I looked at the glasses I was holding in my hand, and then I looked at the picture I had just scanned into my computer. The glasses were the same, but the face in the picture wearing the glasses, with her eyes minified behind the strong lenses of these glasses no longer resembled the hazel eyed strawberry blonde girl, that I had just left a couple of hours ago. Gone were the strong glasses, replaced by 12 years of contact lens wear. The strawberry blonde hair was now much shorter, and there were no more bangs touching the upper rims of the glasses. She was still about the same general slim build, and the height hadn’t changed, but the smile in the picture was something I hadn’t seen much of for the last few years. How had it happened I wondered? How had we fallen in love, married, had a wonderful daughter and at the same time destroyed all semblances of our former carefree happy selves?
I would never know the answer to that, even if I lived a hundred years. My mind went back to that lunchtime in the university cafeteria line where we first had met. I had spotted a girl wearing glasses, and I managed to quickly get into line behind Karen and her friend Ruthie. Small talk ensued, and I managed to wrangle an invitation to join them for lunch. During lunch I was sure that Karen figured that Ruthie was the one I was interested in, and I know that I surprised her when I asked Karen if she was interested in attending a dance that weekend in honor of the freshmen. She accepted, and for the next 3 years, until I finished my 4-year course, Karen and I lived together in an apartment near the university. I got to see Karen wearing these glasses for a little more than a year. I knew the prescription of this pair of glasses as well as I knew my own name. Karen’s right eye was –13.50 x –3.00 x 170, and her left eye was 13.75 x –2.75 x 180. What caught my eye when I first saw Karen was that the front of the lenses seemed to be dished in quite a bit. The glasses themselves were a nondescript pale brown plastic. The writing on the left temple read Adensco 5005 135, and the right temple said flexolite tr 202. Usually on a pair of glasses the lens opening size is stated, but this pair of glasses was lacking that information. But I knew. I knew that the lens size was 46-16-46, and the height of the lens was 43. If the lenses had not been rolled and polished the edge thickness would have been substantial, but because of the small size of the lens, and the edge rolling they were only a little over 10mm thick. For a pair of late 80’s glasses with regular old CR39 plastic lenses this was extremely thin for the prescription.
Then I got to be with Karen when she picked out the frames for her first pair of lenticular blended myodiscs. Her prescription had jumped 2 diopters in each eye, and the optician insisted that these new blended myodiscs were the answer for Karen. However, like so many opticians she was only repeating the advice that the lens salesman gave to her. She did know enough to get Karen’s pupillary distance exactly on center for each lens, which was a good thing. However, what she didn’t know was that Karen was going to have a hard time getting used to these lenses. And, when viewed directly from the front they looked pretty good, but from a side angle they looked a little weird. I would have rather had Karen wearing the thicker plastic lenses that the optician didn’t want to sell us.
After I finished university, I thought that Karen would have another year before she finished her Bachelor of Arts program and graduated. But, during this year Karen decided that she wanted to become a lawyer. So after a lot of discussion we decided not to wait any longer to get married.
Karen had tried a lot of different types of contact lenses. The only ones that seemed to work for her were the hard plastic lenses, but they were too painful on her eyes for her to tolerate. The new soft plastic lenses had been on the market for a number of years, but Karen had a bit too much astigmatism to be able to wear them. Unfortunately for me, in early 94, just before our wedding, Karen was fitted with a new type of toric soft contact lens. That was the end of Karen wearing glasses. Oh, sure, she still had a current pair to wear around the house when absolutely necessary. However, by the next time her eyes worsened, and made it necessary for her to get stronger glasses and contacts her old glasses still looked as new as the day she picked them up.
By 97 Karen had become a lawyer, and our daughter Caitlin had been born. This wasn’t really planned, although I had wanted to have children for a couple of years now.
