First I wanted to tell the story by heart, but then I decided to copy and paste the contributions I had sent to the Eye Scene and Vision World Forum and add some comments. I think it will show the events in the original way and my readers will not have to search through the archives of the sites. I corrected some typos and grammar mistakes, and added some words to make the text easier to read. My postings are in black and "Arial font", my later commentary is in blue and Bold Arial Font
The first step I took was a phone call to Prague. I wanted to test possible reactions of opticians. Later, I sent the following text to the Eye Scene BBS:
Bobby posted 26 April 1999 04:36
I made an experiment.
The problem how to buy glasses over contacts lenses has been discussed here (i.e. Eyescene and Vision World Forum) for many times. There are specialists among us who can count the diopters in combination, a chart was published, some of us have practical experience with GOC. The topic is so common, that we use an abbreviation "GOC" as if it was "NATO" or "UK".
But still, one problem seems unsolvable: How can I go to an optician and tell him:
"I want to wear GOC, sell me glasses with minus 15 D."
What would the reaction be?
The only way how to find out the reaction is to ask. I picked up the phone and called to an optic shop selling both glasses and contact lenses. I choose the first I could see in Golden Pages. I decided to fabricate the following situation:
The interview (shortened)
A lady picked up the phone. The voice sounded like a voice of 35 or older lady.
Me: I asked if they thought I and my girl-friend could wear GOC.
Me: If they can make it for us.
Opt.: Yes. Why?
Me: We like glasses very much.
Opt.: Why don't you wear frames with normal zero glass?
Me: We like strong glasses, do you think we could try wearing glasses with lenses of about minus 14 or 16 diopters?
Opt. This could be a problem the lenses would be rather thick. Why do you want this, please? It will be very expensive.
Me: Money does not play any role concerning this. We both love such glasses and we would like to try what it is like.
Opt.: OK. We can make it for you, if you want, we will test your eyes and fit it for you.
Me. Thank you very much. Good bye, I think I will call you again.
Place: Central Europe, Day: Monday 26 April 1999, Time: about 12:00.
If the lady from the shop is reading this (which is what I do not expect) I want to tell her the following: Try to understand us first and then make an opinion. This is nothing to laugh at. This is a very sensitive and intimate matter for many of us. Thank you.
Hey! It was SO simple. She did not try to persuade me, that I am a f****** idiot, a crazy, who should be locked behind ten doors and ten padlocks in a hospital. I know what you are thinking about now: My dear, it was a phone call only, would you say that, if you had to go there personally? Would you tell this to anybody - face to face?
Look, my dear reader, this is what I do not know. But I think, that many of us can be helped by looking for an optician, who is able to understand a little, that everything is possible, even to wear GOC. Anyway, it might be presented like a kind of recession. We need the glasses for a recession, for fun, it was a bet etc. I really wondered whether she said CRAZY or WHY or … I did not call to an optician in my town nor in the biggest town near my town. I called 250 km far from here to a big town. If she called me "crazy" or "insane deviant" I would not be happy to meet her again, I would be afraid she would recognize my voice or a typical phrase.
Well, this is what happened. Let us discuss. I think it is better to discuss first and then to try calling or even going, than to live thirsty and hungry for years.
Later, I decided to buy GOC. I was in another town 70 km far from my home where only a few people knew me and I wanted to try a local shop. Unfortunately there were some people in the shop and I did not feel comfortable to speak about it and have too many listeners. I drove back to my town thinking about the fake story I wanted to use. I had used the story. First it was in the 80s in Prague, the second case I used it was when I was buying lenticular lenses in a little town near my place. The fake story is simple: I am a member of a group of people who want to make an amateur movie. One of the characters in the movie is a person who wears very strong glasses and I am the unhappy actor who is going to cast the character. As it had worked in both cases I thought it might work again. And ... yes it did.
That very evening I wrote the first report about purchasing my GOC at the Vision World Forum:
Bobby - 1999-04-21 00:55:39 CET
Today !!! Something happened. I decided to try to get GOC! I went to a shop, told the fabrication about making a film and asked if it was possible to bespectacle the actor and make him see quite well by combining minus glasses with plus lenses. I was sent to a lens studio, where I repeated the crazy story. The optician listened to me carefully and told me, that it was possible. She asked me to bring the actor, when we make the decision about the strength and thickness of the lenses.
