Marina sent me the following e-mail today (8th March 2004):
Hi Bobby, my name is Marina, I am an Italian 21 years old girl from Turin that lives and studies in Rome. I have been visiting some glasses' sites for some times and I have always been very interested in every story and discussion. Herewith enclosed a sort of personal diary of how I have become a GWG. Excuse me in advance for any grammatical mistake, but my English isn't very perfect. Things written have really happened, while dates are estimated, but quite precise. I hope you enjoy the reading. Please feel free to make any grammatical correction.
Well, my English is far from perfect, too. I did my best and made some little edition. Now enjoy her true story:
Marina by Marina
April 12th 2001, Turin, Italy
I need glasses, today I am sure about that. In the last months I had been noticing troubles seeing at distance. Writings on boards are not so clear, although I am sitting in the second row. Walking around the city I get difficulties to read signs on the road or knowing if I am catching the right bus until it gets close.
Our classmate Elena surprises everybody today by coming to school wearing glasses. She explains that she was having troubles to see the board and signs on road; she is slightly nearsighted and the glasses really help her. Oh my God, these are my same symptoms. Does this mean I will need glasses as well? Middle morning, I go to her and comment about her nice glasses.
“Would you like to try them on?” Elena asks me.
It’s a simple frame, metallic blue, with oval lenses. I put them on; they are heavy on my nose. They don’t seem to make any difference. I watch a bit around and as soon as I take a look at the board, everything becomes incredibly clearer.
“They are just –0.75,” she explains to me, “but they already help a lot”.
“Oh I see.” I reply. “They are also nice, but I hope I won’t ever need glasses”.
I am lying, I suspect I could need glasses and after having tried hers I got the confirmation. But I don’t want anybody to know that.
April 13th 2001, Turin, Italy
Second day of Elena wearing glasses. She seems already used to them without showing any embarrassment. She starts wearing them at 8 o’clock and keeps them on till the end of lessons at 1 p.m. I wish I were like her. I am sure I couldn’t do the same; I am too shy and ashamed.
April 18th 2001, Turin, Italy
Alone in my bedroom, I consider the possibility of getting glasses. After ten minutes my answer is NO! I would be too embarrassed in front of my classmates, friends, and relatives. Neither my parents, nor my older brother wear glasses. I don’t like the idea of being the first and the sole glasses wearer in my family. I decide to manage without them until I am able to. I can still read the board at school by squinting or looking on my next-mate’s papers. I never drive, although I have the license, because Turin is a big city and I reach any place by bus.
July 6th 2001, Turin, Italy
A very important day. After 5 years of high school, today, I get my Classical Lyceum degree. Next September, I will start attending university. I’ve chosen Laws and will be doing it in Rome, about 650 km far from Turin.
October 8th 2001, Rome, Italy
I am living in a flat in the surroundings of Rome and I share it with 3 nice girls. They are all here in Rome to study at the university, but they attend different courses than me.
My summer holiday went well. I went to Croatia with ten friends. I had the same visual problems as I have had during the past months, but I could manage well and actually I didn’t think and cared much about.
October 11th 2001, Rome, Italy
First day at university and first surprise. The room is very big and although I am sitting in the front rows I cannot see anything on the board. It’s very frustrating, because it is all blurry and I can neither look at my next-mates’ papers, as I don’t know them.
Late in the afternoon I come home and Erica, one of the three girls that lives with me, is studying and wearing glasses.
October 12th 2001, Rome, Italy
Second day at the university. I arrive early in order to get a place in the first row. But it doesn’t work. Most of the writings on the board can’t be perceived with my eyes. At this point, there is only one solution … GLASSES. I hate this perspective, but it seems there is no other way.
Back to home, Erica is still studying and wearing glasses, a nice plastic black frame with rectangular lenses. I comment on them and ask her something about.
“I can see very well,” she starts saying, “but after reading a lot, my eyes become tired and I get headaches. So I put these on while studying and they help me avoid those problems”.
I try them on; they aren’t as heavy as Elena’s ones. I look around, but they don’t make any difference, neither at distance. I explain her my problems.
“I guess you’re nearsighted, so my glasses don’t help you as they are for farsightedness. Have you had your eyes checked yet?“
“No I haven’t”.
