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Monday, December 27, 2010

The slippery slope of lens prescriptions

I have a theory: Once a person gets eyeglasses to correct their vision, their eyes essentially stop trying.

Seriously, before you get glasses, your eyes are forced to work extremely hard to keep you from falling into holes, tripping over carpet edges and walking into furniture. They also have to help you read the fine print in medicine bottles... it's a self-preservation thing. If the eyes don't do their job, their host will probably die in a horrible accident or poison him/herself on prescription drugs.

But once a person gets that first pair of glasses, the eyes retire and move to Florida. They buy themselves loose fitting tracksuits and basically give up. "Oh, you want to read those directions on the medicine bottle? That's nice... go buy me a stronger prescription... I'll be kicked back in the Barkalounger eating Mallomars 'til you get back.".

I've only had reading glasses for about three years now, and I'm already on my third prescription change! I'm only 49, but my eyes are wearing white patent leather shoes and eating the early bird special at four in the afternoon.

But being a relative newcomer to glasses, I probably shouldn't be complaining too loudly. Especially around my wife.

Zahava has been wearing glasses since she was a little girl, and has had to bump up her prescription about a gazillion times over the years.

When we met, Zahava had a pair of those big 1980s glasses with lenses that were as thick as the bottoms of Coke bottles. But over the years, advances in lens technology have made it possible for her to get smaller, lighter, thinner lenses to keep up with her ever-deteriorating eyesight.

However, the big problem with deteriorating eyesight is that it deteriorates so slowly as to be nearly imperceptible. It's not like one day you can see perfectly... and then the next you can't. No, it happens gradually... like hair growing. You can ignore it for awhile... then compensate for it for a while longer.

So what if you have to walk a little slower to keep from bumping into stuff, wait for people to speak so you can identify them, or have the kids tell you what dose the Motrin bottle says you should be giving them.

Denial isn't just a river in Egypt, you know.

But finally a day arrives when you realize you can't ignore the problem or compensate for it any longer. You'll know that day has arrived when you wake and go into the kitchen to enjoy a nice warm blueberry muffin for breakfast... and instead find yourself munching on a two-week-old corn muffin that is covered with big blotches of blue mold.

When that happens, you curse your eyes for their lazy and unhelpful ways... and then you make an appointment with the eye doctor to get your prescription updated.

So yes, Zahava and I are both walking around with new lenses these days. Butfor the time being anyway, Zahava is taking a few extra moments in the morning before biting into anything.

Posted by David Bogner on December 27, 2010 | Permalink

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Uh, I was prescribed reading glasses when I entered pilot training. 30 years later, I still use the same prescription.

Posted by: antares | Dec 27, 2010 1:01:49 PM

antares ... What can I say... you must be the exception, rather than the rule. :-)

Posted by: treppenwitz | Dec 27, 2010 2:38:25 PM

honey, you were much kinder than antares than I was going to be.... i was going to shout SHOW OFF!

[pffffttt!]

Posted by: zahava | Dec 27, 2010 4:14:33 PM

There are other options, I have friends who are vision therapists here in the USA. The eyes are muscles, and can be exercised. There is the lazik option too.

Posted by: LakewoodFallingDown | Dec 27, 2010 5:21:53 PM

oh, please give a hug to Zahava, from an 'old'(55) Scottish woman who has been bespectacled since she was four years old.....

Posted by: Alex | Dec 27, 2010 5:40:14 PM

@ Zahava

I think the difference is that I only use glasses for reading and computer work. You use yours every waking minute. In one day, you use your glasses as much as I use mine in an entire week.

My left lens is plano -- no correction. My right lens corrects for astigmatism.

Posted by: antares | Dec 27, 2010 6:15:35 PM

I can commiserate with Zehava. I have worn glasses since 4th grade (really 5th since I 'lost' my first pair) and wearing contacts makes it bearable. Of course my kids enjoy testing me with 'how many fingers am I holding up' when I am switching between glasses and contacts....

Posted by: Aharon Fischman | Dec 27, 2010 7:27:18 PM

I've been wearing since age 8, but should have been wearing a lot earlier. I had a very conscientious teacher that year who thought it strange that I kept asking to be moved closer to the blackboard (really, who wants to sit *up front*?).

In high school, I was one of the nerds who set up the projector for movies in class ("av crew"). One time, the projector turned on completely out of focus, as far as it would go. I made a slight adjustment (I didn't need to change it much), and told everyone that was how I saw the world without my glasses. Many people in that class were far more sympathetic to me after that. It was, shall we say, eye-opening for them.

Posted by: Alissa | Dec 27, 2010 10:20:12 PM

This made me laugh out loud... :)

I have always wanted to wear glasses (a blog post in itself, i'm sure) and have been wearing them part-time since the age of 40 and full-time (bi-focals!! COOL!) since the age of 46!

And despite all those people like your wife and my ex who have worn glasses since being a youngster, I LOVED and still love wearing glasses. I know, I'm weird.

The only thing that annoys me is having to get perscription sun glasses, which I still haven't done... sigh.

Posted by: val | Dec 27, 2010 10:20:14 PM

My theory is different. I think we are all speeding up the deterioration of our eye sight with all the staring we do at screens these days.

I keep putting off going to the eye doctor, but after driving last night (all the lights on the road seemed to move back and forth), I think the time has come to bite the bullet.

Posted by: Baila | Dec 28, 2010 3:30:06 PM

I'm in my mid-40s and have been wearing glasses since my late teens. Over the last few years, my vision has improved. I've had two optometrists tell me that's not unusual and that some people do have improved vision as they get older.

Posted by: Karl Newman | Dec 29, 2010 4:55:28 PM

I wore glasses from 20 until I was 25 then no glasses until I turned 39. Now I have multiple correction lenses, for close reading, computer screens, tv, and then driving - all in one lens.

Took a while for the neck to adjust like a nervous bird to the correct angle but I love it now.

I was afraid the first time my wife got glasses that she would turn to me and ask, "excuse me, who are you and what are you doing sitting at my husband's computer?"

Anyway - Happy New Year.

Posted by: bernie | Jan 1, 2011 9:59:47 AM

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