Monday, August 13, 2012

Jennifers’ story

by Jennifer

Jennifer Cory Michaels was born at 11:20 am on July 6, 1967 in Mammoth lakes, California.
Jennifer’s father, Samuel Michaels was a Scottish bricklayer who was also a mathematical genius. But he liked laying bricks for a living better than doing math. He was immensely strong and would sometimes crush a brick in his hand to remind his fellow workers who was boss.
One day he showed this trick to Jennifer. She immediately wanted to be able to do the same thing. It didn’t work because she was only ten at the time, but she vowed to accomplish the feat sometime in the future. Her dad said he would buy her a bottle of hundred year old Scotch whiskey if she ever she did.
Jennifer’s mother, Sonya, was a Brazilian surfing champion. She was tall and slender with the sleek arms and legs of a powerful swimmer. After living in Mammoth, she became a world class skier. Sonya was also a great singer; Samuel thought she had the voice of an angel.
Jennifer grew up tall, beautiful, smart, and strong. She had the lithe body of her mother and the strength and mind of her father. By eighteen, she stood six feet tall and weighed 147 pounds. She had long golden hair which she always kept in a ponytail and large bright aquamarine eyes that looked into people, not at them. Her IQ tested at 237, giving her the Guinness Book of Records all-time score. In spite of being very nearsighted, she was a fine athlete. Jennifer had a big smile, a slightly crooked front tooth (which she never got fixed) and an all-around gorgeous but often foul mouth. But like her mother, she had a beautiful voice.
Her favorite sport was tennis, which she played with a vengeance. For relaxation she liked skiing, surfing, biking, and running. Best of all, she liked to climb things. Starting with trees when she was six, then progressing to rocks, and ultimately mountains. By the time she was thirty, she had climbed all the 8k peaks except Everest. When she was seventeen, she took up motocross riding, and progressed rapidly to the pro circuit where she won five national championships. Jennifer held the all-University record in the 440 when she was at UCLA. Her favorite dinner fare was steak and mushrooms with a Martini or two.
Jennifer was a bit of a tomboy. She liked to wrestle with her father (or anyone else who dared) and could actually pin him occasionally (and everyone else always.) On her nineteenth birthday, she went to her father’s house, invited him outside, picked up a brick and pulverized it in her right hand. Her dad went inside and returned with a new bottle of 75 year old Macallan single malt scotch, opened it and poured them both a glassful and gave her the rest of the bottle.
In college, Jennifer studied mathematics and physics. Her harmonics theory earned her a Ph.D., and at age twenty-eight, a full professorship in UCLA’s math department.
In 1998, at the age of 31, and even with the strong glasses (she never wore contacts) and crooked tooth, she made the Maxim Magazine’s 100 most beautiful women list at number one. She was the first person outside the entertainment industry to hold the title, which she kept for two more years.
But, she sometimes drinks too much, and swears like a drunken sailor.
Jennifer was truly an exceptional person. Very intelligent, extremely strong and stunningly beautiful, she was also a very loving and sensitive person. She was a very deep thinker and developed numerous theories in her field of mathematics. One of them was the key to the way things change. Her only problem was her nearsightedness. As a kid, she played hard and ran fast. She never watched television and read constantly. Her mother noticed one day she was holding the book very close, about eight inches from her face. “Can you hold that farther away?” her mother asked.
“No, it looks good here,” Jennifer replied, and held the book even closer.
“How about at school?”
“It’s okay, the teacher lets me sit in the first row.”
“Can you read the blackboard?”
“I don’t have to, teacher says everything and I copy it down.” Apparently Jennifer thought it was simply the way the world looked, and had adapted to her lack of distance vision.
Jennifer had her first eye exam at age ten; she was found to be quite myopic for a ten-year-old: minus 3 in her right eye and minus five in her left. Everyone including Jennifer wondered how she had gotten along without hurting herself until now. The optometrist said she had most likely been squinting and letting her right eye do all the work. He was concerned that her left eye had become even more myopic than the right and feared it may be a problem later.
“What kind of problem?” Jennifer asked with a ten-year-old’s curiosity.
“It is possible you may have trouble fusing the images if there is too big a difference.”
“Don’t worry, I can handle it,” Jennifer said, surprising everybody.