Karen wasn’t happy at all about this. She was going to set the world on fire as a lawyer, but having a baby set her back a bit. So, I got to spend a lot of time with Caitlin during her early years. Looking back I can see that this was around the time that Karen and I started to distance ourselves from each other. I really don’t know what the causes were. I know I didn’t really feel that Karen was anyone special anymore. When she was wearing her strong glasses, to me it was like she was one in a million. But, without glasses she was just another contact lens wearing career woman approaching middle age. And, she was totally wrapped up in her work. She not only spent hours at the office after her normal hours, but also she often brought work home in the evenings and on weekends. Our sex life became non-existent, however I knew that Karen was not seeing anyone else.
So finally when Caitlin was 5 years old, Karen and I separated. It was an amicable separation, and we shared joint custody of Caitlin. Karen was quite surprised when I told her that I had decided to separate, and she couldn’t understand why. I didn’t know how to tell her, but the straw that broke my back was when Karen started shopping around to see if she could have an operation on her eyes so she wouldn’t have to wear glasses. She had worn her contact lenses so much that they were really beginning to bother her eyes. Since her prescription was so high – around –19D by now, lasik surgery was not an option, but she had signed up to participate in the trials that were now going on with something called a phakic lens implant for very nearsighted people. This is where they implant a permanent lens in front of the iris, and behind the cornea. The new lens is usually only good to correct about –15D of myopia, and has only a slight chance of improving astigmatism. However, Karen was going to have both the phakic lens implant, plus laser surgery to bring her vision back to as close to 20/20 without glasses as possible.
Caitlin seemed to accept the fact that mommy and daddy didn’t live together anymore. It was probably harder on her, because I had moved to an apartment in the same area, and because I was so close Karen was inclined to suggest that Caitlin should stay with me during the week whenever Karen had a trial on. This seemed to be quite frequently, but I couldn’t say no to looking after my own daughter. I also got every other weekend, but over the last 3 months I had Caitlin with me more than 75% of the weekends. I was almost to the point where I was going to ask for full custody, however my mind told me to shut up and accept what I was getting. Caitlin was bonding with me far more than she was with her mother.
It was a good year ago or more when Caitlin was 7 years old that Caitlin and I went to see a movie. I headed for the back of the theater, but Caitlin wanted to sit much closer to the screen. I asked her why, and she told me that she couldn’t see everything from the back row. This was not surprising news to me. I had expected, and had been hoping for this result.
So after the movie Caitlin and I went off to one of those one-hour optical stores, where they have an optometrist right next door to them. I hadn’t realized it, but it was Sunday afternoon, and the mall closed at 6:00pm. We only had enough time to have Caitlin’s eyes tested. So since the mall we were at was not as convenient as one closer to our apartment would be we decided to wait until the following day to purchase a pair of glasses. And, she was going to have to wear glasses. Caitlin was a little nearsighted, probably like her mother had started. She had a weak prescription, only –1.25D in each eye, and the doctor had told Caitlin that she could wear the glasses as much, or as little as she felt comfortable doing.
The following day I was at work, and I looked at the prescription that the doctor had written out. I saw that it would be no problem at all to change the doctor’s writing to read –1.75D. All I had to do was make the 2 into a continental 7, with the little line through it. So I did that. Then when I got back to the apartment, Caitlin and I went off to the mall near the apartment. We selected a frame for her, and while the lenses were being made, and fitted in the frame we went to the food court, and had supper. By the time we had eaten it was time to go back and pick up her glasses. I was a bit nervous when Caitlin put her glasses on, but she didn’t seem to notice, nor did she have any trouble adapting to the slightly stronger prescription. Actually she was thrilled at how much better she could see now, so I wondered if the doctor had cut back on the prescription that she really required, and my little addition might have brought Caitlin closer to what she really needed. I had been reading a lot about myopia since I started going out with Karen, and over the past few years a controversy had developed in the optometric profession. Some people accused eye doctors of needlessly giving children glasses to correct their myopia, because, these same glasses caused the child’s eyes to become even more myopic. These same people suggested that to avoid staircase, or progressive myopia in children it was advisable to start them on a visual training program whereby they were given a plus lens to use when reading or doing close work. This, along with training the child to look away from close work very frequently was suggested to be a means to stop myopia in its tracks.