“Well, you should have as soon as possible. It is Saturday tomorrow, and I will come with you to an optician”.
It’s late in the night and I go to bed. I am sure I will be prescribed glasses the following day. I hate this idea, but I can’t go to university bare-eyed for 5 years!
October 13th 2001, Rome, Italy
Erica and I walk a bit in the center of Rome, until we find an optician. We get in and ask for an eye check for me. It is quickly done. It’s not a surprise that I am prescribed glasses. I am bit disappointed, although I already anticipated that. The optician, a kind lady in her sixties, tells me:
“My dear girl, you need corrective lenses for your myopia. I suggest you start with a pair of glasses, contacts are not indicated for your prescription”.
“By the way, how much is it?” I ask her.
“It’s –1.75 in both eyes. How didn’t you notice before?“
“Well, I noticed, but tried to manage without till I could”.
She laughs. Next step is choosing the frame. I already have my idea: rimless or thin metallic. I also like plastic ones, but I want something of “low impact” on my face. I find some nice pairs, but not all of them suite my face or they are a bit heavy on the nose. I end by choosing a nice rimless pair with round lenses. I don’t like myself in glasses, but it is the frame that best suites my face. Erica and the optician agree. Late in the afternoon my new glasses are ready. I went to collect them with Erica. I am surprised, I expected the lenses to be a bit thinner. I try them on. The optician asks if everything is OK. I say, yes it is, although in a few seconds I can’t really understand if it is all right. I put them off and close in the case.
“Keep them on since now.” Erica tells me.
“No, not now.” I answer.
October 14th 2001, Rome, Italy
Elisa and Carla, the other two girls living with me, come and say:
“Hey Marina, show us your new glasses.”
I am embarrassed, but I go, take them off the case a show them.
“Oh they are nice and simple, but let’s see how they are on you”.
I am more embarrassed than before, but I put them on. I know them for a short time only, so it’s easier than it would have been (and will be) with my old friends. I receive positive comments from them, and then they want to try my glasses on.
October 15th 2001, Rome, Italy
Back to the university. Lesson starts, but glasses are in my case. Everything is still blurry, so I decide it’s time to start! I take my glasses and put them on. Nobody knows me, so, although I am a bit embarrassed, everything is easier. But the most important thing is that everything is finally clear, I can read the board perfectly. I feel strange with them on. They feel heavy on my nose. I touch and adjust them every minute. At pauses between lessons, I put them off.
Late in the afternoon lessons are finished. I put the glasses back into their case. I go out and run to catch the bus. I can’t see if it is the right one until it comes close. I think I should keep them on also in these situations, but I don’t want to wear glasses too much, become dependant on them and need them full-time.
October 16th 2001, Rome, Italy
My Mom calls me. She asks if everything is OK. We chat for more than twenty minutes, but I don’t tell her anything about my glasses. I am too embarrassed, even to tell her by phone.
October 23rd 2001, Rome, Italy
I’ve already been wearing glasses for a week. I am not used to wearing them yet, I keep on touching them and putting them off as soon as I can, but they have become a routine of mine at the university and they are now indispensable for me to follow the lessons.
October 31st 2001, Rome, Italy
I phone to Elena. I haven’t heard her for the past 2 months. We chat a lot and I end by telling her about my glasses. She tells me that her prescription has grown to –1.25 and since she began studying the university (she studies nursing), she has started wearing them full-time.
“What?!” I ask her, “I have –1.75, but I wear them only at the university. I don’t want to have them full-time”.
Elena understands me, but she explains that she likes to see clearly everywhere and anytime, and she doesn’t mind having to wear glasses full-time. She is now used to wearing them, although her boyfriend did not like the fact that she has her glasses on full-time too much.
After the phone call, I started to think if I should have started wearing glasses full-time too. I decided not to do that, as I did not want to become dependant on them and to need them all the time.
November 16th 2001, Rome, Italy
Erica wears her plus glasses all day long. She has been studying for an exam (a short one) for the last two weeks. Her eyes got tired a lot. Today she has had a terrible headache. Her glasses have helped a bit.
