A few weeks ago, I broke my glasses.
The fear of broken frames is why I wore metal frames for so many years. I went back to plastic because Bones suggested I’d look good in catseye frames, and he was right. I’ve not been gentle to these things, and I’m frankly surprised they didn’t break sooner…although I’m incredibly grateful it didn’t happen while I was in China last year.
Initially we thought we could repair them. This shows you just how long it’s been since I’ve dealt with broken frames. The superglue repair worked for about 1-1/2 days.
My getting an eye exam and new glasses isn’t a financial priority – at least, not for me. When you need bifocals, there’s really no such thing as a cheap pair of glasses. I was pretty sure I could make due with contacts, my old glasses, and reading glasses.
I was very wrong.
My last exam, over 2 years ago now, put me at a -6.75 in my right eye and a -5.75 in my left, with a +1.25 bifocal adjustment. If you’re over 40 and you wear bifocals, that all makes sense to you. If you don’t, it’s Greek, so let me explain. This means I’m pretty significantly nearsighted. Even with my glasses, I do not have 20/20 vision and I can’t read street signs and such as well as other people. If I am wearing regular glasses, I can read only if I look under my frames. This is in part why I wear huge bifocals..it forces me to actually use the reading correction.
If I am wearing contacts, I can’t read a computer screen, a menu, a book, without reading glasses. This means retraining my brain to NOT use glasses if I’m trying to see beyond the computer screen, which is more frustrating than it sounds. I see halos at night, so I can’t wear contacts at night and drive. Also, there’s a good chance most places will have to order my contacts because my script is *just* at the point of being uncommon enough to not be kept in stock.
If I am wearing non-bifocals, I can only read if I (a) look beneath my lenses or (b) put reading glasses on over my glasses. This doesn’t seem to make sense, but it works. Mostly. I mean, it cuts back significantly on what I can see distance-wise. Thanks to computer screen settings, I can enlarge the font to allow me to mostly see without my readers..I think I was up to 170% and it still wasn’t super clear but it was workable. Sadly, it means that if my computer opens a new tab, I’m back to not being able to read the screen.
What I learned was that my script has changed. Even with my glasses and readers, I was unable to do things such as see spilled beads and be able to pick them up. I didn’t do very much cross stitching because I was struggling in general to see detail. I’ve had headaches and eye strain every night from my brain being taxed to process all these varied focal points. Because I don’t wear contacts very often, my eyes had some issues wearing them every day. (Although hey, without having huge frames on my face, I was forced to actually look at myself in the morning – which I tend to not want to do – and that encouraged me to wear makeup. So! Small positives.)
After maybe a week of struggling like this, I ended up ordering some bifocals via Zenni Optical, tweaking my script up to -7/-6/+2. They arrived last night and it is, frankly, almost making me weep to be able to see well again. I just had no idea how bad my vision really is. I feel much more compassion for people that struggle with problems more serious than mine.
I’ve spent a lot of time over the past few years wearing my old glasses while I cross stitch because that allows me to watch TV and still be able to see to stitch. My bifocals don’t really allow me to see that much detail. And I’ve been struggling to even browse shelves in bookstores because the focal point is kinda weird. This is *heartbreaking* and it’s not something I’ve admitted to anyone until right now. I’d probably do better with transitional lenses, to be honest, but that raises the price of glasses even more for me.
It’s kinda hard to admit to my vision problems. I’m doing so because I’ve never seen anyone else describe what it’s like to need bifocals beyond, “Oh, I put readers on over my glasses to get me through.” This is a part of aging I didn’t anticipate being as difficult as it is.
And if I ever leave the country again, I’m absolutely bringing a back-up pair of glasses. Because I can’t imagine dealing with this while away from home.