Thursday, June 4, 2009


My ancestors were near-sighted, far-sighted, oh, just generally bad-sighted, with touches of astigmatism for an impressionist view of life. Neither side of the family could boast good vision. So why me?

20/10, here. Friends ask me to read menus, street signs, and addresses on houses located 100 miles away. My talents may be few, I don’t look both ways, but I can see.

Well, could see. Last year I noticed, painfully, that the really tiny print on the bug-spray can was blurry. Not the instruction part (“Do not wrap head in plastic bag and spray down throat”) but disclaimer part (“Discontinue use if ants still move but you’re dead.”)


I’ve always wanted glasses. I look better in glasses than without glasses. Plus, they give you this cool little barrier between you and the world. But I hate to fail a test, any test. Perhaps that’s why I passed the eye exam. Here’s the thing: My vision has lost a step (more like twenty feet), and damn it, I want those pink oval frames with the cool transition lenses.

So the doctor finally agreed a prescription would improve my quality of life; I got fitted, and came for my return appointment to try them on. The fit was nice. I told the doctor he had a loose filling in his left bicuspid. We walked to the window and I noted the pollen on the stamen on the poppy growing 6 miles away, 40 degrees southwest of the echo mountain trail. Only trouble was, anything larger was a giant blur.

No, this will not do at all, I told the doctor, walking into the eye chart but clearly seeing the copyright date in the left-hand corner.

He made further adjustments. By now, I was wedded to the idea of pink wireframes, and had already invested $200.

Two weeks later, I took the new lenses for a test drive. Underwater, or so it seemed. Driving wasn’t a good idea. Nor was walking. Or breathing. Ever been seasick? Barf on the deck, divest-yourself-of-any-bit-of–lasagna-ever-eaten seasick? That’s what hit me and my new glasses while reaching for the Ajax cleanser on the bottom shelf at the local Ralph’s.

What price beauty? What price pretty pink frames? What price reading itty-bitty print? I can choose to see the sidewalk plainly, or choose to see the initials of the guy who laid the sidewalk two miles away cutely.

For now, I’ve settled for glasses and permanent nausea. Go back for another prescription adjustment? I can see your point. It’s you I can’t see


  1. its probably you have a mild astigmitism that will never advance to a very serious degree.
    But I'll bet glasses would work well for going to the movies, or night driving.
    But yeah, they look really...yeah, they sure are nice. Crikey, Could your eyes be any larger?
    Why can't I click on the photo while I wr

  2. I never understood people who sit next to each other at a booth in a restaurant. how do you read the menu? Wife and I sit across from each other and hold the menu up so we can read them. of course there is the usual trauma of turning the page the wrong way, or my thumb covers the menu choice she is reading. Glasses aren't that bad, except in winter. The little face windows fog u something fierce. And the fingerprint smudges. A nuisance. Get contacts, lazer eye surgery, or forget the lenses and just wear them pink wire frames.

  3. Oh, dear me, those are some gorgeous, are they?

  4. IMHO, KB, U look better w/o glasses, seem more intelligent w/ them, R wiser w/ contacts, & lazier w/ lasix.

    If none of the above: U need someone like me 2 B your seeing-eye dog.

  5. Only you could make midlife presbyopia funny and poignant.

    I've always been seriously nearsighted but able to read microscopic fine print and see flaws in diamonds without the aid of a loop. Recently I realized that I could no longer read fine print while wearing my contact lenses. I can read great without them, but then I can't see five feet in front of me.

    I'm now in progressive lenses which are great for distance but kind of like reading with funhouse mirrors. Alternately, I can wear distance glasses and just take them off to read. Or, I can wear distance lenses and put on reading glasses to read. I'm still waiting for my progressive glasses which the doctor said "takes some getting used to." Uh oh.

    You look fetching in your new frames -- but I guess you can't see that with them on, huh?

  6. As "Fernando Lamas"(aka Billy Crystal) would say , "It's not how you feel dahling, it's how you look, and you look Mahvelous!"

    I have reading glasses all over the house. I can't read squat without them. Now I'm thinking pink frames might be in my future too!

    Nice self portrait KB!

  7. "Touches of astigmatism for an impressionist view of life"--that's not a bad description of my vision, also nearsighted plus old enough to have problems with close focus. I tend to do the glasses for distance, no glasses for reading, magnifying glass for fine print (but usually I forgo it). (I have prescription reading glasses, somewhere.) Progressive lenses just sounded like an invitation to vertigo.

  8. Ok, so now we've spelled astigmatism 3 different ways. Guess I'll have to go look that one up.

    You guys are hysterical. I sometimes hike with a friend who wears progressive lenses. She says she can't tell when her foot will hit the ground.

