I listened in horror as the eye doctor uttered those now infamous words to my mother....
"It looks like she's going to need glasses."
|This is pretty much what my|
glasses looked like!
At least until the eye doctor gave me the green light to switch to contact lenses at the age of 15, which might as well have been 974 years away!
I don't know why the myopia diagnosis came as a surprise. After all, both my parents wore glasses, and my younger brother Steven would soon follow suit. Only my sister Bev was spared. She wouldn't need assistance with her vision until much later in life.
It didn't matter that I suddenly had the ability to see the classroom blackboard. It didn't matter that I had stopped bumping into walls.
I felt awkward. Unappealing. Ugly.
|This is how I viewed the middle school|
dance when I refused to wear my glasses.
So ugly, in fact, that I hid my glasses in my pocketbook during middle school dances. True, I couldn't see my fingers if I held them in front of my face, but without my glasses, boys wanted to talk to me. Without my glasses I felt popular. Without my glasses I felt, dare I say...a tiny bit pretty.
Finally, I turned 15 and with it shed my glasses in exchange for contact lenses, which I refused to take off.
I wore them when I slept. I wore them when I swam. During one summer as a senior counselor at Nock-a-Mixon overnight camp I only wore the right contact because the left lens had torn in half. It didn't matter if I could only see out of one eye. The alternative - wearing my glasses in full view of my new camp boyfriend - was not an option.
As the years wore on I reaped the benefit of disposable contacts, which allowed me to change them every few days. I also stopped wearing them to sleep, as I grew tired of waking up with my eyes glued together by the force of dried out lenses.
My eyesight, while quite horrible, remained unchanged throughout my 30s. As 40 rolled around, I received the added diagnosis of an astigmatism, which occurs when the cornea becomes irregularly shaped. It became increasingly difficult to find an effective contact lens prescription. What's more, the eye doctor suggested I switch to glasses - but not just any glasses - bifocals!
I refused to stop wearing my contacts, but agreed to at least try the bifocals after work during the short evening hours at home, prior to bed.
I couldn't do it.
While my husband Bob managed to get used to trifocals, I experienced the sensation of walking through a carnival fun house while wearing bifocals. A "normal" glasses prescription would have to suffice.
Even though I could see much better with glasses, I insisted on wearing my contacts the majority of time. True, my stylish frames were a far cry from the thick lenses of my childhood, but my vanity still got the best of me. In addition, my glasses simply were not comfortable. After an hour or two they dug into the back of my ears and irritated the bridge of my nose.
As I crossed the threshold into my 50s, my eyesight continued to worsen. Night driving became downright difficult. I had to squint to see my bedroom TV. I changed the font size on my iPhone and computer to jumbo, but still, I continued to wear my contacts.
Little did I know that those trusty contacts that had kept me from the petrifying fate of wearing glasses for the past four decades would soon meet their untimely demise at the hands of an unlikley enemy.
An enemy commonly known as (cue theme from Jaws)......ALLERGIES!
Over-the-counter eye drops.
Prescription eye drops.
As soon as I put my trusty contacts in my eyes, goops of allergy-induced gunk would stick to the lenses, making them uncomfortable, and oftentimes, even painful.
My eye doctor gave me a prescription for stronger glasses. I picked out new frames that felt much more comfortable on my nose and ears. I put on those new frames and marvelled at finally being able to see a crystal clear version of my world....and I never looked back.
Today, at age 52, the desire for clear vision far outweighs the desire to feel pretty. Although, I must admit my husband, daughters, colleauges, and friends all insist that I look really good in my new frames. So the next time you see me, there's a pretty good chance I'll be wearing glasses.
Unless, of course, I'm attending a middle school dance!
|Yours truly (center) wearing glasses while I happily take a selfie with my daughters|
Melissa (l) and Jessica (r).
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