It was a bright sunny afternoon in the late 80’s, and I was walking through a park near the campus of a popular college in the city. I spotted a group of 5 girls, all carrying backpacks obviously loaded with books, and whatever they needed for their college course coming my way on the paved path. I always like to look at pretty girls, so I started to give them the once over. The third girl back was wearing glasses, and as I drew even closer I noticed that she was by far the prettiest of the group. It might have been the glasses that made me think this way, because I have a fatal attraction towards females who wear glasses. Unfortunately in the years since contact lenses became affordable to the general public, the chances of me spotting a girl wearing glasses became slim to none. So, this young lady was of definite interest to me.
I gave her glasses a good look. They were a gunmetal wire frame in an oval shape, and the lenses appeared to be a weak minus, probably around -2.50D or so. I would have preferred a much stronger prescription, but like I said, girls wearing glasses were hard to find. I wasn’t sure how to approach this girl, but I figured I would be better off just going up to her and asking her for a date. She could reject my offer, or she could refuse my offer, but at least I would have tried.
I didn’t use any dumb pickup line. I merely told her that she was a very beautiful young lady, and I would be honored to have her accompany me to dinner at a restaurant that is very well known in the area on either Friday, or Saturday evening. I am not a bad looking guy, and I was 24 at the time, so I was within her age group, which I placed at around 19, and later found that I was correct. She accepted my invitation, and suggested that Friday night would be better for her, so we introduced ourselves, and I made arrangements to pick her up at her apartment at 6 pm Friday.
That was the beginning of many dates. Of course I wondered when the glasses would come off, and the contact lenses would go in, but they never did. Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer, so after telling her how fantastic she looked wearing glasses I came right out and asked her if she ever considered contacts.
“I can’t wear contacts.” Beth said.
“Is it because you have dry eyes?” I asked.
“No, it is my prescription. I can’t get it in contacts according to the doctor.” Beth replied
“It doesn’t look like you have too much astigmatism for contacts, and you are not that nearsighted that there should be a problem.” I stated.
“Even if I wasn’t a little nearsighted I would still have to wear glasses, I have something called prism in my lenses, and without the prism I would be seeing double. I had an operation on my eyes when I was 12, but I still needed to wear glasses after they finished. They promised me I wouldn’t, but I had to get glasses with prism when I was 14. Then, about 3 years ago I was having trouble seeing things clearly in the distance so I had to get a prescription for distance. Are you disappointed I can’t wear contact lenses?” Beth asked.
“No, that’s not it at all. I love how you look wearing glasses, and I wouldn’t change it for the world. I just wanted to be sure that you wouldn’t switch to contacts before I asked you to marry me.” I replied honestly.
I didn’t ask her to marry me that night, but I did soon after. She agreed, and we planned the wedding to happen after she graduated from her accounting course. I had noticed a little bit of a squint when Beth looked at things in the distance, so I suggested an eye exam and new glasses for the wedding. My main reason for this was of course to find out what her prescription was, as I hadn’t wanted to seem too interested.
I was pretty satisfied after the exam that I would never have to worry about my wife not wearing glasses. Her prescription at that time was -3.50 x -0.50 x 05 and -3.75 x -0.25 x 90 with 3 degrees base out for both eyes, and 2 degrees bottom up for her right eye, and 2 degrees top down for her left. This was just enough prism that she would have severe double vision without her glasses.
After our wedding and honeymoon, Beth was hired as an assistant bookkeeper at one of the larger factories in town. The pay was good, and the hours were steady, so she really enjoyed her work. We went to the office Christmas party that year, and I met her immediate supervisor. Gloria was, at that time, about 55. Gloria was still a fairly attractive lady, and when I met her I noticed the glint of contact lenses on her eyes. Of course this got me wondering as to what her prescription was, but with contact lenses it is impossible to guess.