I said: "Well, it's me. See, I am afraid of it finding it rather dangerous. Are you sure nothing bad can happen to me??"
The words "to be afraid? helped me, because I WAS afraid. The good lady set me at ease. And she asked me, that we could try test lenses to get to know what strength we could compensate. My BC and diameter were measured. Because it was for "the film" we tried the strongest test contacts she had. After she had managed to slid the lenses under my jerking eye lids, after I had poured a gallon of tears - I have never had contacts in - I opened my eyes to see white fog. Having minus 10 D, I know what a blur is, but this was THE BLURRRR. The contacts were plus 15 D! She tried to find a compensation for glasses, but I could not read the numbers even after she put in minus 40 D lenses.
One more try. The test lenses were of a higher quality than the first pair and they had plus six diopters. Then we found that I can see very well with minus 18 (19) test glasses. I walked across the room, looked out of the window, and could read her business card as well as advertisements opposite the street. In spite of their thickness, the lenses were not uncomfortable.
There is one limitation: The shop cannot fasten stronger glasses that minus 20. I will ask them again, however I think, that minus 20 is thick enough. I told her that I would call or come back soon, not later than one month.
When I was going out and down the stairs I was shaking, my feet could hardly find the way. I was thrilled, excited, and turned on. Uh! But I felt happy. I made it and didn't tell, what I could not tell - I mean the truth about my desire to wear GOC. I hope the optician believes my story, but even if she doesn’t - it was worth trying. (It was worth trying even if I have to tell the truth next time or when I buy a new pair of lenses or if she meets me with the thick glasses on sometime somewhere.)
Thanks to the Eye scene, Vision World, Specs4ever, Lenslover and the other friends in virtual world, and thanks to my new friend Specsgerl, who I had consulted the problem with, I made it. I will go there again and buy what I want so much. Next time I will not be shaking on the stairs. I am looking forward to my first walk with the GOC.
(end of the VWF report)
I got my contacts two weeks later, but I had not have the glasses yet. I had another glasses of a similar strength, so I decided to try them for my first GOC day. Here is what I sent to the Eye Scene:
Bobby posted 07 May 1999 13:49
Well, I was to the optician. I paid a lot of money (half of an average monthly salary in this country) and get the contacts. I was running back to the car and driving off like a lunatic. When I get to a lonesome street at the end of the town I opened the case with contacts and tried to slid them under my eyelids. Oh! It was not easy. After ten minutes I finally managed to put them in. I know what blur means, my normal Rx is -10, but this was THE BLURR. Then I took my old pair of glasses where I had had minus 18s fitted a long time ago. I looked out of the car through the windscreen. It was clear, everything was unbelievably clear. Emotions burst out in my heart. I felt absolutely happy. I had thick heavy glasses on my nose and I my vision was so clear, that I would have been able to drive securely. I got out of the car to take a walk. No problems with orientation. I had only 20 minutes to enjoy this completely new situation, but it was one of the best moments in my life. When I was walking the streets, several people looked at me, but only two of them gave me a strange look. I wished I had met more people. After I had returned into my car I had to put the contacts out of my eyes. Folks, it is not easy, one has to train that. I will make my next walk in GOC on Monday. If only it was Monday!
I think, the looks were mainly because my frames were really old-fashioned. But it is not important. The important thing is that I LOVED wearing GOC a lot. I really enjoyed wearing them.
I described the same situation in a contribution to the Vision World Forum:
Bobby - 1999-05-10 00:10:37 CET
... When I managed to put in the contacts, which was a fifteen-minute battle with my eyelids and reflexes I put the glasses on. I could see clearly, I could see myself in a mirror in my car. Then it came: EMOTIONS, ADRENALINE... It was unbelievably beautiful. I went for a walk. Everything went well. I felt happy and satisfaction flooded my heart. I knew I would like it, because I have always wanted to wear strong glasses and I have always wanted to be seen wearing strong glasses by other people. But I did not expect the wave of (I do not know how to describe it neither in English nor in my mother tongue). The walk was nice. I even entered a shop, a pharmacy, to buy eye-drops. It was one of the best days in my life.