December 22nd 2001, in a train from Rome to Turin, Italy
It’s time for me to go back home for Christmas holidays. I don’t want all my family to know about my glasses. So, I leave them in the flat in Rome. I can’t read the big Departures Table at the station, but there are some small screens that I can consult. After seven hours, I am in Turin. I squint a bit at the station to find my parents. They are happy to see me. They don’t suspect I have any problem.
December 25th 2001, Turin, Italy
Christmas today! We are all in our house. My parents, brother, grandparents, uncles, cousins… we are all here. My aunt Laura is the only member of my family who wears glasses. I don’t know her Rx, but she is very nearsighted and has been wearing glasses since her teens (she is 40 now). Neither to her, I tell anything about my glasses.
December 27th 2001, Turin, Italy
I go out with my friend. We decide to go to the cinema to watch a comic movie. I am happy to go, but for a while I forget my vision problems! I immediately realize them when the movie starts. We are in the last rows, I can hear everything, but can see nothing! I am angry, but there’s nothing I can do against it. Only my glasses can save me, but they are in Rome, and also, if they were here, I would be too embarrassed to put them on.
January 7th 2002, Rome, Italy
I am back in Rome, back at the university and my glasses are back on my face. I really missed them a lot during Christmas holidays. It’s the first time I appreciate them and I am happy to be wearing them.
I find all my mates I got to know in the first months at the university. They know me as a part-time glasses wearer. They have never commented on them. Many of them wear glasses or contacts, both boys and girls.
January 9th 2002, Rome, Italy
Erica is preparing for another exam. She is wearing her nice plastic black glasses. But she puts them off as soon as she finishes studying. Elisa and Carla seem to have perfect vision. They don’t need glasses. They are lucky.
January 15th 2002, Rome, Italy
Lessons today end very late. I run to catch the bus. I see it arriving and jump on. Everything has been easier than usual. Oh yes, now I realize why! I was so hurry, that I forgot to put my glasses off. Nice, it seems they work also outside the university. I get off the bus and walk home with them on. Erica and Carla see me, but don’t comment. I then put them off.
January 16th 2002, Rome, Italy
This afternoon again, I finish lessons and don’t put my glasses off. I am now used to them, they aren’t “heavy” anymore on my nose. I still don’t want to become a full time wearer, but I start to use them for more activities. Then I arrive home and put them off.
An hour later I become to study. I want to try my glasses also for my near vision. It takes a bit to get used to looking through them, but definitely they work. I don’t keep the book so close to my face as before. Now, it is easier way of studying.
January 18th 2002, Rome, Italy
We finally have a TV set! Carla brought it here after the Christmas holidays. We watch a movie in the evening. We are sited on the sofa. After five minutes I have to get up and go to take my glasses. I can’t see anything of the movie without them! My three friends still don’t comment they are very discreet. It’s the second time I feel I need my glasses for something else than just lessons at the university.
January 21st 2002, Rome, Italy
Lessons have finished. I keep glasses on and go to catch the bus. It’s raining. My lenses become all wet and I can’t see so well. It’s a new negative aspect I learn about glasses.
February 2nd 2002, Rome, Italy
I go out with my university mates. We decide to go to the cinema. This time it won’t be like in Turin. In fact as soon as the movie begins, I put my glasses on and everything becomes so clear. When the movie ends, we go for a glass of beer into a pub. I keep my glasses on. It’s the first time I go out at night wearing them. Everything is OK. I feel natural.
February 4th 2002, Rome, Italy
Phone call from Mom and Dad. I still keep my secret.
March 28th 2002, on train Rome-Turin, Italy
I go home for Easter time. Once again I leave my glasses in Rome. Again lots of troubles, but this time it’s even worse. I am used to wearing glasses for many activities, now it’s hard to deal without them.
March 29th 2002, Turin, Italy
I go out with my friends. I squint a bit, but nobody notices. Luckily we don’t go to the cinema. We go to a disco. I dance all night. In this context I don’t miss my glasses.
April 2nd 2002, Turin, Italy
Glasses have become too important for me; I need them for lot of activities, also here in Turin. Next time I come here, they won’t get left in Rome. It’s better; I begin to say something to my parents. I invent a little lie! Mom is cooking.