Over the next 5 years we had 2 children, both girls. I would have liked a boy, but we had decided that we would only have 2 kids, so after our second daughter was born I had a vasectomy. Beth had not taken much time off work when she was pregnant, and she had returned to work almost immediately. We were fortunate that her mother was able to come for the birth of Jennifer, and was able to stay until Jen was 6 months old. When Ashley was born the lady who sat with Jen was able to look after her as well.
Beth had a prescription increase a couple of years after we were married, and her spherical had increased by a diopter in each eye. Then she had ignored the 2 year eye examination reminder, and had gone again after Ashley was born because she was having too much trouble seeing to be able to continue driving. This exam showed that she needed a -2D increase in both eyes. Now her prescription was -6.50 x -1.00 x 10 and -6.75 x -0.75 x 90 with the same 3 degrees base out, and the same 2 degrees up and down as before. I loved her new glasses. The girl at the store had tried to sell her a new type of polycarbonate lenses, but I had read bad reviews on them, so I made her get the regular plastic lenses with an anti reflective coating. When Beth first looked at them she did not like the thickness of her new glasses, but she couldn’t see a thing without them, so she was forced to wear them. Soon she was used to them, and the thickness no longer mattered to her.
That year when we went to the annual Christmas party I easily discovered that Gloria was nearsighted. Her myodisc lenses in her glasses were that first thing I noticed. Oh, she had all the bells and whistles. The lenses were superlenti, and had anti reflective coating, and were in a very attractive small frame, but to an optical obsessive like me that were gorgeous. I made a nice comment on her glasses, telling her she looked good in them.
“I guess I have to wear them now, as I can no longer tolerate my contacts.” Gloria replied.
“How long did you wear contacts Gloria?” I asked.
I wore glasses from the time I was 22 until I was about 35, then I got contacts.” Gloria replied
“So you didn’t wear glasses until you were 22? That is unusual, as most people get their first glasses by at least 16. When did you start here?” I asked.
“I started here when I was 18, and needed glasses badly by the time I was 22. Then I had to get a new prescription almost every year.” Gloria replied.
“So do you feel that all the close work you did here ruined your eyesight?” I asked.
“I certainly do. I gave my eyesight to this company, and if your wife isn’t careful the same thing will happen to her.” Gloria replied.
“I wonder what she can do to prevent her eyes from getting much worse.” I replied.
“She needs to get away from those computers. Looking at a computer screen all day, and then going home at night and either reading, or watching television will ruin her eyes. At least that is what my doctor told me almost 18 years ago. Since I started wearing reading glasses over my contacts I have only had a couple of prescription increases.” Gloria replied.
“If you don’t mind me asking, what is your approximate prescription Gloria?” I asked.
“Oh, I don’t mind, not really. My prescription now is -22.50D. I have had this prescription for over 10 years now. The only problem I have is that I need to carry 2 pairs of glasses. My other pair has my reading prescription, because I can’t get bifocals, or trifocals in the type of lenses I need to wear.” Gloria replied.
“So that means that you gained -22.50D of myopia in the period from when you were 22 until you were 42. That is a 20 year period and it works out to a little over -1D of an increase in your myopia every year. That is quite a jump, especially when most myopia stabilizes by age 30.” I replied.
“For an insurance salesman how do you know so much about myopia?” Gloria asked.
“I read a lot of medical stuff for my job. And in the health insurance field we get a lot of clients that want us to pay for procedures such as lens implants and laser surgery. Also some of our policies cover vision care, so it helps to know these things. There have been a few times where I have authorized payment of a claim that had been rejected because the client had already used up their quota for new glasses, or contact lenses, but because of a sudden large increase in their prescription they needed new glasses. After I investigated, and talked to their eye doctor I was able to approve the claim.” I replied.
