelson Dent -- talented librarian, loving husband, and proud father -- has a serious problem.

A problem that is quickly changing his whole world.

Nelson Dent is going blind.

n n n

A little more than a decade ago, Nelson was active, sailing, playing ball and living the type of life a single, 26-year-old male enjoyed.

"I was doing everything," he said. "Heck I even hiked a good portion of the Appalachian Trail. I was very active and always going."

But things began to change.

He noticed it was difficult to see at night.

And, later, it caused problems with his first love -- theater.

With a master's in theater, Nelson was a mainstay at many productions. But his rapidly deteriorating eyesight began to make that work impossible.

"I'd have these great monologues that I wouldn't get to deliver because I'd miss my cue," he said. "In the dim light backstage, well, it became almost impossible for me to see."

His family sought medical advice.

"My dad took me to Johns Hopkins," he said. "And they sat us down and told us just what was happening. That was the only time in my life that I saw my dad cry."

The doctors told him his eyesight would get worse.

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