She was elated when she saw how sharp everything looked with her first pair of glasses and wore them constantly. At school, she endured the taunts of four-eyes and glasses-girl with little concern because she was so happy to be able to see clearly.
Every six months, she went for an exam, and every time her glasses grew stronger by about a half diopter. By the time she entered junior high, her prescription was: -6 in the right, and -8 in the left. She still endured comments about her relatively strong glasses, and combined with her crooked front tooth, even she felt she looked goofy. Jennifer hoped she would grow out of it.
Three years later, entering high school, her prescription had grown further, and she had developed some astigmatism. It was now -9.50, -1.00 x 90 in the right eye, and -11.75, -.50 x 160 in the left. She still loved being able to see clearly, in fact she tested at 20/15.
It was at this point she tried contact lenses. The only ones that would work were rigid gas permeable; the soft versions never gave proper acuity. But the RGP’s were uncomfortable, and caused her eyes to itch and turn red. The first day she wore the contacts at school, her eyes would not stop tearing, and she had to remove the lenses by third period. She went through the rest of the day not being able to see a thing, and some of the mean girls called her the blind kid. Jennifer gave up the contact idea that afternoon and returned to glasses, which, in reality, had never had bothered her at all. It was then that she decided she really liked wearing glasses anyway. It was a good thing because she hated contacts, was out of the range of lasik, and couldn’t see more than four inches in front of her face bare-eyed.
By her sophomore year in high school, there were no more taunts about her glasses, because Jennifer was now clearly one of the most gorgeous creatures on the planet. She had bright aquamarine eyes, a perfectly shaped but slightly long nose that was sprinkled with a few freckles, giving her a bit of a boyish but very appealing look. She was six feet tall, 140 pounds, very athletic, with long, muscular arms and legs, and a perennial golden tan on her perfectly smooth skin. She continued to wear her tomboy muscle shirts and shorts because she liked how they felt. Jennifer was, as always, oblivious to how they made her look.
Just before high school graduation, she had another exam. She had neglected the exams all through high school and didn’t notice her lack of distance vision growing, because she did so much close work, and her primary sport was rock climbing. At this exam her prescription was: Right, -13.0, -1.25 x 90, Left, -15.50, -.75 x 160. Jennifer was overjoyed at how clearly she could see after several years of serious under-correction, but was surprised and concerned at the size of the increase in her prescription. The doctor assured her it was because she had waited so long between exams, and that her myopia was progressing at the same rate as before. She was back to 20/15, but thought she wouldn’t let her eyes go untested during college.
It was at this prescription that the lenses became slightly problematic. She had been wearing 1.67 high index lenses, but they were not available in her new prescription. The highest index available at the time was 1.60 and the resulting lenses were 12mm thick at the outer edge. Jennifer was bothered by the weight and returned to the optician to find a solution. The optician suggested a bi-concave lens which would have about 3 diopters of the prescription on the front surface. Jennifer ordered a pair in a sleek Versace frame. When the glasses arrived, she found they were nearly 3mm thinner than the earlier version, and much lighter. Again, she was very happy with the result.
Jennifer was a great college student, and although her majors; mathematics and theoretical physics required many hours of study, she was very active in sports, mostly swimming and tennis. Swimming proved a bit hard, because when she removed her glasses, she could now only see about three inches in front of her face. Her coach suggested prescription goggles. So half-way into her freshman year she visited the eye doctor for another exam, and was happy to find no change. The goggles were made of low-index plastic and even though they were bi-concave, and relatively small in diameter, they were still 16 mm thick at the edge. But the lenses were set deep in the watertight frame, so the thickness didn’t really show. Besides, they improved her pool performance, and she won every meet in the breast stroke event. Jennifer didn’t care how they looked.
The good news that her prescription hadn’t increased caused Jennifer to neglect her eyes for the next year, and the intense study took up most all of her time. But at the end of her sophomore year, she lost her first tennis match ever. It was then she realized she had let her eyes go for too long and simply couldn’t see the ball clearly. So, back to the ophthalmologist she went.
Because of her extreme myopia, the doctor did a very complete examination, and to Jennifer’s relief, found no pathology or problems other than nearsightedness. She told the doctor she needed to be able to see very clearly for tennis matches. After a lengthy and very thorough refraction her new prescription was: R -14.75, -1.25 x 92, L -17.25, -.75 x 164. When she ordered the new glasses, the optician pointed out that at this level, even the bi-concave lenses would be quite thick, so he suggested a lenticular, or myodisc lens. With this lens, she could return to a plano front and the prescription would be ground into only the center part of the lens resulting in a much thinner profile. Jennifer thought this sounded like a good idea. She found a black Ray Ban frame that contrasted beautifully with her golden hair and tan skin. She really loved it.