“That makes sense. Actually my myopia increased an average of -1.25D a year. My first prescription at age 22 was for -2.50D, and I had been struggling to see distance for well over a year before I had my first eye exam. By the time I was 30 I was well over -13D. I only increased another 7 diopters by the time I was 40, and over the past 20 years I have increased -2.50D. But by the time I was 40 I had a doctor who understood a bit about myopia, and he realized that my myopia was not mostly axial myopia, but was in fact a combination of axial myopia, and an increase of plus power in my inner lens. My axial myopia is likely right around -5D, and the balance of my myopia is because my inner lens was accommodating so much for near point work that it became a lot thicker – or to use the correct word, a stronger plus.” Gloria replied.
“That is interesting. I have never heard of that.” I replied.
“You probably have run across this before. It mostly occurs in younger children who have a high level of female hormones. But it can also happen in older people who do an extreme amount of close work. My biggest problem was that I would start to have trouble seeing in the distance after doing my days work. So I would go off to my eye doctor once the blur became intolerable, and get a stronger prescription. Then I would go on doing the same thing as I did before, and once distance became blurry again I would go get new glasses again.” Gloria replied.
“So it sounds like you are telling me to have Beth take more frequent breaks from her near point work, and that she shouldn’t rush off to get a new prescription every time her distance vision gets a little blurred.” I replied.
“That would be a good start, unless you want her to have to wear glasses like mine.” Gloria replied.
Yes, that was exactly what I wanted. But I was sure that Gloria would have had numerous conversations with Beth, so I was going to have to be very careful. It would not do to rush Beth off to the eye doctor every time she complained about blurry vision now.
A couple more years passed by. Jen was now 5, and was getting ready to start school. Her sister Ashley was only a little over 3. Both girls spent a lot of their time reading, and watching television, so it would not have surprised me a great deal if either one of them had tested as being a little myopic. But to have the kids eyes checked would be better if I could have Beth’s eyes tested as well. I was afraid to mention the subject because I was sure that Gloria had discussed her vision with Beth. Finally I couldn’t stand it any longer. Beth had been having serious trouble reading street signs for a few months now. And just a few days ago I had to bring my car almost right up to the rear end of a car with a cute vanity plate so that Beth could see what I was laughing at. I knew she needed an eye exam, and finally I suggested that she should have her eyes checked, and have the girls go for an exam as well. She didn’t protest, and the following evening told me that she and the girls had eye exams booked in a couple of weeks.
When Beth returned with the girls she had prescription slips for all three of them. Jen was a little myopic, with a prescription of -0.75D. Ashley needed a stronger prescription of -1.25D. And Beth had gained another -2.50D. She had ordered new glasses for herself, and her glasses were going to take a few days because of the strong myopia, and the prism correction. Both girls already had their glasses, and were happy to show me ho they looked wearing them. Now Beth was -9.00 and -9.25, with no change in her prism or astigmatism.
When Beth got her new glasses I loved the looks of them. The fronts of the lenses were flat, and the light reflected off the anti reflective coating in a way that made the lenses look even thicker than they were. There was a big increase in the amount of cut in. and even though these lenses were a new type of 1.61 hi index plastic they looked pretty thick, and had lots of power rings.
I could hardly wait for the next increase. But I felt that it was going to be a while, as Beth was now using her old glasses for most of her reading and close work. I was pretty sure that she and Gloria had discussed this, and that Beth was trying to slow down, or end her increases. But I felt that if she didn’t ever need stronger glasses I would be satisfied, because her glasses were now far stronger than I had any right to hope they would become when we first met.
The girls had an increase in their prescription within the first year of their getting glasses. Now Ashley had a prescription of -2.25D, and Jen was wearing -1.50D for her newest glasses. Their prescriptions would remain unchanged for the next couple of years. It was now almost 3 years since Beth had required her last increase, and I was sure that the reason behind this was due to Gloria insisting that Beth should wear her old glasses for close work. Gloria was due to retire any day now, and I wondered if Beth would still follow her advice when Gloria wasn’t around anymore.
It was about a month before we were due to go to Gloria’s retirement party that I noticed that Beth was no longer switching glasses to read. And she was bringing things as close to her distance glasses as she previously had been to her reading glasses. I was dying to find out how long this had been going on, but I knew that I had better avoid any discussion of this matter. But then Beth mentioned that she probably should have another eye exam, so it was off to the eye doctor for Beth and the girls.