I tell her, “…listen, I am having some troubles to see the board at the university and far things in general”.
She looks surprised and worried, and says:
“Oh really, what could it be?“
“Well, maybe some little vision problems for distance, but nothing to worry about” I answered.
“Oh I see, so you’d better see an eye doctor,“ she replayed.
I said: “I think I just need an eye-test at the optician’s. I’ll take one as soon as I arrive to Rome”.
I leave the room. She looks a bit worried and thoughtful.
April 5th 2002, Rome, Italy
Mom phones me. We speak a bit.
Then she asks me: “What about the eye-test. Have you already had it?“
I wanted to say yes, but I immediately felt embarrassed and answered:
“No, but it’s scheduled for tomorrow morning”.
April 6th 2002, Rome, Italy
After lunch, again a call from Mom.
“So, how did your test go?”
“Mom, as I suspected, I have little problems to see for the distance, I am slightly nearsighted. The optician suggested me getting glasses to be used in some situations”.
“Oh I see, I am sorry for you, but it’s good that you don’t have to wear them full time. What frame are you going to choose?”
“I have already chosen a rimless frame Mom. It will be ready late this afternoon.”
“Oh that sounds nice”.
April 10th 2002, Rome, Italy
Mom calls me. After chatting for a while, she asks me (I was expecting it):
“How are things going with your glasses?”
“Very well, now I haven’t got any more trouble to see at distance”.
“I am happy for you.” Mom said, “Was it difficult to start wearing them?”
“No, I was a bit nervous at beginning, but I quickly got used.”
“Oh well, anyway I am glad you only have to wear part-time.”
At evening I study a bit. Then I get tired, I close the book, put my glasses on the desk and go to bed.
April 11th 2002, Rome, Italy
I wake up and get ready to go to the university. My glasses are still on the desk. Instead of putting them in their case, I put them on. I go to university and spend a usual day. Then I come home in the evening, have dinner, study a bit and before going to sleep, I put my glasses off. It is in that very moment that I realize that I have worn them for the whole day! It’s the first time.
April 12th 2002, Rome, Italy
I felt so well and natural wearing glasses full-time yesterday, so why not doing it also today? I put them on in the morning and put them off at night.
April 14th 2002, Rome, Italy
It’s Sunday. No university today, all day at home. However I get up and put my glasses on. It’s now clear that I’ve become a full-time glasses wearer. I look at myself in a mirror. Now, I am also used to seeing myself as a glasses wearer.
April 19th 2002, Rome, Italy
I phone Federico. He is one of my best friends in Turin. I tell him about my glasses. He laughs, becomes to say stupid jokes and calls me “four-eyes”. But he is a nice friend; he CAN do that (and I was expecting it). He says he is curious to see me in glasses soon.
April 24th 2002, on train Rome-Turin, Italy
I have some days off, so I decide to come home. After a seven-hour trip I am in Turin. I get off the train. My parents are waiting for me. I’d like to put the glasses in their case and show them to my parents later at home. But then I prefer to keep them on and make a surprise. Right at the moment they see me, their first exclamation is “Oh, Marina, glasses?!” They look at me and remained without words. They are more embarrassed than me. A strange situation, isn’t it? Then Dad breaks the silence by saying:
“Oh, they look so nice on you”.
But he does not seem too sincere. Once at home, we have dinner, but they continue to look at me and at my glasses. They make me feel embarrassed.
April 25th 2002, Geneva, Switzerland
It’s a national holiday today in Italy. We decided to go to Switzerland for a pleasure trip. As usually, I get up and put my glasses on. I come down for breakfast and Mom looks at me, surprised. I understand there is a problem. A few hours later we’re walking in Geneva, so I ask her:
“So, what do you think about me in glasses?“
“Oh dear, you look very nice, but I did not expect that you needed them all the time. Is your sight so bad?“
“No Mum, it isn’t so bad, but I really need them always now. Is this a problem?“
“It is a problem for you. I am sorry that you have to wear glasses full time, I guess it isn’t comfortable and nice for a girl of your age.”
“Of course I wouldn’t mind not needing them and I wasn’t so happy to start wearing, but it’s not a big problem, lot of young people do. Now I like them and once you get used to them they are not so uncomfortable.”