This pair took longer to make, nearly three weeks, because of the specialty lens. But the new style lens fit the frame nicely. For the first time in years, the edges of her lenses didn’t protrude from the back of the frame. The prescription part of the lens was confined to a bowl 28mm in diameter and the edges at the outside tapered off to less than the thickness of the frame, resulting in a plus lens look. When she tried them on for the first time, she was pleased to see how closely they fit to her eyes, and she wasn’t even aware of the outer “plus” part of the lens. They made her eyes look small, but magnified the sides of her face. And because of the close fit, her vision was better than ever and she loved it. While many people, especially beautiful girls, would have been upset by the strong myodisc glasses, Jennifer was actually proud of them, although she thought they looked a little strange. But she could see better than 20/15 and the glasses were so light that all she noticed was the insignificant weight of the frame. And with the thinness of the lenses, Jennifer ordered a pair in a wire frame for the first time in years. The wire frames served her well for sports and outdoor activities, but she had given them up when the lenses became too thick to stay mounted. The wire framed pair were slightly oval in a taupe color. They held the lenses nicely. She decided they were exotic.
Her junior year was intense, she kept up the swimming and tennis, but her nights were spent in hours of close reading and study. On her twentieth birthday, Jennifer figured it was time for another exam. She had noticed a little fuzziness at a distance. Her eyes checked out healthy as usual but things in the distance were indeed blurry. With the present glasses, she read only the 20/70 line. You can still use your present glasses for reading, the ophthalmologist said, so this new prescription is for distance. It was: R -16.25, -1.25 x 92, L -18.75, - .75 x 164. She ordered the new pair in the 1.60 index myodisc.
In three weeks she picked up the new specs. Again, they fit beautifully in the frames, and the only difference was that the bowls were 25mm instead of 28. Her vision was still 20/15. She received many compliments on her new glasses and only a few comments on their strength. But being the most stunning girl on campus, and being able to see clearly as well, she didn’t care one bit.
It was a hot summer day shortly after her twentieth birthday when Jennifer met the man she would someday marry. She had just picked up her new glasses and was at an off-campus meeting of Professor Josh Heimann’s theoretical physics seminar. The events were very casual and always involved food and beer. Jennifer was reading a new theory about resonance in the Universe and sipping a beer when she looked up to notice a stunningly handsome young man enter the room. He was over six feet tall, with long black hair, and the brightest blue eyes she had ever seen. A well- fitting sleeveless shirt revealed the smooth contours of his well developed arms, and she could see the rest of him was up to the same standard. She glanced at her own shapely, well-muscled arms, making a little comparison (she thought arms were one of the best parts of the body and being pretty buff, she liked to show hers off.) She looked back at Eric, hot guys should wear sleeveless shirts all the time, she thought, but for the first time ever, she felt self conscious about her glasses.
“Jennifer!” Professor Heimann said, making her jump. “I’d like you to meet Eric Jensen.”
When the hot guy she had been checking out raised his hand and waved, she whipped off her glasses and loosened her ponytail, in a very quick but un-Jennifer like move. Then she started across the room to where he was standing. But half way across, she crashed into the food table and dropped her glasses into the ensuing mess. She stooped down and frantically tried to find them but to no avail, then stood up and ran head-long into Eric who was already laughing hysterically. “Hi, I’m Jennifer,” she said, holding her hand out nowhere close to his. At that moment she figured she had blown any chance of further conversation, much less a date. “I have to find my glasses,” she said sullenly, and turned away squinting to try and find her way back to the spilled food table.
But Eric gently took her hand and said, “Here, I’ll help you.”
“It’s okay, I can…” she said while beginning to search the floor nowhere even near the food mess, and fearing that if he found her glasses and looked at them, he would think the myodisc lenses to be strange and off-putting.
“They’re over here,” Eric said, starting to laugh again. “In the guacamole. Come on, we’ll go wash these off.” He started for the kitchen.
