Diehards

Tuesday, 11 March 2008

Tryin' Eyes

A few years ago I started getting an odd sensation when looking at things close up, as if my eyes were camera lenses slowly focusing. I could almost hear them buzz. Then they became zoom lenses and anything too close remained a blur. Lately too close has been expanding and reading has become a headache, literally. And the zoom lenses are now smeared with the filthy fingerprints of age and so anything beyond a certain point no longer reveals its detail. Driving any distance caused a headache too. Anyway, on I soldiered, valiantly, much to the amusement of my boys who would joyfully remark on the way my head would shoot backwards when they tried to show me something small. And then a week or so ago I realised I’d stopped reading certain favourite poets because of the size of the print and knew I’d have to do something about it.

So, I am now the confused owner of a pair of varifocal spectacles. I chose the varifocal option because it seemed simpler than getting two pairs and having to swop them about all the time. In lectures I have to both look at power-point slides projected onto a screen and write notes. When driving I often have to consult a map or written directions. When out exploring, or shopping or just generally mooching, I look at things both near and far. Plus, my bag already has far too much stuff in it. So I went for multi-function, assuming it would be the path of least annoyance. Wrong!

Admittedly I’ve only had them since Saturday, but they’re driving me doolally. You can’t look sideways in them, you can only look straight ahead: chin up for reading, chin down to look around, which seems counter intuitive. Any deviation and I’m sent into a spin. And the window of clarity doesn’t seem to be as wide as a small paper-back so I’m forced to move either the book or my head to scan the page. It’s so bloody odd. Now when trying to read, or write, I spend most of my time with my eyes closed in exhaustion. And my head hurts all the time.

And that’s not the only thing. I’ve never seen myself as a wearer of spectacles, they don’t go with my hair, and they make nasty huge dents in the side of my nose which hurt. Also, they’re smarter looking and more polished than the rest of me. I feel I ought to go out and buy some dry-clean only separates and a pair of Gucci loafers.

Looking out the window’s good though, I can do that. And I can read all the titles on my bookshelves from my couch. I can also read the packaging on Lidl cakes, which means I know what I’m contaminating my body with. Apparently it does take time to get used to varifocal lenses and after a while you make the small head movements necessary without thinking. But for now I can’t stop taking the damned things off and cleaning them. Should I have gone for contact lenses and a large pair of reading specs?

11 comments:

debra said...

My Dad was an optometrist, and I was inundated with optical options my whole life! Now that I am a grown up, I have glasses for distance which I use when I need them---when driving--mostly at night, and when in stores that are unfamiliar. I use glasses for close work when I have a lot to do or when I am tired. Wroks for me.

Conan Drumm said...

I was unable to get used to glasses when I got them first about three years ago. They get in my line of sight and are soooo annoying I hardly ever wear them.

Carole said...

Yes, yes, and yes. I think you would love contacts and just use reading glasses.

I had to start wearing glasses since first grade so I am used to them. I remember how excited I was to know trees had leaves. I almost fell over the first time I could actually see because I had learned to balance without seeing. Then when everything became sharp and defined, it seemed unnatural.

But now 48 years later, I'm used to them...so take heart.

Mary Witzl said...

Eryl, I wish I could have talked to you on Saturday, because I would have warned you NOT to get varifocals. I have a pair, having come to the same conclusions you did, and they are really a pain in the neck. I tend to use them when I know I am not going to be moving around a lot -- when I'm reading in bed.

I've only had glasses for a few years. I was one of those awful people who could read the tiniest print in the world, even in bad light. Friends with poor vision used to ask me to read things for them and I found it hard to believe I would ever have trouble making out small print. How the mighty have fallen...

Eryl Shields said...

Debra ~ Wow so you got to try every sort from a young age, lucky you! Tomorrow I will try driving in mine for the first time.

CD ~ Only being able to look straight ahead definitely has its problems. I haven't been able to wear mine for longer than about an hour before taking them off in frustration.

Carole ~ I think you may be right, can you just put reading glasses on over the top of contact lenses I wonder?

Mary ~ I have the option of taking them back for the next month but they advised me to give it at least two weeks before giving up on them. I'm counting the days now, they're just so odd to wear.

Sorry I was unable to hang around on Saturday. I hope you're happy with your new short hair cut.

debra said...

We had to try all of the options when we were kids. Actually, my Dad tried things on us. When he was first learning to fit contacts (hard lenses), he tried them on my sister and me. I remember sitting in his exam chair when he put that piece of glass in my eye. I screamed. "Take it out. You're killing me." There was a waiting room full of people who, I am sure, heard a young teen screeching. Dad tried to get me to quiet down, which I did as soon as he took out the lens.

Carole said...

I had contacts for years. The soft kind which took me about a half a day to get used too. And reading glasses just compliment them, so yes you can wear them together with no worries.

PI said...

Contact lenses and I don't go and I finally gave up - life's too short! Persevere with your varifocals. I love them and now have a pair which are virtually weightless and cost me an arm and a leg - but worth it. It is a bleedin' bore I agree. Wait for the ear thingy:)

Eryl Shields said...

Debra ~ Yikes!!!!!

Carole ~ In that case that may be the way to go for me.

Pat ~ I drove in them today and nearly ran over a pedestrian who just stepped into the road - and into my blur-zone - without, I hope, looking. This made me a bit nervous and also queasy.

I don't think the ear thingy will be far away, I can feel my body disintegrating!

Kim Ayres said...

I'm still in denial about needing glasses. However, I have noticed that if I try Maggie's on I can see everything a little more clearly...

Eryl Shields said...

Kim ~ But do you really want to Kim?