Once when I was around 10 or 11, my mom took me to my annual eye exam. It was during this particular visit that it was first explained to me that my eyes have an unusual prescription. One eye tested perfectly normal (actually found to be better than 20/20 recently *smirk*). The other was very far-sighted (and still is). Whenever I tell people that my one eye is very far-sighted, I generally get either a blank look of confusion as to what that means or I sometimes get the response, “Oh, I’m far-sighted too!” But when I examine their glasses, I usually correct them that they are in fact nearsighted. So let me clear this up for you; if you don’t know whether you are far or nearsighted, I WOULD BET $100 you are NEARsighted. Almost half the population (or more!) in developed countries are nearsighted. Generally, only 5-10% of the population are far-sighted. If things look blurry and squinting helps you to see things more clearly you are NEARsighted or you have astigmatism. Anyway, rather than going by my weird ranting on the subject, it’s best to get regular eye exams.
Moving on, before I lose all readers due to boredom. So, there I was, listening to the Doctor explain to my mom that he highly recommends I wear reading glasses. He explains that having eyes with such different prescriptions will lead to headaches when reading.
“She may not be noticeably affected now..” he said sternly, “…But by the time she’s in high school or university, with that amount of studying, it is sure to be problematic. There is also the risk that the weaker eye could become a lazy eye due to the large discrepancy. It would be best if she started wearing glasses while in school.”
After his foreboding lecture, my mom agreed to purchase glasses for me. I was a little leery of the idea. Aren’t glasses what NERDS wear? I thought at the time. Which, now that I think about it, my social standing was clearly going to be ‘geek’ no matter what I did or did not wear on my face. HAHAHAHAHA oh past me! You’re adorable! You actually thought glasses might make or break your nerd status?
Anyway, my mom did her best to make glasses-shopping a fun activity.
“Look at all the great colours and styles!” She exclaimed.
I have to admit, after a while her enthusiasm became contagious and I remember finding the glasses shopping somewhat fun. I tried on dozens of frames and then we would look in the mirror together to determine which ones were the most flattering. We finally settled on a pair of purplish-maroon frames with orange ripple decoration thingies on the side. I felt pretty okay with things at this point. My mom paid and we left.
It wasn’t until we went to pick up my completed glasses that things took a turn for the worse. I sat down in the chair where they look at you to determine the best way to adjust your frames so that the glasses sit perfectly on your face. I slipped on my shiny new glasses and looked in the mirror. That was when I saw it. To my horror, one normal eye…and one horrible cyclops eye…stared back at me. You see, the normal eye didn’t need a prescription lens, so it sat behind regular glass. But the weaker, far-sighted eye, needed a MAGNIFYING glass type of lens. This was back in the day when lens technology wasn’t as good as it is now. The result: My glasses made one eye look way bigger than the other one.
I immediately indicated my unhappiness to my mom as the tears began to well up. However, my mom had just dropped BIG MONEY on these brand new glasses and she wasn’t about to see that go to waste. My mom wisely knew that forcing me to wear my glasses would just result in me taking them off upon entering my school. She went with the much more cunning route of convincing me to want to wear my new glasses.
“You look soooo sophisticated.” My mom cooed.
“But one eye looks way bigger than the other one!” I wailed.
“What are you talking about? No, it doesn’t!” My mom said confidently.
“MOM! I know you can tell what I am talking about. LOOK!” I said with an annoyed tone.
“Oh E, you’re only seeing that because you know that one is a real lens and one is just glass. No one else is going to notice that! It’s just because you know. Anyone else looking at you is not going to see that. They’ll only see how attractive your new frames are. You look great!” My mom cheerfully explained.
My mom worked on me the whole way home. By the time we pulled into the driveway, a smile had even appeared on my face. She had fully convinced me that I was the only one that would ever notice that one eye looked bigger than the other and that my new glasses were in-fact cool. I was excited to show off our new purchase to the rest of my family.
I walked self-assuredly into the house with my mom following right behind me. We walked right beside the family room where my Dad was sitting on the couch watching the news.
“Look!” My mom said proudly, “E has brand new glasses!”
My Dad looked over at me briefly and then quipped,
“HA HA One eye looks way bigger than the other one! Hahaha!”
With one sentence my Dad had completely undone all of my Mother’s hard work.
Now my mom is normally an extremely patient human. Like it takes a lot for her to get mad and she forgives easily. But not that day. I think the only reason why I remember this whole scenario so clearly is because I had never seen a look like that on my mom’s face before.
My mom’s face was PURE RAGE.
My Dad then immediately realized the error of his ways and quickly tried to backpedal by stammering,
“Oh haha, you mean, one eye does look different?! I didn’t actually notice any difference…I had just planned on saying that no matter what when you got home just to bug you! I didn’t even actually look at them, now that I’m really looking I can’t even see a difference. Both eyes look the same!”
But it was too late. I may have been gullible, but even I wasn’t that gullible. As a result, I could never be convinced that my glasses didn’t make me look like some kind of cyclops nerd and thus proceeded to basically never wear my glasses ever again. I’m well into adulthood now but when I bring up this incident with a laugh I can still see my mom’s eye twitch and she does not laugh with me.
When University rolled around, I did find that I wanted glasses to help with all the reading I needed to do. So, I went and got a new pair of black frame glasses. I had wanted frameless, but despite new technology, my farsighted eye still needed a lens too thick for that type of frame. I got some black frame glasses and I still wear those glasses at my workplace to this day. You can’t really notice the big eye thing unless I point it out since the lens is better than in my first pair of glasses. Plus, the added bonus of being older is that I could care less whether I look cool or not sitting at my workstation.
However, some years ago, I decided it would be nice to have a pair for at home as well as at work; as then I wouldn’t have to remember them since I only need them for longer stints reading or on the computer. I had left my original glasses from this story in a drawer to rot. Being the frugal sort, I went back to look for them. I found them sitting in the same drawer unscathed. To my surprise, they still fit me perfectly and worked great! I guess my head hasn’t grown at all since I was 11 (is….is that normal?)
So much to my delight and my husband’s horror, I now wear those glasses all the time at home! They are kind of ugly and still have the magnified eye issue but at least I’m finally getting use out of them. They may also make me look like I’m over twice my actual age but hey, why waste money on a new pair when these work perfectly fine? I am even wearing them right now as I type this!