“Um…” Jennifer said, looking around and seeing nothing but blur. “Could you sort of…?” Eric took her hand and led her to the kitchen. “I can hardly see two inches in front of my nose,” she said very softly, figuring that once he had a good look at her glasses, he would want nothing more to do with her.
Eric held the glasses under the running water and then applied a little soap; he dried them on a soft dish towel and held them up to the light. “Wow,” he said.
Well, shit! This is where he says he’s never seen any glasses this strong or so weird…
“These are the coolest glasses I’ve ever seen,” he said, and slipped them gently back on her face. “I hope I’m not being too forward, but you’re the most gorgeous girl I’ve ever seen…much less met.” He stepped back and looked her over; head to foot, his gaze coming to rest on her eyes. “And those glasses make you look sexy as hell. You’re awesome!” Eric looked a little more closely at the lenses. “What kind of lens is that, by the way?” he asked.
“It’s for people who are really, really nearsighted…like me.” Jennifer said, a little haltingly. “It’s called a myodisc; it’s the only lens I can get in my prescription. I know they look weird, but at least they’re light.”
Eric stepped closer, and carefully put his arms around her, it felt good to be held. “They don’t look the least bit weird,” he said, “and on you, they look great.”
“Well, I always thought they were a little exotic,” Jennifer said softly, and hugged him back. And from that moment on, she never worried one bit about how her glasses looked to others. It was the beginning of a long and amazing relationship with Eric Jensen.
Having the stronger pair for distance and driving, and the old glasses for reading worked out well. Her eyes felt rested even after hours of study.
She embarked on her senior year. To her surprise, the senior experience was easy. Having scheduled all of her classes in the morning, she spent most of her afternoons surfing (she wore the swimming goggles, even though they were not nearly strong enough) and lying on the beach. Her golden tan grew darker and, after summer vacation, she was even more stunning. That September, her friends entered her in a beauty contest which she won hands down even while wearing her glasses. It was there that Maxim Magazine picked up on her and voted her number one. She was the first non-celebrity to occupy the spot, and certainly the first wearing myodisc glasses. She enjoyed winning the Maxim spot and applied herself to her studies rather than to surfing. In spite of her promises to keep up her eye exams, she ignored her distance vision entirely, spending most of her time indoors studying for her final exams.
It was at graduation she first noticed it; she couldn’t pick her parents out of the crowd, things beyond the end of her arms had gotten very blurry, very quickly and far more than ever before. Jennifer was frightened about her eyesight for the first time. Her next stop was the eye doctor.
“What’s going on?” she asked.
“Let’s have a look,” he replied.
Another extensive examination ensued and before starting the refraction, the doctor sat down with her. “As you know, you have a form of progressive myopia, it’s been with you from the time you first wore glasses. But sometimes at this age it becomes more significant. That’s what is happening with you,” he said. “The good news is that there is absolutely no pathology or indication of any retinal detachment. In your case the myopia is a combination of the length of your eyeball and the shape of your cornea. These two elements can add up to result in this level of extreme myopia. And yet it is this very condition that makes your eyes so extraordinarily beautiful.”
“Interesting tradeoff,” Jennifer said. “Thanks for the compliment.”
“Yes it is. But here’s the deal; in cases like this, interocular lens implants are sometimes an option. But the bad news is that your myopia is still progressing, and is likely to continue for some time. We don’t want to be going in and replacing lenses over and over.”
“How much longer will this go on?” Jennifer asked, again feeling some trepidation. “And will I always be able to see sharply?”
“I don’t have an exact answer for how long; let’s see, you’re twenty-one now, so in historical cases maybe eight or nine more years.”
“Wow,” Jennifer said, feeling a little crushed. “And how about acuity? I won’t go blind, will I?”
“No, not with the type you have, and with your track record, you should have very good visual acuity for a long time.”
“Okay,” she said, “let’s see what it is now.”
To Jennifer’s own surprise, she tested only 20/500 with her present glasses. “But I can see better than that outside,” she said.
“That’s because you’ve been squinting, you were even squinting in here and while you read the chart. Have you been driving at night?”
“No, I’ve been studying.”
“There you are; I think you would be shocked at how blurry things would be at night. Now let’s check you out. I think we can still keep your image really sharp.”
The ophthalmologist swung the phoropter in front of her eyes and began running through the dials. Her astigmatism had increased slightly to -2.00 right, and -1.50 left. Then he started on the sphere. At first he added power in big segments, stopping at one point. “This is where you are now.”
