by Spec4everI was sitting in the mall, just off to the side of the entrance to Eyecrafters, a one hour spectacle shop. I was quite comfortable, wearing my regular old thick plastic -20’s instead of the normal hi index glasses I usually wear. As I read the National Star, laughing at the unbelievable trash they wrote, I noticed a rather pretty young lady glancing my way, as she walked towards the optical store. It looked as though she noticed me stare back at her, and she glanced away, so I hid my nose back in the paper. She came up and sat down at the other end of my bench. Not surprising, since that was the only bench, but I thought that my imagination was working overtime, and she was watching me. With a –20D correction, peripheral vision is not really great, so I was trying to get a better look at her when all of a sudden I realized that it was my glasses she was looking at. I whipped them off - held them out to her and told her they were –20D plastic lenses, and that she was welcome to take a close look at them if she wished. She sort of stammered, and stuttered, but took the glasses and gave them a thorough going over. Since I had my implants done, I am really blind without glasses, so after a minute or so I mentioned that I really needed them back if she was through with them. She handed them back to me, and I was able to get a good look at her. I thought that she was about 17, very attractive, with long brown hair tied back in a pony tail. She was wearing a rather becoming typical pair of oval framed wire rimmed glasses in about a –5D.
“Are you interested in my glasses just in case yours get to be this strong.” I asked
“No.” she said “I was just wishing mine were that thick and strong.”
I figured that it was time to clean the wax out of my ears. There was no way I could have heard what I thought I heard, so I asked her if I had heard her correctly. I had.
I told her that that was a crazy wish. Eyes as bad as mine were no goal for a pretty young girl to have. If her own eyes got that bad at a later date, that would be natural, but that poor vision was no picnic. And all the while I was really thinking that again I was not the only crazy one in the world. I had had lens implants done a few months back after years of wearing glasses over contacts. My contacts had started to be a great deal of aggravation, and I decided that I really liked my looks, and my vision with a –20D prescription, so I spent the bucks, and was really happy with the results. But, to hear this from a 17 year old - how totally weird. I then asked her why she thought that she wanted thick glasses.
She told me that as a little girl she and her best friend had been inseparable. As pre-scholars that had played together every day, had slept over at each others houses, and had been just like sisters. Her best friend Sarah’s mother had worn glasses, and she and Sarah had often put old pairs of Sarah’s mom’s glasses on, and pretended that they had to wear glasses. When they had started school together, Sarah had failed the pre school vision screening, and had gotten glasses of her own to wear. This was not unexpected, as Sarah’s brother, older by a bit more than a year had also gotten glasses when he started school. My new found friend Katie told me that she felt left out, and she started then to wish that she too had had to get glasses. Sarah, and her brother Chris had gone through a bit more than normal myopic progression, and now Sarah had to wear -14 diopter glasses and Katie was fascinated by the thick lenses Sarah wore.
I sensed a little more to the story, so I asked her if she was going out with Sarah’s brother. She looked at me in surprise, and asked me how I knew. I told her that it was just a good guess, and that I thought that she wanted to have worse vision than her boyfriend to make him feel better.
I had hit the nail right on the head. I would have loved to carry on the conversation, but she looked at her watch, and said she had an eye appointment and that she would be getting thicker glasses now. I said that I would still be there when she finished, and asked her how she was so sure she would be getting thicker glasses.
“If you are still here when I come out, I will tell you.” she replied.
Well, with an invitation like that what optic observer could leave, so I waited patiently for her to return. Soon she did, a smile across her face. She asked me to come in with her and help her choose new frames, as she had gone for the $78.00 contacts and glasses special. And, since they had had the new contacts in stock, she was already wearing them.
We went back into the store, and she tried on a few pairs of frames. The ones that looked the best were an oval multi colored plastic. The eye size was a little larger than what is considered fashionable by teenagers, but this seemed to be what she wanted. The optician looked at the frames, and at her new prescription, and told her that she should either pick a smaller frame, or spend the extra for light weight lenses. With a puzzled look on my face I took the prescription to see why –5D or –6D would need special lenses. I choked when I glanced at the prescription. It was a very substantial -9.25D x -0.25 x 180R and a straight -9.50D L. I couldn’t believe that her eyes had gone from about a –5D to this. I then asked her when she had gotten her old glasses, and was flabbergasted when she said about 5 or 6 months ago. She ordered the regular lenses, and the slightly oversized frame anyway, and we went to the food court in the mall, where I offered to buy her lunch. Over lunch she told me the most amazing story.