  9. Since no one else brought up the Dorothy Parker Dictum I won't bring it up either.

    I've heard a few horror stories of people trying to adjust to progressive lenses. I didn't have a problem and I'd rather have to wear them than join that crowd who passes around one set of reading glasses at the restaurant because only one person could find theirs.

  10. My progressive lenses tell me that you're seriously into cuteness when it comes to shower curtains. Them's some nice pink bunnehs...and maybe some chicks?

    My college roommates had 20/10 and 20/15 vision. It was frightening what they could see at a distance, until one of them saw an albino squirrel in the tree outside our dorm. She didn't say a word until I saw it and mentioned it. She also drank a lot, I think she thought she was hallucinating.

    wv ofacemi

  11. LOL!

    I've had 20/10 for years. I just thought it was normal--as my mother had something akin to 20/100 and could only see the freckles on her nose.

    I'm annoyed because I am now BLIND, BLIND I tell you! The doc says I'm near 20/20 vision, shouldn't I be HAPPY? No, I can't see anything, like the street sign 6 blocks away that I used to be able to see JUST FINE! Now I have trouble seeing the one for the street I'm sitting at the intersection for! Holy HELL how do people live like this?!

    I had an astigmatism for a few years, and poof, like it showed up, it was gone. Go figure? It is a focus problem---the projection is being focused in the wrong spot, or so my doc explained to me.

    Progressives---we've tried those---three months of back and forth to the shop and finally gave up on them in his household. Seasick is an understatement.

  12. Sigh. Having worn glasses for thirty years I can only envy you right now. I've been farsighted. I've been nearsighted. I've lost contact lenses, which never really worked for me. I have progressive lens -- two pair, one of which are sunglasses, which I like to wear because then I just look like a person in sunglasses. The family history is awash in glaucoma and macular degeneration so I'm basically doomed.

  13. Is progressive lense like bifocal, but without the clear separation? If so, I got a pair, but could never get used to them. So now I use my regular glasses, and take them off when I eat, so I can see my food.

  14. Trish, I know! It's like giving a dog a human nose. Hey, where did all the smells go? Per doctor I'm 20/20 in one eye and slightly worse in the other. And it's like, "this is all you can see with normal vision?" Oh no, I want my sight back.

  15. This is definitely a laugh out loud day!!! Sea sick is a great description of the first progressives I got...couldn't understand why my sister's were like regular eyesight and mine had this weird drop off if I glanced to the left or right with my eyes...After much discussion with the optometrist, I got the name of my sister's lenses and special ordered those!!! They worked beautifully!!! I only wore them while I was working because my distant vision is fine, I just needed a little help with the reading and close a lot more help! At this point, I've decided it's time to try out Deepak Chopra's eye exercises...

  16. You can purchase glasses with clear lenses that do nothing but make you look cute and smart. I think they must be samples; they show up at Pic and Save and the 99 cent store. I have a pair and i look very stylish when i wear them

    "Boys don't make passes at girls that wear glasses".

    I remember seeing that on a Alexis Smith painting.

  17. I love Dorothy Parker; the most memorable delivery of that line is Marilyn Monroe, in How to Marry a Millionaire.

  18. Dang - except for a few choice minutes on "Rescue Me," I haven't expereinced anything anywhere as funny as this all week.

  19. AH---I told my doc the last few years "put it back, make me see like I have ALL my life!". I was told that was not legal. WTH? That was like taking my vehicle in and saying the tire is wobbly---and being told "that's just the way it has to be". I've got to agree AH---put it back, make me normal again!!!

    Progressives are correction down the middle in varying degrees, depending on your script. The side is supposedly DESIGNED to be blurry...which would drive me insane---I played too many sports using that peripheral vision for that to work for me. Our household is a no-progressives hotspot---at least for glasses, we're pretty progressive in terms of politics etc!

    I suspect Vanda's glasses are no-line bifocals.

    Gotta say, the quote is wrong...whenever I wore my glasses I got PLENTY of passes---but without them, I got zilch!

  20. Don't worry, li'l filly. The nausea will go away, in time. I don’t mean to dash salt on your newly prepped flan, but there are other things in store as you meander down this path. Your new glasses probably allow you to see clearly a bird on a rock midway up the west side of Mount Washington, but you can’t read your favorite dime store novel with them. So, you are obliged to resort to what’s left of the prior, virginal, diminished, less sighted state. However, you can get a pair of the cute granny style, nose sitters for hanging around your favorite coffee house, pecking at the laptop. But, early morning morphs into late morning, early afternoon. You go outside and are blasted with the sunlight. You can’t see as far as you would like with granny peeps, so . . . trek back to the stable for sun glasses, complete with anti-scratch and anti-glare, which you now realize should have been features on the prior pair. Dagnabit! Now, you trek about with one pair bouncing on your nose, and the other hanging, with one temple, from the V point of your shirt, blouse, sweater. . . wha’ evah. You can live with it. Then, there is a new mushroom cloud of enlightenment. With these glasses, you cannot easily rack focus from Mount Washington to the screen of the laptop. Lawsy, mercy me, what evah shall ah do! Funny you should ask. I have just the answer. Progressive! The top of the lens is for distance, and as you move your focus to things closer, even to your laptop, you retain visual acuity.

