Wednesday, January 27, 2010


In early January, I realized my arms weren't going to grow longer and I needed to go the eye doctor.

For some time I have been moving books, newspapers and other items up and back in an effort to focus. Squinting, too, had become common.

Time for new glasses, and this time I was sure I would need reading glasses.

The eye doctor (I can't spell opthamalogist (?)) confirmed my suspicions. An eyeglass shop is located conveniently in the eye doctor's office, so I headed there.

The optician suggested progressive lenses.

Progressive lenses incorporate a long-distance vision, a medium vision, and a reading vision in the lenses, and do this without a line. Bifocals, on the other hand, have the long distance vision all around but have an insert for the reading part.

Progressive lenses also utilize "channels" so that the vision to the side of the lens can be blurry.

When I first put these new lenses on, I thought I had fallen underwater. Between the increase in strength and the change in the lenses, I was sure I would stumble and fall.

I have fought with these things for the last two weeks, hoping to adjust to this new vision. I have improved with them - the underwater feeling is gone, but when I am out in a large space, like in Walmart, things seem wavy. I don't notice the same effect looking outside, though, so it is something on that level of distance and horizon.

Reading with a book in my lap or at the kitchen table or desk (as opposed to the computer, which for some reason has been fine from day one) has only now become something I am somewhat comfortable with. Even so, I feel I need a pair of just reading spectacles if I am going to read for a prolonged period.

The optical shop will take these back and provide me with the old-style bifocals if I determine I can't use these. I don't hate these glasses but I am not enamored with them. I like the frames; they are titanium and very lightweight. My last pair was a little heavy and I kept an ache near my nose. That has vanished with the lighter frames.

Being able to see has always been incredibly important, probably because I did not get glasses until the 7th grade even though I needed them sooner. I always sat at the front of the class so I could see the blackboard. I remember the day my father took me to pick up my glasses. The mountains had trees! I could see the license plate on the vehicle in front of us. Things were sharp and detailed, not fuzzy and blurred. The world opened up.

A very long time ago, I wrote a poem about being able to see. Moments ago, thinking of this poem, I flipped through an old file in search of it. Apparently I wrote it in a class at Hollins. A note from a professor or a reader is with the poem. He/She didn't like the ending at all. The note says, "you've established some big overtones... I was not pleased, fulfilled but disappointed, & indeed annoyed, let down, by the conclusion." Yikes. And here I am sharing it.

You can tell me what you think if you want. It needs work, but I also find it wryly amusing. Even if the reader above didn't like the ending.


Mornings after I bathe my body
with sweet Arabian soap,
dry my skin with linty towel,
cover my nakedness with pants, shirt, and burlap tie,
I stand before my mirror.

The radio speaks in foreign tongue
of sweltering suns and star-filled
nights, then plays a sonata of desert moon.
The room behind me shimmers
in blurred horizontals
as the sun slips through the sheers.

My reflection tells of tossed sheets,
midnight murmurs,
making love in veils of silk.
My eyes are dry, windblown sands,
smothered with heavy canvas tents.

From the little oasis
on my dresser's corner,
I pull out my vision,
open the tent flaps,
pop in the plastic.


  1. They look very nice. I've got progressives but find I seldom wear them since I find it hard to find the focus point for reading. Consequently, I still rely on reading glasses...especially for long periods on computer or with book. Good luck with them! I think my next pair will be bi-focals...see how that goes.

  2. I like it! I have to ask, who was the professor? I think I can guess. I used to work for an eye doctor and we had very few patients who could tolerate progressive lenses. I'm glad you're taking them back.

  3. What in the world was disappointing in that ending? It was the only way to end that poem, whether she/he liked it or not.

    I can almost smell the soap.

    I need bifocals, but am waiting until it becomes absolutely necessary. Still hold paper out too far, take glasses off to read books. Don't work on computer with contact lenses. Let us know if the progressives work or not in the long run. I hear that it sometimes takes at least three weeks for the brain to catch up with the eyeballs.

  4. I've worn progressive bi-focals for a decade or two I think. Love them!

    The Blue Ridge Gal

  5. I wear progressives and it takes a lot of adjusting. I still take them off when walking on stairs or sidewalks because everything is so "swimmy". And I wear single vision lenses for driving because the progressives would drive me nuts trying to drive.
    Good luck! They're convenient if you can get them to work for you.

  6. Good luck! Right now I just wear reading glasses. I know I'll need to step it up soon. After 2 ear surgeries I'm prone to motion sickness. I worry I cannot handle progressive lenses.

  7. Ophthalmologist is one of only about 4 words in English that have a phth combination. Most people misspell this word.


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