Too close… too far… juuuust right!

So… it’s been a weird progression over the last few years. First, I find out my eyes are getting worse and go to get a new prescription for my glasses. The optometrist tells me I have cataracts but can correct for them with lenses in the meantime. Then it progresses to even worse and I get my optometrist to schedule me for surgery. We don’t bother upgrading my prescription because, well, my eyes would just quickly get worse and the money would have been wasted.

Over the six months waiting for my surgery my eyes do get steadily worse. Pretty soon my prescription glasses don’t seem to make much difference at all. Then, at my eye measurement appointment, the doctor suggests I simply get some cheap drug store reading glasses. I take her suggestion and find reading glasses with a +2.0 rating allow me to read again. Joy! Sure the frames are kind of small and the arms dig into my head above my ears, but it’s a small price to pay to be able to read again.

Then, the surgery, and my left eye clears up like never before. I haven’t seen this clearly since I was in my twenties. It’s glorious. The doctor tests me the following morning and says, for distance vision, I have 20/20. For close up work, though, they’re completely unfocused. I definitely will need reading glasses.

Now, however, the cheap reading glasses I got from the drug store only let me read when the book / computer / text / whatever is fairly close to my face. Working on a computer at a table becomes awkward again. I have to drag the monitor close to my face for the text to become clear.

Today I went back to the drug store willing to pay another thirty to forty dollars to find the right quasi-prescription that lets me read at arms’ length.

My discovery? The more powerful the prescription, the closer the text needs to be. So, after trying a few on, I discover that a prescription of +1.25 is pretty good. They don’t go lower than that, though, so I hem and haw a bit. I don’t want to spend money if a slightly lower prescription would work better. I decide to leave it alone for a while and try again later.

Then, as I’m walking home, a thought occurs to me.

My original glasses were actually pretty weak. I seem to recall the optometrist saying they were barely a +1. I go home, I put them on, I sit at my computer.

Perfect. Well, maybe not 100% perfect, but definitely workable. I can now work on my computer with the screen at slightly more than arms’ length away. And the frames fit comfortably!

Win/win/win.

Eye wear my son glasses at night

Yep, itll have to come out.

Yep, it'll have to come out.

Went to the optometrist today. Received both some reassuring and disturbing news.

As I’d mentioned before when my mother was my age she was changing eyeglass prescriptions more and more frequently. By her late forties she was getting new lenses every six months or so. At the time I’d attributed it to her work, retouching film negatives with brushes as small as a single hair in size.

Well, my eyesight has been bothering me in increasing amounts over the past couple of years. I’ve gone through a couple of different eyeglass prescriptions already, and this after my prescription hadn’t changed in over twenty years. I started to worry that I’d wind up with my vision degrading as fast as my mother’s did.

I found out last year that I have a cataract on the lens of my left eye. My optometrist strongly suggested I get a physical in case this was indicative of something more. I followed her suggestion and, thankfully, found myself to be still fat but otherwise healthy. (and with cholesterol still lower than Ronya’s, a fact that continues to driver her nuts)

Today I found out that my right eye is also developing a cataract. Up until recently my right eye had been compensating for the blur in the left, but that’s no longer the case. Now, unfortunately, it’s time for surgery.

On the one hand I’m nervous because someone is going to be cutting into my eye. On the other hand I’m reassured that it’s an incredibly simple procedure these days and even the elderly that go through it recover easily. It takes about 15 minutes and some local anesthetic. They replace the cloudy lens with an artificial one and, presto, your vision is clear.

Which I’m eager to get, quite honestly. Right now any light source I look at has a foggy corona around it, something that makes driving at night just that much more difficult. I’m thinking I’m going to let Ronya drive at night until I get this fixed.

The downside is that the artificial lens, while clear, isn’t as pliable as the natural lens. This means I will definitely need reading glasses after the surgery is done. Which I’m more or less okay with because I’d kind of like to have reading glasses *now*. I’m already having to pull books away an extra foot or so to be able to read them clearly. Some of that is the cataract but a fair amount of that is simply my aging lenses getting more and more rigid on their own. Replacing them won’t be much of a loss.

The other slight downside is that it *is* a simple procedure done with local anesthetic. If someone is going to operate on my eye part of me would much rather be unconscious for the whole thing. If I’m awake and aware of everything going on I’m going to develop nightmares, I’m sure of it.

So now I have to wait for a specialist to contact me for an appointment, which I’m told will take a month or two, and then we will schedule the surgery, which I’m told could take as much as a year. I’m not in dire need (I’m annoyed but I can still see and function) so others will take precedence.

I’d rather wait the extra time under our current coverage than be able to have ready access to a procedure I can’t afford. At least this way I’ll get it done *eventually*.

In related news, Josh Silver’s self adjustable eyeglasses (which I wrote about here last year) are being talked about again, this time at TED.