    Today, believe it or not, I renewed my prescriptions for glasses, getting the suite of three configured options enumerated above for only $739.00 ‘n change. It probably would have cost an additional $17.21 at LensCrafters after their bait and switch tactics.

    Consulting fee for you, One Dollah down and the rest on layaway until you recover.

  21. Shouldn't we all be using our first names and initials only on this particular blog?
    As though there there were 12 steps of prescriptive lenses...
    K's got the right idea.

  22. I've had progressives for a few years now. They took some getting used to, and now they don't work anymore. They only work for distance. I have to take them off to have a conversation or work at the computer.

    But it's okay! The optometrist says the prescription is fine, they still work, and I don't have to take them off to have a conversation or even to read. In fact, I'm wrong. I can see.

    Who knew? I didn't.

    Can anyone recommend a good optometrist in the Pasadena area, by the way?

  23. I'm tellin' you...there are progressives that drop off at the edge and make you seasick, and others that are truly progressive and visually relatively accurate!!! Check out different lenses at different Optometrists before you chuck the idea altogether!!! Unfortunately...visual accuracy is relative with...dare I say it...age....yes...but think of the age, I mean...

    CB3Dot is right gets better, it gets worse...but it ain't the same as it was...

    Oh well, that's life!!!

  24. Now I'm afraid to get my progressive glasses. They'll be ready next week. Goody. (Petrea, I still go to my eye doctor in Brentwood so I am of no help to you!)

    I do like the progressive contact lenses I just started wearing. Perfect distance and mid range and now, instead of having to grab reading glasses while I'm wearing contacts, I can actually read. Granted, it's not as good as reading without the contacts or glasses but it'll do.

    Shall we discuss eye floaters? Those are the things driving me insane for the last few years. My doctor swears "they're normal, and there is nothing to be done so just ignore them." It's like viewing the world through a dirty snowglobe but, hey, my doctor says it's no big deal! I think he studies with Petrea's doctor.

  25. I got progressives but I never wear them for the reasons others have stated - they make me feel like I'm under water.

    I'm unusual because I don't need reading glasses, which is rare for someone my age. I have to flip up my glasses when I read. It's difficult if I have to keep looking back and forth from a book to a computer screen. That's what I should be using the progressives for.

    I go to opthalmologists Andrew Chang and Calvin Eng at 10 Congress in Pasadena. I'm not sure which one I usually see, but I have not had a problem with them. I get my prescriptions there but get my glasses at Sterling Optical.

  26. But I get my frames from Dame Edna.

  27. The one with rhinestone butterflies is particularly fetching.

    WV: Noses. It sits well on your noses Mr. E.

  28. Mister E, that's what happens with nearsighted people. They often don't need reading glasses unless they are wearing contacts to correct distance. That's why one of the questions in an eye exam if you're myopic is, "do you take your glasses off to read?"

    K, I had a pair of pink cat eye glasses in the 80s.

  29. Earl, I love your photo, it reminds me of a younger Paul Simon. Slap some Dame Ednas on that image and I'll be completely smitten.

  30. Also, I'm having an extra special snorggle with my cat (he rarely tolerates this, and I don't mean that) this morning and find myself watching L'Open Francaise. It looks like good sportsmanship is back in fashion and the playing is remarkable.

    wv miesbl
    Les miesbl? Oui.

  31. PJ, Mr E is even better looking in person! Even the married women wish they were single again after meeting him.
    Probably only a K9 could lure them away from him.

  32. There you go again - brag, brag, barg. And look so good too. Glasses? No one is notices the glasses. :)

    I went to a retirement dinner last night for 2 of my Franklin High teachers - band and 12th grade English both after 40 yrs of teaching. Mr. Quon, my band teacher, did not recognize me because I didn't have my glasses on - her remembers these dorky narrow ones I used to wear - I bet now they would be stylish now, or not. It was such a trip to see them again after 33 years! 33? OMG!

  33. I'm so blind my granddaughter has started sticking an extra pair of glasses in the bag when we leave the apartment every day.

    Laurie, I worked for an ophthalmologist for a number of years. FLoaters are the trash in the vitreous and you are right, they are as annoying as all get out. I"ve had some vitreous detachment so I'm happy it's not worse!