The New Glasses

I’ve had my new glasses for over a week now, and I’m pretty excited about them.

I have three older pairs scattered around the house for various reasons. My most recent pair are at my computer, for working. I carry my second-oldest pair in my purse, for reading music. And my third-oldest pair are on my bedside table, for reading at night. Now, this arrangement isn’t ideal, not by a long shot. Particularly if you consider that the most recent pair are two or three years old, the second-oldest are eightish years old, and the third oldest are so old I can’t remember when I got them, to be honest. Possibly pre-blog vintage. But they all seemed to work adequately for the reasons I needed them. They were fine, in a pinch.

Last year I got a reminder card from my optometrist. That’s new; they usually don’t do that for me. But maybe there was a flag put in my file to recall me every two years, because my optometrist told me that once one hits forty, ones eyes really start changing as the lens loses its flexibility at a faster rate. I knew I was due, but it wasn’t immediately critical, and I didn’t have the money for new glasses anyway.

This spring I started getting irritated at my eyewear situation. I was wearing my glasses pretty much all the time at home, but if I tried to wear them in the car, my eyes hurt and it was actually harder to see. So I’d take them off, but then I’d forget to put them back on unless I was at a musical activity where I needed them to see my sheet music clearly. This last pair of glasses were for general wear with an emphasis on reading, but I hadn’t been told I had to wear them for driving (or to not wear them for that reason, either, just to be clear). It got to a point where when I had the money, I made the appointment.

And it turns out I did the right thing. My optometrist is terrific. Unlike some other optometrists I’ve had, he actually asks what I do in daily life and what my job is, listens to what I say, and then makes good decisions based on that information. He asked if I’d had an increase in headaches, too (how did he know?). He explained to me that my eyes are pretty good at what they do, sharing the job between them, albeit in an unequal fashion (nearsighted in one eye, farsighted in the other), but that my job was stressing their capabilities. He pointed out that it was great that my monitor was as far away from me as possible because my eyes were good at distance stuff, but that I shifted frequently between the screen, printed material on the desk between it and I, and my hands close up. What I needed, he said, were three different prescriptions to help my eyes shift between those three distances. And he wrote a scrip for progressive lenses.

Then the fun started. And by fun I mean the soul-crushing search for frames. I have a small face. 90% of frames are too wide and look awful. Among the last 10% available to me, the frames had to be large enough to contain the lens area for a progressive prescription. That eliminated about 90% of the smaller frames out there. This meant I had to choose a frame that looked good, had a lens area large enough, and was in a material or colour I didn’t despise. I’d been casually bookmarking frames online for a year or so, preparing for this eventual pair; all of them were useless. I went to five different stores in person and eliminated pretty much everything out there. I ended up at Optique Laurier and finally found a set of frames that I didn’t hate. I’d been hoping to find a pair in green, but apparently it is not an In Colour these days. I ended up with purple, of all colours (not something I ever expected; it makes Owlet very happy, as it is her favourite colour), matte purple metal frames and purple mosaic acrylic arms. I went back a couple of days ago for a final adjustment, and I’m really happy. They fit, they’re comfortable, I can wear them all the time without having to take them off or peek over the top — including the car! it’s great! — and it took me no time to adjust to them at all. I’d read about the adjustment period for progressives and was nervous about it, but I drove right home with them on, and had no trouble with stairs or anything. (There was an interesting moment where I stepped off the curb on my way to pick Sparky up for school, but that was all.) There was also an hour where if I paid too much attention to my peripheral vision when I turned around it felt like I was in a fishbowl because things distorted, but that was super temporary (and, frankly, amusing when I noticed it, not vertigo-inducing).

They’ve been terrific, and I love just putting them on in the morning and not having to worry about taking them off for something and forgetting where I put them. And they’re shaped in such a way that if I need to, I can still peek over the top of the lenses to deliver that flat, unimpressed look if required. I know there’s sort of a stigma attached to progressives, but wow, I love mine, and I’m so happy I’ve got them.

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