The girls each had minor increases. Ashley went up to -3.00D lenses, and Jen now needed -2.50D. But Beth had to have another -3.00D added to her prescription. I was a little surprised. This meant that she had gone up -1.00D a year on average over the past 3 years. But she had been wearing weaker glasses for her close work for the past 3 years. If the close work had caused the increases, why had the reading glasses not stopped them?
There was enough of a difference between Beth’s old glasses and her new prescription that she had trouble reading and doing close work unless she held everything really close to her face. She tired of doing this after a few weeks, and soon I noticed that she was wearing her new glasses for everything. Gloria had retired, and now Beth was the head bookkeeper, so there was a lot more work for Beth to do, as she had to check the other girl’s work, as Gloria had formerly had to check hers. And since Gloria was no longer around there was no one there to always suggest to Beth to wear weaker glasses for reading and bookkeeping.
A year later I suggested that maybe Beth should go for another exam and if she needed stronger glasses then she could again wear her old glasses for reading. She didn’t have a problem with this suggestion so we went off to her eye doctor. Sure enough, her new prescription was again a diopter stronger. So now she needed -13.00 x -1.00 x 05 with 5 degrees base out and 2 degrees base up for her right eye, and -13.50 x -0.50 x 90 with 5 degrees base out and 2 degrees base down for her left eye. This time her doctor prescribed trifocals with an add split as +1.50 for intermediate, and +3.00 for near point.
So there was no reason for Beth to carry her old glasses around anymore.
Her new glasses were really thick. Her base out prism, when added to her -13D prescription produced a lens that was almost an inch thick at the outside edge, and she had to choose a frame that had the hinge set well back from the front so that the temples would close. I didn’t mind the appearance of them at all; however Beth was pretty upset with her latest change in appearance. And, I knew she had lunch with Gloria one day when she came home and went on and on about how she was giving her eyesight to the company, just like Gloria had warned her not to do. I suggested that if she was worried about her eyesight and the possibility that all the close work she was doing was ruining her eyes, then maybe she should quit. This sort of shut her up, because she knew we needed the money for the girls’ college education, and for the house payments.
I thought the trifocals would do the trick, and would slow any further increases down. When it was almost 2 years since her last increase Beth mentioned that she was going to have her eyes, and the girls’ eyes checked again I was a bit surprised. I had not noticed that she had been having any trouble seeing things. This time both Jen and Ashley clocked in at -6.50D. Both girls had gotten new glasses a couple of years earlier, just before Beth’s last increase, so this wasn’t too big a jump for them. But Beth needed another -2D added to her distance prescription. Now she had to have the back of her lenses shaved off so that her frames would fold closed. This gave her glasses a myodisc appearance. I loved it, but as usual she hated the look of her new glasses. I didn’t say anything, but I certainly was thinking that since Beth was now 33, if she worked another 32 years until she was 65, and had a -1D increase every year, she would certainly have Gloria’s prescription doubled.
Of course that wasn’t what happened. By the time Beth was 40 she had gained another -7D in her prescription, making her glasses almost the same distance prescription as Gloria’s were. Her prism correction had increased from 3 degrees base out to 6 degrees base out, and the 2 base up for one eye, and the 2 base down for the other eye had remained the same. Her glasses didn’t really show the increased prism at all, because with her -20D prescription her myodisc lenses looked very much the same as her first pair of myodiscs had. She did end up with another -2D added to her prescription when she was 43, but after that it seemed that there were no further increases, which of course was fine with me. I had married her with only a -3.50D prescription, and while I was pleased that she had increased to -22D, this was more than I could have dreamed for.
Girls who wear glasses these days are hard to find, so if you do run across one, I suggest you grab her. Maybe her prescription will go up, maybe it will stay the same, but at least you will have yourself a glasses girl.