In the confines of the dark exam room with the eye chart projected on a screen at the end of the room, Jennifer couldn’t read even one line. “That sucks,” she said.
“That’s because you’re getting no help from small pupil size like you do outdoors.” He added more power in significant but smaller steps than before. Finally the image grew sharper and the letters stood out more boldly. “What line can you read now?” he asked.
“Third one down; E C N O P.”
“Okay, that’s 20/200.” More clicks ensued and the image improved.
“Now?” he asked.
“Better, I can read…A E P O T L.”
Several more clicks, “How about now?”
“Even better…P T L O C D E N.”
“Okay, you can rest your eyes,” he pulled the phoropter away and the room became a complete blur. Jennifer couldn’t even make out the doctor’s face a foot away. She realized that she never went without her glasses and when she took them off, it was usually after closing her eyes. “Boy, I can’t see shit! Oh…sorry.”
The doctor laughed and swung the machine in front of her, bringing the eye chart back into focus. “Okay, where are we now?” he asked.
“Third from the bottom…” A few more clicks and everything popped. The entire chart seemed to light up, the image was amazingly crisp, every letter stood out in striking detail.
“That’s it!” Jennifer cried out. “Don’t change a thing. That’s perfect!”
“What line now?”
“All of them.”
He rolled the chart to the next page. “How about now?”
“All of them…even the bottom; R P H G F P N D.”
“Well, that’s where we’ll stay. You feel comfortable here; the lens isn’t pulling at you?”
“No, not at all; my eyes are very relaxed.”
“Okay, then we’re good.” The doctor copied down the new figures on a prescription form. “I’m a little sorry to say you’ve had quite an increase, but this is not uncommon at this age with progressive myopia. This is usually where it peaks, I think you can expect smaller changes from here on out. You can continue to use your present glasses for reading, but you may want to stick with the new ones for the computer, and certainly for distance.” He handed her the prescription: R -21.75, -2.00 x 90, L -23.75, -1.50 x 160. An increase of over five diopters, Jennifer was upset by the large change, but she knew she would be able to see clearly again.
Jennifer read the new prescription wearing her old glasses; she could see it perfectly when she held it close, about eight inches away, but when she looked around the room she noticed the blur. Yes, the current glasses would be relegated to reading.
“I have a recommendation about the lenses,” the doctor said. “There is a new high index lens called the ABCM. That’s aspheric bi-concave myodisc. It’s a 1.74 index and combines the features of both bi-concave and myodisc lenses. It should result in a very good looking lens in your prescription. They’re a little costly, but worth it. Jennifer was happy with the new prescription, looking forward to the clear vision she had experienced during the exam, and happy to hear that further increases would be less. She was never upset by the power of her glasses and was always ecstatic that she could see so well with them on.
The optician had the ABCM lenses available and said the order could be completed in only a week. He examined her present glasses. “The ABCM lenses have an added benefit, it’s cosmetic but nice. The outer carrier is a minus lens rather than plus as are yours. It makes them a little thicker at the edge, but probably less than 7mm even for your prescription. Is that okay?”
“Sounds more than perfect,” Jennifer replied.
“And we keep the front curve to minus two. With anti-reflective coating, they look pretty slick. I think you’ll like them.”
Jennifer picked out another black plastic Ray Ban frame. The eye size was 50mm by 26mm. They looked stunning even without the lenses. She couldn’t tell how they really looked because they had no lenses in them and she could only see an inch and a half from her eyes. She had to rely on the optician’s taste, but she trusted him in matters of style.
The following week Jennifer received a call that the new glasses were ready and she could hardly wait to pick them up.
“They turned out really nice,” the optician said, handing her the glasses. Jennifer examined them closely before putting them on. Despite the higher prescription, the bowls were still 25mm, the same as the present ones. The front surface actually measured -3.00, but that was a base curve Jennifer had liked very much when she was wearing the bi-concave lenses in the past. She knew it worked very well for her.
But the unique thing about these lenses was the carrier. Instead of being a plus lens, which magnified the edges of her face (the only thing about the myodisc she didn’t like, but put up with because of the lightness of the lens) it was minus. For her new glasses, the carrier measured minus 11.00 and the outer edges measured only 6mm thick in the very high-index plastic. The center bowls blended more easily with the minus carrier than with the plus giving the lenses a more even look. Jennifer slipped them on. “Oh my God!” she said, looking around the room. “I’ve never had such vision; these are perfect.” She looked in the mirror, and noticed the cohesiveness of the lens. “Amazing…they look great, don’t you think? she said, looking up at the optician.