She looks a bit worried, but I am sure she will get used to seeing her daughter in glasses soon. Also, she believes that I am wearing them only for a month (she doesn’t know I started wearing them last September), so she finds difficult to understand that I got used to them in one month only.
April 30th 2002, Turin, Italy
We are back in Turin. My brother arrives with his girlfriend. He is more “diplomatic” than my parents and makes positive comments on my glasses, although he says that after having seen me for 20 years without glasses, it’s a bit “difficult” to get used to seeing his sister with glasses. His girlfriend makes positive comments, too.
It’s evening and I go out with my friends. I put my glasses into their case. I don’t want any big embarrassment like the one with my parents. But I need glasses; my friends will soon know that, so I look for a way to tell them. But luckily Federico had already made the job for me. After I called him, he told all our friends about my glasses! So, when I arrive, everyone asks me:
“Marina, where are your glasses?!“
Federico laughs. I keep glasses on my nose. Again, a bit of embarrassment. But then they begin with positive comments, stupid jokes, questions and so on. After a half of an hour, I feel well again. I am happy I’ve met all my friends together, so I experienced just one single embarrassing situation.
My friend Tiziana comes to me. She wants to know more about my glasses. She got them recently too. She is only slightly farsighted and astigmatic, so she uses them only to read, watch TV and computer. She had chosen a thin red metallic frame with rectangular lenses.
We go to disco. I dance all the night with glasses on. I feel very natural.
May 1st 2002, Turin, Italy
My grandmother comes to our home. I am on the sofa watching TV. She is surprised to see me in glasses. She asks thousands of questions and, like Mum, she feels sorry for me because I have to wear glasses.
May 2nd 2002, Turin, Italy
My identity card has expired. I need a new one with new photos. I go to a photographer and he takes me four. As I look at them, I realize it’s the first photo showing me with glasses. I go to the town hall and get the new identity card with the photo of me in glasses.
May 6th 2002, Rome, Italy
I am back in Rome at the university. I am sitting in middle rows. I can’t read some small writings on board. I am worried. I come home and tell Erica. She suggests having another eye-check; could be that my myopia has increased a bit. Erica had a check recently, but she was told that her glasses are still OK; she doesn’t need stronger ones.
May 11th 2002, Rome, Italy
I go to the optician where I had the first test. I find that lovely lady again. She checks my eyes and then tells me:
“During the last eight months, your myopia has increased. Now you have –2.25 on your left eye and –2.0 on your right eye.” She suggests me buying new glasses and using the old ones for close work and as spare pair. I’d like another rimless pair, but then I prefer a metallic black frame with rectangular lenses. It’s such a thin frame that it seems rimless.
May 14th 2002, Rome, Italy
My new glasses are ready. Lenses are a bit thicker than before. I immediately put them on and try to get used to wearing the new frame. Erica, Carla and Elisa like it and, of course, they want to try the glasses on!
May 15th 2002, Rome, Italy
I go to the university and sit in the last rows. Lesson begins. With my new glasses I can see the board well again from any distance.
Well, I hope you’ve enjoyed the diary and sorry again for any grammar mistakes. After May 2002 nothing important has happened to my glasses and vision. I am one of the million glasses wearers and every time I meet a person that I haven’t seen for a long time, I get always some comments on my glasses. My Rx is now –2.75 left and –2.50 right. I still have got the metallic black frame and the rimless one, which I use rarely. I’ve tried soft contact lenses, which I like, and I sometimes wear, although 80% of my time I wear glasses. My brother got married last September and Mum wanted me to wear contacts that day. She has now accepted and got used to seeing her daughter in glasses, but not 100% and that day we were all very elegant and she didn’t want me to wear glasses, also because she did not want me to appear on the photos with those specs.
Now I have a boyfriend, who has perfect sight; he likes me in glasses, or better, let’s say he is indifferent and doesn’t care too much about it.
My aunt Laura got laser surgery. She has perfect vision now, so I am the only one in my family who wears glasses full time (my parents and uncles have glasses for presbyopia).
Erica still wears her mild plus glasses when studying, while Carla was found little astigmatic at a general health exam, but it’s so light that she even doesn’t need glasses.
A kiss to everybody,