Tuesday, January 11, 2011

The eyes have it

The beginning of January means a visit to the optomalogist in my world. Historically, and this time was no different, this appointment is an opportunity for my doctor to inform me that I am getting older - and my eyes are aging faster than I am.

Once again, it was officially confirmed that unless the letters on a page are about a 72 font - I am unable to read them unassisted. The remote control to operate the TV is nothing but a hand-sized block of uselessness. I have to memorize where the keys are to actually operate the damn thing without my glasses on.

The new bad news was that my distance vision is also further impaired. I knew that this train was coming down the track. Still, when I was faced with the idea of tri-focals, I balked. Balked as in - no f-ing way was this going to happen. To date I have managed my vision needs with several (as in lots and lots) of different pairs of glasses designed specifically for specific needs. Problems? Of course. I can't find the ones I want when I need them for the things I need them for. I can't remember which ones do what things and end up trying on two or three different pairs to get it right or at least to get it semi-right. It's a nightmare. A blurry nightmare.

So - what's a moderately blind middle-aged gal to do? Take a different tact. I decided to try monovision contacts. For the uninformed - one eye gets a contact for distance. The other gets a contact for reading. I am like a walking right-sided magnifying glass / left-sided telescope. Let's just say it's a little disconcerting knowing that I no longer have two eyes working on the same thing. They operate independently - very chameleon-esque, eh?

I got fitted on Monday. I also got lessons in how to put them in and take them out. The first was easy - the second? Not so much. I have a new respect for long time contact wearers - they make it look so easy. Pop em in. Pop em out. For me it's more like drop them in the sink, search for them endlessly, find the little sucker, try to figure out whether its inside out or right side in, grasp my upper lid, stretch my lower lid, intend to insert and drop in sink again. Repeat. Repeat. Repeat. Removing them is akin to just scratching my cornea endlessly trying to find the edges of those slippery little suckers and then nearly calling the eye doctors to ask if they could just remove them for me. Today I'm pretty damn sure I wore one inside out for about 2 hours before I realized that that scratchy edge probably wasn't just something I needed to adapt to. It's no eye party, I tell you that.

The good news? I was able to read a book without something hanging on to my face for the first time in 15 years. I was giddy. I went to Target and actually was able to browse shampoos with a clear understanding that I was buying shampoo and not cream rinse with out reaching in and grabbing my glasses from the bowels of my purse. I made dinner easily reading the recipe without having to pick up and take off and pick up and take off my "kitchen glasses." I tell you, it's a happy time.

The bad news - and of course there's bad news - - aging eyes serve a purpose for the aging person. When the world is just a little blurry all around, it's kind of like perpetually living in a bedroom where you've draped a sheer red scarf over the lamp to make yourself look more fetching. The contacts serve the unenviable affect of taking that damn scarf off the lamp. The mood lighting has harshly brightened. Now that I can see - I am shocked. Who knew that my face had so many tiny little wrinkles? Apparently, everyone with good vision did. In my world, I had the complexion of a 30 year old. It was kinda nice. It's highly likely that I've been wearing my eye-liner all crookedy for the last 10 years. Folks were just too nice to mention it. Why upset the old lady? Who knew that my sweet 12 year old had so many pores in his face? I didn't. I looked at him in the car yesterday and it kind of scared me. He needs to get some biore pore cleaning strips.

Right now I am adapting. I can wear them for several hours a day - - adding more and more each day until some point when I can wear them all day. What this means to me is that the time span between the frustrating process of inserting and the even more frustrating process of removing them is greater. There's also the possibility that at some point I will crack the nut and I will be one of those folks who can take their contacts out without a mirror, spit on them and put them back in while riding a horse.

Well, we'll "see" about that.

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