“On you, everything looks great. But you’re right, these are exceptional.”
Jennifer had never been so happy with a pair of glasses in her life.
The prescription lasted all the way through grad school and to the end of her doctorate. On receiving her Ph.D. she thought it was time for another exam just to keep current, and as usual for this length of time, things at a distance had become a little fuzzy.
Another extensive examination revealed no problems and the refraction gave these results: R -24.75, -2.00 x 90, L -26.25, -1.50 x 160. And she still read the 20/15 line on the chart. “No problem here, but that’s a pretty big jump.” Jennifer said.
“It’s because you waited three years again, and your myopia is still progressing.”
She stuck with the ABCM lenses and this time ordered two pair. One Versace and another Ray Ban. The Versace frames were a little rounder, and she thought they looked cute, so did the optician. The lens size was 49 mm and the optician said there wouldn’t be a problem with the lenses. The Ray Ban frame measured 50 mm by 26 mm and looked sexy as hell on her.
One week later, she picked up the completed order. The base curve remained at minus 3.00 and the bowl at 25 mm. The difference was the power of the carrier was now at minus 6. This caused an increase in outer edge thickness to 8 mm. No problem for Jennifer there. The main thing was that she had the sharpest vision of her life.
On a trip to Germany, Jennifer spotted an optical shop advertising Zeiss Lentilux high index lenses. Since she always carried a copy of her prescription and spoke fluent German, she checked out the product. The lenses were glass, not available in the U.S. so the index of refraction was an amazingly high 1.9. The optician said her prescription would be no problem, and could be done full-field, not as a pure lenticular. The glasses were ready in less than a week.
The base curve was plano, and all the prescription was on the back surface resulting in a 22 mm radius curve even with the 1.9 index, which wasn’t bad considering the back curve on her myodiscs was 17.5 mm, even with minus three on the front. The resultant lens, mounted in a 49 mm frame the same shape as her Ray Bans, was heavily beveled in the back at more than 45 degrees. But it was polished to optical fineness and slightly rolled into the back curve. In this lens, the viewing area was 32 mm instead of 25 mm. Jennifer liked this very much, but the tradeoff was thickness, the lens was 10 mm thick at the edge, but because of the bevel it didn’t dig into her face. The look was different from the pure lenti’s but the vision was great. Jennifer wore these for the rest of the trip.
Jennifer hadn’t done any surfing throughout her doctoral studies, so that summer after the Germany trip; she decided to take it up again. She dug around for her old swimming goggles and tried them on. Of course, she couldn’t see a thing with them, being ten diopters short of her current prescription; so off to the optical shop again. The bad news was that none of the specialty lenses she had grown to love were available in the goggles. They could only be made of polycarbonate plastic with an index if 1.49. “Can you make them work?” she asked. She really wanted some surfing goggles and hoped she wouldn’t have to wait until the end of summer to get them made.
“We’ll give it a try.”
Two weeks later, they arrived. Luckily the goggles were small; 42 mm across. The prescription was divided almost equally between the front and the back. For the right eye, -10 on the front and the remaining 17 diopters on the back. And on the left, -10 on the front and 17.75 on the back. Both including the cylinder correction. The edges were beveled even more severely than the Zeiss lenti’s, but even so, the edge thickness was 15 mm, but it was buried in the heavy edges of the watertight goggles. The good news was that the effective eye size was nearly 30 mm and despite some noticeable distortion from the high base curve, her vision was good enough for surfing.
Even though she thought they looked goofy, Jennifer was happy with them overall, and surfed for the rest of the summer. The surfing had another effect; by the end of summer, the vigorous paddling had sculpted her already well defined shoulders and time spent in the gym had given her already well defined upper arms a measurement of just over thirteen inches. Not bad for a girl, she would say.
The rest of the time, when she was not in the water, she wore the ABCM’s and the Zeiss superlenti’s. She knew that over the next few years her prescription would most likely increase some, but probably not more than a half diopter per year according to her ophthalmologist. She was thankful her eyes were healthy and that she would always be able to see sharply. Regardless of which glasses she wore (with the possible exception of the surfing goggles) she was always gorgeous. Her closest friends liked her glasses and the fact that they were unusual. Most men thought they added a very sexy touch to an already incredibly sexy lady, and Jennifer loved very sharp vision.