A year ago, right at the start of school in September, Katie had gone into a thrift shop. She found a pair of glasses in a weak minus prescription that looked fairly good on her, so she started to wear them. Every day at school she wore glasses. When she got home, as an only child with both parents at work, she could wear the glasses until her Mom arrived home. After supper, and cleanup, she would go to her room to study. She told me that for over a month she had not focused her eyes on anything much over a few feet distant. And at the end of the month, when she tried to see anything in the distance it was a blur, so she told her parents that her eyes were bad, and she needed glasses. Her Mom took her to the optometrist at the mall, and sure enough, she was a –2.00D myope now. She had purchased the contact lens and glasses package the first time, and immediately she had started wearing the –2D contacts under her –2D glasses. The doctor was not too surprised when only a month later Katie went back for a stronger pair of glasses. This time her prescription was -3.5D , with the right eye having a little bit of astigmatism. When the new glasses arrived, Katie immediately started wearing the –2D contacts under her -3.5D glasses. After about a month, she was able to move up to the -3.5D contacts, and after about 6 months of this, she went back for another exam. Her contacts this time were –5D, and the glasses were -5.25Dx-0.25x180, and -5.50D. So, during the last 6 months she had again boosted her prescription, first by wearing the –2.00D contacts under her glasses, then the –3.50D contacts, and finally the –5.00D contacts. Obviously this had been quite successful in increasing her myopia.
We went back to the optical store, and Katie took out her new -8.50D contacts and put on the glasses. To a thick lens lover like myself, they were just fantastic. She thought they were great as well.
We exchanged e-mail addresses, and Katie promised to keep me informed. I sort of forgot about it, thinking that she really didn’t mean it, but about 3 months later I found the following note on my e-mail, and so began a series of e-mails.
Feb. 16, 2002:
Hi! I don’t know if you remember me, but you asked me to keep you informed as to my progress. I am now up to wearing the -5.50D contacts under the glasses that you helped me pick. It took me a lot longer to get this far, and I know that it is going to be a while before I can wear my -8.50D contacts under my glasses. Just thought I would drop you this note to see if you were still interested.
Feb. 17, 2002:
Sure I am still interested, but are you not having any problems seeing with the combination contact lenses and glasses.
March 22, 2002:
Got your reply, but have been busy. I am really doing fine wearing the -5.50D contact lenses, and just today I wore my -8.50D’s for the whole day. I am really going to have a hard time getting accustomed to them. Chris and I broke up last weekend, but I have decided that I still want to go up to –20D glasses just like yours.
March 23, 2002:
That is quite an accomplishment, but are you sure that you really want to do this. As a long time wearer of thick glasses, I must advise you that a lot of people really have a prejudice against glasses wearers. I am not sure if it is the fact that they don’t want to seem to be staring at your glasses, and so they move their eyes away from your eyes. And, when you are avoiding eye contact, it seems to make people uncomfortable.
April 17, 2002:
It is my 18th birthday today, and I celebrated it with another visit to the eye doctor. I have a new prescription: -14.75D x -0.25 x 180R and -14.75D L. The eye doctor wants me to see a specialist at the University as soon as he can get me an appointment. I guess you know that I can’t get my new prescription in one hour. I was surprised when they told me that, but I guess it is because not too many people have a prescription that strong. I asked Sarah about this, and she told me that she has had to wait a couple of weeks for her new glasses ever since she got higher than –10D.I hope to get mine sooner than that. And, now my glasses are almost the same strength as Sarah’s. She can’t believe my eyes have gotten so bad so fast, but I can’t tell her how I did it.
April 19, 2002:
So, you are up to almost –15D now. Isn't it about time you stop this. You now have stronger glasses than 90% of the population of the world does.
April 28, 2002:
Got my new glasses today. They are really thick. I didn't get any contacts this time. My mom had noticed that I hardly ever wore them, so she didn't want to spend the extra money. I told her that was fine, contacts were just too much bother. My appointment with the specialist is in 4 weeks, and I am going to try to get up to the -5.50D contacts before then.