The Monday came with another experiment (taken from the Eye Scene):
Bobby posted 12 May 1999 03:33
Well, I made another try wearing GOC on Monday. It was good, but the contact lenses are really so strong that I will have to buy glasses with -20 D. Those old ones -18s are not strong enough. I tried to drive wearing them and it was rather risky. When I was walking the streets of a little town about 25 km far from my town, (I went there, because nobody knows me there) some people were looking at my glasses. It was a sunny day and the thick lenses were flashing. I had to look in every shop window to see my glasses. It is a very special feeling when you walk, do shopping, speak with a shop assistant etc. in such unusually strong glasses.
The only problem was driving the car. I was driving slowly along a road where there was little traffic. There is the speed limit 90 km/h outside towns and 50 km/h in towns in my country, but nobody follows the limits. It is normal to drive 60 - 70 km/h in a town and much more that 100 km/h outside. I was driving only 40 - 50! Everybody was blowing the horn! I think I will drive again when I have the 20s, and only if I am able to see really clearly.
The day I got my glasses fitted exactly according to the contact lenses came later. It was 29th June 1999 and I sent another posting to Eye Scene:
Bobby posted 29 June 1999 14:05
I have the -20D glasses for GOC at last; the optician had some problems with the producer etc. so it took a long time. I was in the shop today. Yesterday, I did not know whether I should put my contacts in and the new glasses on to try them and then eventually leave with GOC on "to test the combination immediately" or if I should leave with my normal glasses on. But when I came to the shop there were too many people. I did not feel like putting GOC there. The shop assistant told me they were ready and brought them. When she was handing me the frame with the thick lenses, she said: "They are really awful and very heavy. Look." I took them from her and as I was afraid my hands would start shaking I tried them on without putting the plus contacts in. The shop assistant had to adjust the temples, and I made one more try. I put them into a box and thanked her.
And - hurry up to my car, and hurry up driving like a lunatic out of the town. I stopped in a housing estate with big blocks of flats, where I do not know anybody. I put the plus contacts in and opened the box with my new glasses. The vision was very clear and almost perfect. There is less peripheral blur than I expected. I took a short noon walk. I did not meet many people. As the summer sun was shining, most of them were wearing sunglasses, that's why I do not know how many looks I was given. But I think everybody had to notice. The lenses are 18 mm thick at the outer edges. The lenses make many concentric rings. The glasses are very heavy, because the material of the lenses is normal index glass. The frame fits very well. I felt very good and satisfied. I am sure GOC wearers know what I am speaking about.
I cannot remember the day exactly. I know where it was, but another events probably almost erased the memory in my mind
So, those were my first days in GOC. I posted many other contributions both to the Eye Scene and Vision World Forum, but as they are not about my wearing GOC I did not include them into this text.
What I wanted to say is: I fulfilled my need. I tried wearing extremely strong glasses and it worked well. My GOC made me happy. Any time I wore my strong glasses over contacts I felt a great pleasure and happiness. I felt I was really true me.
Some people may think it is a very weird story, some may even think I am not normal. I would like them to consider the following: How can it be weird or bad if it makes me happy and if it does not harm to anybody? It is my life and my eyes. I do not think I am crazy. Yes, I am rather different, because I feel happy when doing something that scarcely anybody would do.
Today is 16th October 2001. All my GOC sessions I have had so far brought me pleasure, relaxation and happy feelings. I hope I will have the chance to wear strong glasses over contacts any time I will feel like wearing them in the future.
x x x x
Some time passed by since I had written the text. It is 30th Dec 2002 today. I still have my GOC. I wear it occasionally and I think about becoming the "full-time GOC wearer". I do not think I would wear those -20s, but some 12 - 16 instead, because they would be more comfortable to be worn.
x x x x
It is 22nd March 2004. I checked the text and corrected some mistakes. I usually wear GOC once a week for several hours. When I wear GOC I go shopping, take walks or go for a trip in my car to have a walk in a distant town. I have not bought any other weaker combination yet.