Did this method work? I didn’t have a clue. Nor did I really care. I suppose that it is only logical to assume that if one is given a minus lens to correct distance vision, then doing close work using the same minus lens will cause the eyes to focus to compensate for the minus lens, and I also suppose that this might cause a persons eyes to require more minus power to see into the distance again. But I wasn’t about to do anything radical like giving plus lensed glasses to Caitlin. I loved to see her wearing her glasses, and I was pleased to see that she wore them pretty well constantly. Her mother wasn’t quite as thrilled that Caitlin seemed to have inherited her nearsightedness, but of course there was nothing that she could do about it. And, because of a major trial that Karen was involved in Caitlin was spending most of the time with me.
Caitlin had been wearing her glasses fulltime for about 6 or 7 months when I noticed that she was again scrunching her eyes partially closed to see things off in the distance. Of course I commented on this, and Caitlin admitted that she was having a hard time seeing the chalkboard at school. So, again we went to an optometrist, who increased Caitlin’s prescription to –3.50D in both eyes. I had given the matter a lot of thought over the past couple of days, but I had not been able to come to a decision. Finally that day, after we left the optometrist’s office, instead of having new lenses put in Caitlin’s glasses I took Caitlin home to the apartment, telling her that I would pick her up after school the following day so that we could get her new glasses.
The following day at work I used a really good copier, and I copied Caitlin’s prescription. Then, using white out, I blanked out all of the information that the doctor had written. Essentially I created a whole new prescription, which now read –4.50D for both eyes. I suspected that Caitlin would have no trouble adapting to a –1D boost. The following day I picked Caitlin up after school, and we went off to the optical store that we had previously used. Once she had her new glasses, she did notice that they were very strong, so I suggested that she pull them down from the bridge of her nose slightly. She did, and she seemed much happier.
I suspected that after about 3 months of wearing the extra strength prescription that Caitlin would again be wearing her glasses tight to her nose, and this was the case.
But what surprised me was about 6 months after Caitlin had gotten the new prescription one night at Caitlin’s school when I was meeting the teacher, Caitlin’s teacher told me that Caitlin might need stronger glasses, since she was doing a lot of squinting.
I was surprised that her teacher had noticed before I did, so I made a comment about that.
"Oh, it is something I am used to, watching children scrunch up their eyes to see things around them. My own eyes are very bad, so I am always watching for that." Olivia, Caitlin’s teacher said.
With that I took another look at her. She was pretty in a harsh way. Her face was quite thin, and she had a long pointed nose, which had a bump in it just where a pair of glasses would sit. I felt like commenting that the right pair of glasses would hide the bump on her nose, and would also hide the bulging eyes that protruded slightly. It was then I realized that the reason her face looked so sharp was that her black hair was pulled tightly back into a bun. We had finished our conversation, so I stood up to take my leave. She stood also, and I noticed that she was wearing a very short skirt. Her legs were not really great looking, she was a bit knock kneed, and her calves were a little too thick in the mid region to suit me, but she had a nice chest, and all in all she could be considered pretty. I looked at her hand, and I saw that she had no ring on.
"Would you consider accompanying me to dinner Friday night, or are you otherwise engaged?" I asked.
"I have nothing else planned, but I don’t like to mix business with pleasure. If your daughter was not in my class I wouldn’t have a problem, but she is, so I will have to think about it. Can I think it over and give you a call?" Olivia asked.
As I looked into her eyes while we were standing chatting I noticed contact lenses on her eyes. This alone made me hope that Olivia would call me.
It was Thursday night when Caitlin and I had returned from the mall, where we had gotten a new pair of lenses made for Caitlin’s glasses. I had bumped her lens power –1D only 6 months ago, and now her new script was another –1D stronger, giving Caitlin –5.50D glasses at age 8. I was sort of pleased that my boosting Caitlin’s prescription hadn’t had any effect on her myopia progression, however I was a little worried that her prescription might climb a lot more over the next couple of years. There was a message on the answering machine from Olivia. She told me that since she had missed me, possibly it was too late for tomorrow night, but she was available the following weekend.
