Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Reading Glasses

My fifth grade class picture (1962)
I have worn eyeglasses since I was in fifth grade. I have vivid memories of my first pair of glasses. They were horn rimmed glasses, slightly rounded, and I was amazed at what I could see. I saw individual blades of grass for the first time. I could read the writing on the chalkboard at school for the first time. And, I felt like glasses made me smarter. Remember, now ... I was 10-years-old and hadn't yet figured out that I'd already missed a lot of things by being myopic.  

I was required by law to wear by glasses when driving. And, of course, I had to wear them when watching a movie or the TV. I could see close up just fine. But, if something was more than a foot from my face, it was blurry.  And, so, I moved through life as a nearsighted nerd, always with my face stuck in a book. (I loved reading and it had absolutely nothing to do with wearing glasses! I still love reading! On my Kindle! And, thanks to technology, I can do it without glasses! But, that's a story for another day!)

In 1990 I returned to school. I had completed two years of college nearly 20 years earlier, so I was grateful to have a chance to return to the wonderful world of academia to complete my degree. Along about the second semester of classes, I began to notice that I had to lift my glasses off my nose to see what I was reading or writing. I spent the better part of a year practicing this technique and, finally, at the urging of a fellow student, went for an eye exam. I was old enough for bifocals!
In 2001, the year the first Harry Potter film came out, I started struggling with my bifocals. Seeing things closeup was becoming more troublesome. And, as someone who loves doing needlework, this became a real problem. One day around this time I was in a Walgreens waiting on a friend and browsing the "reading glasses." I found a cute pair of oval shaped horn rimmed glasses with +1.25 lenses that seemed to do the trick for me, so I bought them. I remember that they cost $8.99 and I coveted those glasses as though they were Harry's glasses!

In 2007, my youngest daughter was home from college for Happy Thanksgiving and she commented that my glasses were all over the place. By now, I had acquired numerous pairs. A pair by my chair for reading and needlework (now a +2.0), a pair on my desk with the computer, a pair in the bathroom for plucking eyebrows, a pair on the dresser so I could see the clasps on my abundant collection of necklaces, a pair in the doll room so I could see the shoes and accessories for my fashion dolls and a pair in the kitchen. Oh, yeah! There was also a pair that lived on my desk at work and a pair in the car's glovebox, just in case I needed them. I had reading glasses everywhere!

At my darling husband's suggestion, I went to see the optometrist and she said I could get "trifocals" to meet the far-middle-close range of my degenerating vision. I chose beautiful gold rimmed John Lennon frames for these new glasses and waited two days for their delivery.

This was very exciting! Technology was going to make my life easier! How wonderful!
I was quite happy when I first got my "John Lennon" glasses from the Lenscrafters store. 

And, in my enthusiasm, I wore them all the time. 

For three days ... count 'em ... one, two, three ... for 3 days I wore those trifocals. I loved the frames! People commented on them, and, once again I thought they made me smarter. BUT! They made me dizzy. Very, very dizzy. Friends and coworkers said I would get used to them, and I swear to you ... I tried!

After the third day wearing my "trifocals," 
I made my way back to the optometrist 
and told her I wanted 
just regular lenses in the glasses, 
so I could wear them for 
driving and watching movies. 
To hell with trifocals! 

Reading glasses were cheap! 
I didn't need to be dizzy!
I just wanted to see! 
Up close.
Far away.
And, in between.

Why, I bought "Ugly Betty" glasses 
at Target for a buck a pair! Red ones!
Polka dotted ones! 
Leopard ones!
Plaid ones! 
And, camouflage ones! 
I was swimming 
in cheap reading glasses! 
It was heaven!

Today, I welcomed new "old school" reading glasses at strength +2.50

My eyes are getting worse. 
Sad, but true.

My mom had macular degeneration, and I remember what a struggle it was for her. Like me, she, too, enjoyed needlework. The thing is, you have to be able to see what you're doing to thread a needle or wield a crochet hook. So, while I worry about my sight, I continue to see the optometrist and the retina specialist and I enjoy the lastest in boomer fashion accessories!  Cheap, cute reading glasses!


Sam Times said...

So the first time you wore your glasses, you felt like that world was in HD mode, right? Well, I guess anyone who wore their first pair felt that way. :D

Vincent Davis said...

No one can pull off bifocals cooler than John Lennon! Hehehe. My friend likes those Ugly Betty glasses too, and she buys every design. So how is your vision now, Constance? I hope it's getting better. Yeah, those cheap reading glasses rock it!

Constance said...

What's really great is being able to see! Close up! It's always the little things, isn't it? :o)


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