Life unfocused

10 May
Eyeglasses circa 1986

I found these lovelies recently while rummaging through an out-of-the-way cabinet. They’re from the early Designing Women period.  I measured them — each lens is is 2 1/4 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches deep. In contrast, the ones I’m wearing today are 2 1/4 inches wide and 1 1/4 inches deep.

Eyeglasses then and now

 

 

 

I began wearing glasses when I was 13 and today I got my first real reading glasses. For me, that means prescription glasses. Sadly, I can’t wear the cheap ones from the dollar store.

***

Nearsighted people, pay attention: We cannot wear over-the-counter reading glasses. My optometrist says it’s because OTC readers are a plus or positive correction — as in +2 or +1.50. Nearsighted people need a correction that’s a minus or negative — for example, mine is – .75.

So now I’m wearing reader/computer glasses in addition to my regular distance glasses. Not at the same time, of course, because that would look silly.

Double vision


***

Vision correction can be complicated.

I gave up on contact lenses years ago. My eyes are too dry to wear them comfortably, plus life with contacts was one big misadventure.

There were painful times when I put both contacts in one eye or put them in wrong side out. There were frantic mornings when I would drop one and waste precious minutes patting down the bathroom floor to find it. Then there were the times I would put one contact in, then forget and think I had lost it.

For about 10 years after giving up contacts, I wore glasses for distance vision and took them off to read or work on the computer. That wasn’t a problem.

Well, except for when I forgot where I left them or left them in reach of the dog. And there was a publicly embarrassing experience with them while teaching at UALR.

I was trying to show my students writing examples from a daily newspaper. To do this, I used the Elmo, a kind of fancy overhead projector. I laid the paper on the Elmo and a blurry image of it flashed onto a screen across the room. 

I worked the dial on the Elmo to bring the paper into focus so the students could see my example of how not to use parenthetical information in a direct quote.

No matter how much I adjusted the settings, the picture wouldn’t come into focus. The students, however, assured me again and again that the image was fine. I thought they were messing with me and continued to fiddle with the focus thing.

The students fidgeted and repeated, “Ms. Owen, it’s IN focus.”

“No, it’s not.”

“Yes,  it is.”

When I finally looked up to tell the students that the machine was broken, I saw my glasses sitting beside the Elmo. Without a word, I  put them on. 

The image came into focus.

***

Since my distance vision has changed very little over the years, I’ve kept old glasses as spares. So now I have 8 pairs (that I actually wear). Yesterday, I bought two pairs of R/C glasses so I can have one at the computer and keep the second in my purse. Now I have three pairs of glasses in my purse — the R/Cs, the distance glasses and prescription sunglasses.

I have upstairs and downstairs glasses, to-go glasses and office glasses.

I have so many pairs of glasses that you’d think I would never lose them.

But I do. I’ve become that person who looks all over the house for a pair only to find them on her head. I’ve also become the person who sometimes has one pair atop her head and another on her nose.

Now I’ll probably be the person with a pair pushed up on her head, another pair seated in its rightful place and a third pair dangling on a chain around her neck.

***

You’re probably wondering why I don’t get bifocals or progressive lenses.

Because I’m weird.

Turns out, I’m among the 1 percent of nearsighted people who suffer a type of motion sickness from blur and rapid changes in focus. Seriously. I got nauseated during the eye exam to determine my prescription for progressive lenses.

So I’m stuck with single-vision lenses. But glasses are like shoes — you can never have too many. In fact, I’m thinking of getting another pair.


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