I called her immediately. We ended up deciding that we would go to dinner the following night, and we could also do something the next weekend, if she felt like it.
Since Olivia was of Greek heritage, we decided to go to a Greek restaurant that I liked. We had a really good time. She was an interesting, and funny lady. I did notice that when she read the menu in the candlelight that she took a magnifying glass from her purse, and attempted to use it as if doing so was the most natural thing in the world to do.
After we were finished she commented," I see Caitlin got new lenses for her glasses. Are they much stronger?"
"Well, they are another –1D in only 6 months. She is up to –5.50D now, and I think that is pretty strong for an 8 year old. What do you think?" I asked.
"Well, I was around –20D when I was 10 years old, so that isn’t a fair question to ask me." Olivia replied.
I almost choked. " If it isn’t too personal a question, do you mind telling me what your prescription is now?" I asked.
"Well, my right contact lens is –29D, and my left one is –28D. I am not exactly sure what my glasses are. I know they are well into the mid –40’s" Olivia replied.
I knew. I had a table that I had compiled, and from the table, which I had memorized I knew that her glasses would be around –46D for her right eye, and –44D for her left. All of a sudden my interest in glasses over the last few years was paying off.
"So that is why you needed a magnifying glass to read the menu. Your strong contacts minify things so much." I answered.
"The biggest problem is the darkness. I seem to be able to see all right in good light." Olivia replied.
"Have your eyes stabilized?" I asked.
Well, I am 34 now, and I haven’t had an increase for 5 years, so I hope they have. I know I can’t go much higher.’ Olivia replied.
I didn’t think this was the time to tell her that she could go up to –70D, according to a web site I had found. And contact lenses are available on special order up to –50D. Showing too much interest, excitement or knowledge now could ruin things before they even got started.
My relationship with Olivia progressed rapidly. She was quite pleased that her very strong prescription didn’t seem to bother me. It bothered me all right – it made me hot and bothered, and I could hardly wait to make love to her, but she insisted that we wait until Caitlin was out of her classroom before we took our relationship further. I understood, and on the few occasions that Caitlin was with her mother, I had to be content to sleep with Olivia, and hold her body next to mine. When she got up and put her strong myodisc glasses on her face, I was so aroused I didn’t know how I could contain myself.
Finally Caitlin was out of school for the summer. I immediately asked Olivia to marry me. We set a date for late August, and we planned a small wedding. It was wonderful, and Caitlin was so happy to be a bridesmaid. Caitlin looked fantastic in her bridesmaid dress, wearing her new –7D glasses with the flat fronts. Her doctor told us that since her prescription seemed to be getting stronger and stronger at a rapid rate, she might as well get used to plano fronts for her lenses.
Olivia and I went to a couple of specialists not too long after we were married. We had been discussing having children, but Olivia has a cousin who had extremely high myopia. Her cousin had 2 children, and her myopia increased significantly with the birth of each child, so we are trying to see what Olivia’s chances of having an increase in her myopia would be. No one seemed to know, so we decided we would try to have one child.
It didn’t take long before Olivia became pregnant. Over the 9 months that she carried Armanda our year old daughter she didn’t have any increase in her prescription. But Mandy has just been prescribed a very cute pair of –10D glasses. It won’t take long for Mandy to catch up to her half sister Caitlin, who at age 11 is wearing –12D
We might take a chance on having another child. Part of me tells me I would like a boy, but another nearsighted daughter would work just as well.
Since I married Olivia, Karen has had the first operation. She has had the lens implants, and she is wearing glasses with a prescription of around –4D with her –3.00D of cylinder. They want her to wait about 6 months before they do the lasik surgery. She seems pretty happy that her glasses are so much thinner than they used to be. I don’t even care now, because I have Olivia, Caitlin, and now Mandy.
Specs4ever May 2006