Tuesday, November 08, 2022

Me. 30% Smarter. Looking.

After a lifetime of better than 20/20 vision I started to notice some text just wouldn't come into focus like it used to. Sure, I could still read the tiny print on my watch or Shira's Kindle, but only if I positioned the device at just the right distance. And even then, I found I was working way harder than before.

I mentioned my concerns to Shira and in no time she had me scheduled to see our eye doctor.

The nurse took me through the process of finding my prescription, a process that a small part of me held out hope would result in her explaining that my vision was just too good for glasses. Yeah, that didn't happen. The ophthalmologist then came in to chat and bust some myths. No, wearing glasses wouldn't accelerate my vision loss. No, avoiding glasses wouldn't do me any harm. No, a cheap pair reading glasses from the pharmacy wouldn't do the trick. Yes, my vision will get worse in the future.

I left the doctor's office with a prescription for progressive lenses and a choice: wear glasses or not, whichever I wanted. Because I have yet hear anyone remark 'I should have waited' when talking about anything eye related, I decided I was in. It was time for glasses!

A very patient and knowledgeable gentleman at the Lens Crafter's in the Pentagon City Mall helped me choose my first set of frames. He educated me on both technical and stylistic matters, advising me for example, which styles best agreed with the shape of my face (who knew this was even a thing?). He also played referee between Shira and Myself, as I kept gravitating to outlandish styles and Shira wanted something decidedly more subtle. Between this kind employee and Shira, picking frames turned out to be painless.

Returning to Lens Crafters it was time for the moment of truth. I donned my new glasses the clerk and held up an iPad with various sizes of text printed on it. Was the screen legible? It was. But, if I took off the glasses, it was also legible. So yeah, the magic moment some experience of going from blindness to sight wasn't in the cards for me. All I felt was a not-so subtle sense of awkwardness from wearing glasses inside.

Over the next couple of days I pressed Shira, who had glasses for years until she got Lasik. You really don't feel the frames on your face? Nope, she explained. They will become invisible. I wasn't there yet. The glasses weren't uncomfortable, but they felt, well present.

In many respects, this pair of glasses is a modern marvel. The progressive nature means that I can use them for both distance and up-close work. They look good and weigh almost nothing. They block blue light and transition to a darker shade to protect my eyes form the sun.

In reality, nothing beats the human eye. Frustratingly, wearing glasses has actually reduced my vision in many contexts. If an object is far away and in the lower section of my sight, or close by and in the upper section of my sight, then its blurry. I've traded having to position my watch or Kindle at just the distance to having to tilt my head to just the right angle. More than once, when I wanted to see something clearly I've taken off my glasses.

Still, when I find that sweet spot in the lens--which I'm told will be come automatic soon enough--my vision is crystal clear. It's amazing.

While I still feel the glasses on my face, I think their presence is starting to fade. Though now I've had a new phenomena to deal with: a sense that I'm wearing glasses, even when I'm not. I'll be lying in bed knowing full well I've taken my glasses off, yet I'll instinctively reach up to check as my brain is quite sure they're still there. It's a surreal feeling and brings to mind phantom phone vibration.

It took exactly 21 days, but on the morning of November 4th I had the moment I was waiting for: I needed to read some text and my first thought was, where are my glasses?

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