April 29, 2002:
You are insane!. Please, for your sake stop this nonsense.With -15D glasses you must have thick enough glasses to suit you by now.
April 30, 2002:
Not thick enough yet. I want to go to –20D, and then I will stop. I wore the –2D contact lenses yesterday and today, and am going to try the -3.50Ds tomorrow.
May 1, 2002:
Good luck, if that is what you really want. Let me know the outcome.
May 29, 2002:
Saw the specialist yesterday. He gave me a new prescription, but it is not as strong as I was hoping for. It is only -17.25D x -0.25 x 180 R and -17.50D L. I ordered new lenses for the frames I got last month. When I went into the optical store I was met by a new girl that had just started, and she tried to sell me all kinds of really expensive hi index glass or plastic lenses. I was getting a bit upset with her when my usual optician came over and told her that my eyes were so bad that they just kept getting worse every couple of months, so expensive lenses were not an option. Then they told me I had to order something called a myodisc, but I told them I knew that all they had to do was dish the front of the lenses out just like yours are. The optician told me that this was called bi concave, and that they would still be plenty thick. I told her that it didn't matter to me how thick my glasses were as long as I could see OK. The specialist told my mom that I had a condition called severe progressive myopia. When my mom asked him how bad my eyes were going to get he told her that they could go as high as –60D, and if they still got worse after that, I would be unable to get stronger glasses. He was surprised that I had not started getting so nearsighted until I was in my late teens, but he said my eyes were healthy and I didn't have any other problems except for being really nearsighted.
May 30, 2002:
Being really nearsighted is enough of a problem. Do you not feel uncomfortable wearing such thick glasses. Have you got a new boyfriend yet?
June 17, 2002:
Well, I have had my new glasses for a week now. I have been getting used to them, and have not tried to wear any of my contacts under them yet. I don’t have a steady, but since I got my new glasses I have had 3 cute guys ask me to the prom. Even Chris has asked me out again, but I don’t think I am going to go out with him for a while. What do you do when you go in swimming. I tried to take my glasses off for swimming today, but I had to put them back on. I just couldn't see a thing. And now, when I shower, I have to wear my glasses. I can’t see the soap, or the bottles of shampoo. Maybe I shouldn't have made myself this blind.
June 19, 2002:
I warned you about this. But now you have done it, I guess you won’t be trying to increase your prescription any more. I just wear my thick plastic glasses with a croakie strap for swimming and any sort of thing that puts my glasses in danger.
July 7, 2002:
Well, I have been working as a waitress ever since school got out. I am making lot of money in tips. Lots of guys are giving me the eye now. I think it might be my glasses. I decided that since I was already so blind, a little more would be all right. I wore my –2D contact lenses for a week, but tore one lens, so I had to go to the -3.50Ds a bit before I was ready. It took a couple of days, but I am really comfortable with them in under my glasses. I think I will go for the -5.50Ds, and then quit. This should get me up around what I wanted when I started.
July 14, 2002:
You sure are a stubborn young lady. I have tried to warn you enough times that you are heading for danger, but you are old enough to know what you are doing. I think that you will find that a lot of guy’s like girls with thick glasses. Just make sure that you don’t get one that wants you to take your glasses off all the time - this is an indication that he is a bit of a control freak When you get your –20Ds we are going to either have to meet for lunch again, or you will have to send me a picture..
August 27, 2002:
Sorry I haven’t replied for so long. I have been really busy. I quit work to day, and am getting ready for college in a couple of weeks. My mom took me to the eye doctor today, and I hit a bit over the –20D.I am finally where I wanted to be, so I guess you will be glad to hear this. My new prescription is –21D R and -21.25D L. The doctor said my astigmatism was so slight that he was going to drop it. I think I have done pretty well to do this in just under 2 years.
I am going out with Mike. He’s a really cute guy and he really seems to like my glasses. He is always cleaning them for me. I never realized that I wouldn’t be able to see well enough to clean my own glasses. I decided to order a lens called a high index aspheric, since I am planning on sticking with this prescription. I will send you a picture as soon as I get my glasses.
