Today I am thinking about my eyes.

I was in the fourth grade before anyone, even me, realized that I wasn’t seeing very well.  My first eye exam ever revealed that I suffered from just straightforward near-sightedness.  I clearly remember the day I received my first pair of glasses in the pretty blue frames that matched my blue eyes.  And sixty years later I can still feel chastised by Dr. Sahlstrom for laying the new glasses right flat down on their lenses.  I don’t think I’ve dared to do that even once since then!

That trip home from the eye doctor’s office was an indescribable feast of visual clarity.  And so began a lifetime of wearing glasses, except for one really unfortunate period when I tried contact lenses in the mid-1960’s.  Hard contacts were all that had been invented, and it turned out that they didn’t work well for me in dry and dusty Colorado.  I was surprisingly unsorry to put glasses back on my nose.

If I had kept all the glasses I’ve worn over the years, I would have a fine history of optical fashion, from cunning cat’s eyes to big round ones that obscured half my face, from studious black ones to flamboyant stripes and plaids.  What I didn’t realize until recently is that my glasses became an important part of me, an expression of self.

Flash forward to round about my 70th birthday.  Now my glasses ceased to do the job they were meant to do, and the diagnosis was what so often comes with age—CATARACTS.  Not to worry, there is a simple solution.  You can have the cataracts removed and as an added bonus you can get brand-new lenses inserted to replace the damaged ones.  Who would turn down such an opportunity to improve a situation?  Not me!  So I had both of my eyes surgically repaired.

But there were two critical things that I really didn’t think through:  there was a good chance I wouldn’t need glasses anymore, and I love wearing glasses because they are an integral part of me.

So now I have tolerated my naked face for six post-surgery months.  In that time my vision has settled and is not perfect, with the left eye the weakest.  I can get by, but it’s uncomfortable.  And those little readers I need to, well, READ?  I hate them, and have had to resort to planting five pairs strategically around the house, plus the pair in my purse.  Bother!

At my recent follow-up the surgeon admired the fine job he’d done and then said the magic words:  “I can give you 20-20 vision with glasses with bifocals.”  Oh YES YES, I’m sure I cried, and I left his office with a prescription for glasses in my hand, so happy. 

Excited can hardly describe it.  I went straight to a top-notch optician to get the magic glasses made, and I walked into a fairyland of frames to choose from.  A very nice expert lady advised me and together we searched for a perfect choice.  I slipped on THE pair and looked into the mirror.  It was an astounding moment, for looking back at me was ME.  Laugh if you like but, really, I felt like I had returned to myself in some profound way. 

Magic glasses don’t come cheap, especially if you choose the $250 frames by Dior.  And if you decide to get computer glasses also, with $250 frames by Dior.  And you need bifocals in both pair.  And you might go back later for sunglasses.  It isn’t a matter of money at all, it’s a matter of putting yourself back together as you are meant to be.

It will be five more working days before the magic happens.  I can’t wait!

Think about that.


I have the simplest tastes.  I am always satisfied with the best.                          Oscar Wilde


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This entry was posted on Monday, November 2nd, 2009 at 4:12 pm and is filed under Things to Think About. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

One Response to “Eyes”

  1. I, Rodius on November 2nd, 2009 at 8:03 pm

    I can’t help thinking I’d be happy without glasses, but contacts have never worked for me, and I’m too nervous about potential damage from surgery. But to lose them and then want them back? You so crazy!