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Looking out the fishbowl

by VM Brasseur on March 22nd, 2007

I got my first pair of glasses when I was in fifth grade. In 1993 I switched to contact lenses and kissed glasses goodbye. Never thereafter did they grace my visage.

My eyes are bad. Really bad. Like if I ever lose a contact while I’m out I won’t be able to get home again. When I backpack I take two extra pairs of contacts with me, otherwise I’m bear fodder.

Soon after I moved to California in 1999 I started looking into Lasik. “They can fix me! I could see again!” Sure, it cost a lot, but it would be worth it just to once again be able to read in bed before going to sleep.

Then I found out that you can’t wear contacts for about a week prior to surgery. Glasses? But I don’t have glasses!

So sometime around 2001 I tried getting glasses again. They examined. They ordered. They called to let me know they were ready. I put the glasses on my face and was nauseous within seconds. The glasses came off. The glasses were returned. I felt sick for the next four hours.

Fast forward to 2004. It’s nearing the end of the year and I still have flex money to use up so I decide to take the plunge again. They examined. They ordered. They called to let me know they were ready. I put the glasses on and… Um, well, maybe I could get used to it. So I kept them. I wore them around the house. Once I even wore them while running through an airport. Each time I did I ended up feeling sick. Too late to return them, I kept them on hand in case of emergencies (for instance, they always went backpacking with me along with those spare contacts).

In 2005 I left the job which gave me vision coverage. In 2007 my (now not so) new company got a new benefits package so I could try once more. Last week I went to see the eye doctor and felt not a small amount of skepticism. My new eye doctor has decorated his examination room with macabre teddy bears. It’s an army of fluffy zombies and all of their blank glassy eyes are staring at YOU. Aside from his dark quirks he was a good guy. Very personable. Listened. Answered all my questions (“What’s that button do? How’s this machine work?”).

He took my glasses (which I’d thought to bring) and scanned them in a machine. Then he set his “which-is-better-1-or-2” machine to that prescription and asked me to look at the chart on the wall. Ugh. Must not hurl. It would be unseemly. “OK, so here’s the prescription I’m going to give you…” Oh, hold on. That actually looks good. Maybe this will work after all.

New prescription clutched in my eager little hand, I went out and picked out a frame. Considering all I really need the things for is the week running up to surgery you’d think I’d buy the cheapest thing I could find, but vanity won out and I selected something that I thought looked decent. And I sprang for the expensive high-refraction lenses which would hide the Coke-bottle-ness of my prescription.

Today I received the call that the glasses were ready for pickup. I sit down, put on the glasses and… Uh oh. OK, see, that’s not right. It’s supposed to be right this time! It’s supposed to work! *sigh*

The very patient woman on the other side of the desk took my glasses and worked her voodoo on them. There were pliers involved. It wasn’t a pretty sight (I imagine, but as my contacts were out imagining sights was all I could do). “Here, try this now.” Cautiously I took them from her. I closed my eyes and slid the temples over my ears. I paused and then opened my eyes again.

“Well, it’s better. It’s still not that great though.” She told me that I just needed to get used to it. That, honest, it’ll get better. Her argument would have been more compelling had I not fallen for that line before. But as I had 30 days within which to make up my mind I decided I might as well take the things home and give them a spin.

Not being a fool, I waited until after wielding the very sharp knife to make dinner before donning the vertigo-inducing spectacles. I set the case next to my laptop to give myself less excuse to avoid trying them tonight. After eating, took out my contacts, opened the case and put on the glasses. The world spun for a while. Turning my head was an exercise in reverse peristalsis suppression. Standing and walking? Well, I’m sure the bruises won’t show (much).

Then I sat at the laptop. If these things don’t work while I’m at the computer, sorry, but all bets are off and they go back tomorrow. I had some work I was very keen to finish tonight, so I ended up getting fairly engrossed in that. Eventually, as is its wont, nature called and I stood to go answer. It wasn’t until I was returning to the laptop that I remembered that I was wearing the glasses.

“Huh.”

I finished my work then turned my attention to the much neglected wave of dishes which was rapidly spreading out of my sink and all over my kitchen counters. There was a bit of queasiness if I turned my head too quickly, but otherwise I didn’t notice the glasses too much. Vacuuming? The same.

It looks as though my eight year quest for glasses that work may finally be at an end. Now all I have to do is get together a few thousand dollars to have someone fry my eyes. Excellent.

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2 Comments
  1. Wow! That sucks! (the original problems, not your current state.)

    I guess it’s not that surprising that you’ve suffered the dizzyness/headache thing, now that I think about it. When I go a weekend without using my contacts and then put them back in, I get a mild case… I think it’s just that the 2 have different prescriptions (slightly) and different distances from the eye (obviously) and so your eyes have to readjust. And if you hadn’t worn glasses in years, that adjustment must have been a bitch.

    Anyway, good luck with the eyeball surgery. My dad had it last year, and loves it. (He has one eye for near and one for far – the LASIK version of bifocals… it screwed up his golf game, evidently.)

  2. Now I remember hearing you mention the slight ickiness after having your contacts in for a long time. It’s good to know I’m not just being hypersensitive (well, not completely hypersensitive, anyway)

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