Sept. 22, 2002:
Got your picture t day. You look great in your new glasses. Hope Mike appreciates them as much as I do. I still find it hard to believe that you have accomplished this in such a short period of time.
Oct. 10, 2002:
College is really hard. I am studying a lot, and am on the computer about 2 hours a day. I really like my new glasses, and I get a lot of compliments on how good they look. The college has an optical department, where they teach opticians all about fitting glasses, and technicians all about grinding lenses. They are going to make me some new glasses for free, but they want me to get a new prescription, so when I go home at Christmas I am going for another eye test. I know I won’t need any stronger glasses, but I will go just to make everyone happy.
Oct. 16, 2002:
If you don’t need a new prescription at Christmas, everyone will think that your eyes have stabilized. I hope that you can keep your studying up, and get good grades, since an education is so important now. E-mail me again when you have some free time.
Jan. 12, 2003:
I went to the eye doctor just before Christmas. He gave me a stronger prescription, and I just picked up my new glasses. I didn't realize that I was having trouble seeing things, since they got worse a little bit at a time. My new prescription is -22.50D R and -22.75D L. This isn't a lot worse, but it is the first time my eyes have gotten worse on their own. I wonder if this would have happened if I had never worn glasses. The college lab made me a really nice pair of blended myodiscs, and they are going to make me another pair the same as my last hi index aspheric lenses. I also ordered a pair of thick plastic lenses to wear in the pool. Mike and I broke up, and I am going with Chris again.
Jan. 14, 2003:
Good to hear from you again. I am really sorry that your prescription increased on it’s own. It is not surprising that this happened, since you are looking at the world through a pretty strong pair of lenses. The amount of focusing power you have to produce to look at something up close is a lot, and by doing this you are making your eyes more myopic. Maybe you should get yourself bifocals to cut down on the strain.
March 19, 2003:
I would have been really happy about this last year, but now I am wishing I had taken your advice. I just got back from taking an eye test for my drivers license. I failed. My vision with glasses is not good enough to get a drivers license. I am going to get a pair of contact lenses and try again.
March 20, 2003:
Sorry about the eye test for the license. You should be able to pass it if your glasses are strong enough. Maybe your eyes have gotten worse again.
March 21, 2003.
You were right. I just put my old -3.5D contact lenses in under my glasses, and I could see fine again. Now I am worried that I have ruined my eyes forever. I am going back to the eye doctor early next week, and I am sure that my glasses will have to be a lot stronger. I do like wearing thick glasses. It is fun to see people stare at my glasses, and wonder just how blind I am without them. I also like looking at myself in a mirror with my strong glasses on, but now I wish I had stopped a bit sooner like you told me to.
March 22, 2003:
Wow - another -3.50D. That puts your glasses up around –26D. You will need –20D contact lenses to see with. I am sorry to see this happening to you.
April 7, 2003:
You are right on for my contacts: -20D, but my glasses are -27.25D R and -27.50D L . My eye doctor wants me to go back to the specialist again next month.
April 9, 2003:
How much longer do you have before you finish school. I am sure that your eyes will stop getting worse once you stop all the studying.
May 24, 2003:
Well, I am out for the summer. I have been wearing contacts a bit lately. I love glasses so much, but I can see better with contacts. I went to the specialist, but again he said no problem with my eyes - just really nearsighted. He wrote out the thing for my eye test for my drivers license, and said that I had pretty good vision with my new glasses even as strong as they are. I think I will stop wearing the contacts as soon as I get my license. I just don’t like the way I look without my strong glasses, but now I hope my eyes don’t get any worse.
I sent off a short reply to her e-mail, but heard nothing back for almost a year. In her reply she told me that she had graduated. Her eyes had stabilized around –27D. She had gotten engaged to Chris, and I was a bit worried about her next sentence: “Now we can have some really nearsighted children.”
I wrote her back, asking her to invite me to her wedding, but so far no invitation has come. I am still wondering if she really plans on helping her kids with their myopic progression.
This story was written in 1998, and was sent to Lenslover to be published on Smudge Report. He lost the story, and I had forgotten about it, but I have dug it out again, updated it a bit, and I have had Aliena work her editing magic with it.