By the time she reached thirty, she had only two more increases, a total of two diopters in the right eye but four in the left. Her prescription was now:
R -26.75, -2.00 x 90, L -30.25, -1.50 x 160. The difference between her lenses was now three and a half diopters and it imparted an even more exotic look to her glasses. Jennifer decided she sort of liked it. She found the perfect glasses in the new Zeiss Lentilux design. They were 1.9 index glass bi-concave with – 4 base curves and the rest of the prescription on the back. The bowls were 22 mm and slightly blended into the carriers which were now a little on the plus side again. A purely minus carrier would have resulted in edges over 12 mm thick. This version resulted in a thickness of only 8 mm. They fit the frames beautifully and the frames fit Jennifer perfectly. Jennifer was very happy.
Jennifer did have to get some interim glasses in Nepal. After losing her Zeiss pair, and her existing prescription, she had an exam in the climber’s clinic in Kathmandu. It had been three years since her last exam, and the optometrist found further change. The refraction resulted in this Rx: R -28.75, -2.00 x 90 and L -32.75, -1.50 x 160. The glasses could only be made in a traditional plus carrier myodisc with 20 mm bowls with a 6 mm radius. The prescription was filled within a day, and Jennifer could see perfectly again. Although she missed the Zeiss Lenti’s, she found her vision to be very sharp with the new myodiscs, mainly because they fit so close to her eyes. She was a bit concerned about the cosmetic look, the very high minus centers surrounded by a significantly plus carrier, but they were done in a 46 mm frame which minimized the plus portion which was a good ten diopters. She finally decided this pair really did look weird, and certainly more than exotic. Again, having good vision was the overriding factor, but she couldn’t wait to get a proper pair.
On her return to the states, Jennifer had her eyes checked again and found the Nepal prescription to fall somewhat short of perfect, especially in the left eye. She asked her doctor about this, but he could only say that sometimes it happens.
Another very comprehensive exam ensued, and again everything checked out perfectly. The refraction resulted in a new prescription: R -29.75, -2.00 x 90; L -35.50, -1.00 x 160. Jennifer was concerned about the 5.75 diopter difference between her eyes.
“Are you seeing a single image?” the doctor asked. “No double vision?”
“It’s actually perfect, and I can still read the bottom line,” Jennifer replied.
“That’s amazing at these numbers; but you have always been amazing.”
“Yeah, amazingly blind,” Jennifer said coyly. “Well, that’s only without the glasses of course.” She again grew concerned, “Are my eyes going to look really different because of the five diopters?”
“Well yes, some; but it’s still a small percentage of the total prescription, and there is a lens that may help. It’s a type of aspheric myodisc where the minus base curve is ground only on the front part of the bowl. The rest of the lens is plano. In your prescription the edges may be only 5 mm thick.”
“That would be good,” Jennifer said.
She ordered a pair of glasses with the double aspheric myodisc lenses. They were made from very high index glass, but were even lighter than the Zeiss. The bowls, which had a third of the prescription on the front and the rest on the back, were 22 mm in diameter and the outer carrier part of the lens ended up with a slightly minus curve overall. There was minimal distortion even with the high base curve, and the bowls blended nicely with the carrier. They looked good in the sleek Ray Ban frame, and the difference in power between the lenses was hardly noticeable. With these glasses Jennifer tested better than 20/15.
But, as usual, two years later she noticed her distance vision was slipping again, and that her right eye was much blurrier than her left; which wasn’t looking very good either. Jennifer was glad the previous prescription had lasted as long as it did, and she was still pleased with the aspheric myodisc lenses, but she needed to have an update.
The exam revealed no problems, for which she was very glad; but the eye chart was another story, she couldn’t read much of it at all. “Is this starting up again, she asked the doctor?”
“Let’s see, you’re thirty-five now, and your last big increase was at twenty-one. Sometimes we see a jump right about this time, and your case has been pretty aggressive.”
“Do you think I can get back to sharp vision again?” she asked, fearing what the answer might be.
“I don’t know if we can reach 20/15, but I think we can do pretty well. There is one thing though; at this level of myopia, small steps in the new prescription won’t really have much effect—that’s actually been the case with you for quite some time—but now, we will have to proceed in bigger steps to gain the same effect, and the diopter changes will be more pronounced. But I’m pretty sure you will see clearly again.”
“Okay, let’s see what happens.”
The doctor adjusted the phoropter to her present prescription and placed the machine in front of her eyes. In the dim light of the exam room, the projected chart appeared blurrier than ever. “Boy, I can really tell…no help from bright light, right?”
“That’s correct; so let me show you something,” the doctor said. He rotated the dial two clicks. “How’s that?”
“No change,” Jennifer replied.
Four more clicks. “And now?”
“Still looks the same. Maybe a little better.”
“That’s a diopter and a half; you say there’s some improvement?”
“Okay, then we’ll go with this,” he took hold of another dial and turned it. “Tell me when you can read the third line down.” Two more rotations and Jennifer said, “Now… A E P O T L. But the right eye is still fuzzy.”
“That’s good, and we’ll get to that.” He rolled the chart up revealing four more lines of fuzzy letters. He made another adjustment and rotated the dial again.
“Yeah, I’ve got the third one down.”
“Now, let’s take a look at the right eye. He closed the shutter over her left and began rotating the right eye dial. Three clicks and the letters in the third line looked good. He opened the shutter. Both eyes looked the same. “Okay, let’s try for the bottom line.”
Two more clicks and everything popped into sharp focus. “That’s great!” Jennifer shouted, feeling elated. “It looks better than ever.”
The doctor added two more steps. “Now?”
“That’s actually too strong,” Jennifer said, with some relief.
He copied down the numbers off the readouts, put together the trial frame and placed it in front of her eyes. The sharp image returned. “It should be even better with the glasses. What line can you read now?”
“Second from the bottom.”
“Well, that’s twenty-twenty, so you’re doing good. I’ll bet you get to 20/15 with the glasses.” He handed her the new prescription. “As I suspected, you’ve had quite an increase, and it took a lot of lens power to correct it, but I think since you have adapted so well to the high power lenses over the years, you will do just fine. The good news is: your astigmatism has stayed the same, and the difference between your eyes is less.”
Jennifer looked at the new prescription: R -37.75, -2.50 x 90, L -41.0, -1.5 x 164. “Oh boy…that’s huge,” she said.
“Yes, I’m afraid so; you’re up by eight and a half diopters in the right eye and six and a half in the left. And your astigmatism went up a diopter in the right eye. But the lenses you have been wearing are available in even higher powers, so you’re covered.”
“That’s good to know,” Jennifer said, being a bit catty, “you think this is ever going to stop? I thought you said it would be done by now.”
“Yes, it will stop. You’ve just had a very aggressive case, but be glad you can still see so very well. In many ways you’re a very lucky girl.”
“You’re right…I am. And thank you for taking such very good care of me over the years.”
A new version of the aspheric myodisc was now available. Jennifer was able to have a minus power carrier lens again, and the even higher index material allowed almost the entire prescription to be ground on the back of the lens with only a minus seven base curve on the front. The 22 mm bowls were blended into the minus fifteen diopter carriers, which were beveled and polished. Even though the lenses were 10 mm thick at the outer edges, the lenses looked better than her old glasses even with the significantly higher power.
Jennifer looked in the mirror. The high power made her eyes appear so tiny that the sides of her face were visible well within the bowls, but the careful blending into the carrier minimized the overall effect. She slowly took her glasses off; her face, the mirror, the surrounding room became a mottled blur of indistinct colors and shapes. She slipped them back on, and pushed them close against her eyes. Even within the minus forty bowls, her eyes retained their bright aquamarine beauty.
The glasses were made in the slick black frames Jennifer liked so much, and she was ecstatic that Eric still thought they were cool, “Your eyes are gorgeous, no matter what size they are,” he said.
Jennifer realized her new glasses were now truly exotic, and wore them with great pride.
On her return to the ophthalmologist, she was overjoyed to test at 20/15 with the new glasses.
“That’s really unusual at your prescription level,” then ophthalmologist said. “But then again, you’ve always been amazing.”
I hope it lasts a while,” she said. But her motto had always been: Love me; love my glasses no matter how far they go.
Most everyone did.

.... to be continued

Originally uploaded in December 2007

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