Hindsight 20/20: Reflections on a lifetime of glasses

This post was inspired by a post titled “Glasses make my world hi-res” on Bunny Meets Design (http://bunnyeatsdesign.wordpress.com/2012/07/28/glasses-make-my-world-hi-res/).

My relationship with glasses has always been tenuous. I got my first paid in grade one or two because I had a lazy eye. Unlike the stereotype my lazy eye didn’t wander off and wasn’t visibly noticeable it just didn’t want to do the work involved in seeing — I like to describe it more as being a slacker eye. It was like that person nobody wanted to have on their group project because it would do a half-assed job on its section of the assignment and then the rest of the group (in this case my other eye) would have to pick up the slack. This meant two things:

  1. I had to wear glasses and I hated them. Convincing me to wear them was a difficult task. I would lie to my parents about wearing them and take them off at school and after school. No teacher or staff member was able to give me the attention needed to keep them on my face. Since my other eye was doing all the work needed for seeing I could still see perfectly fine — and always have been able to see almost perfectly without glasses with the exception of things that are far away — and felt no need to wear them.
  2. I was supposed to wear an eye patch over my over achiever eye for half an hour each day to force my lazy eye to do the work of seeing. My parents like to remind me that if I’d only done this then I wouldn’t wear glasses today. Despite the otherwise cool nickname of it being my pirate patch I didn’t wear it and complained bitterly. It was mostly because trying to read with it on was challenging and gave me a headache. That eye alone was not up to the task and trying to see was closer to what I imagine other people who wear glasses experience, blurry and difficult. I hated that feeling of straining to see and slowly stopped wearing the patch all together.

I also broke and lost a lot of pairs of glasses. Between taking them off constantly and just being an absent minded and clumsy kid I bent them and lost them. We were on a first name basis with the repair people at Lens Crafter. It is amazing what I put some of my glasses through.

Junior high continued along the same trend, with added pressure and awkwardness of junior high. I had short hair and people teased that I looked like Harry Potter, which partially thrilled me because I wanted to run off to Hogwarts and mostly made me not want to wear my glasses. They spent more time stashed in backpacks or forgotten on bedside tables than on my face during those three years.

These years also brought a new and horrible development: contacts. I never got along with contacts. From the first lesson on how to jab them into my eyes and the pain of leaving them into long, having them get dirty or ripped was horrible. I never got the trick. I got them for the purpose of athletics and eventually decided to either pretend to wear them or take them out because they were uncomfortable and I could see fine without them — as I said before the difference between wearing glasses and not is like the difference between cable and HD, a little sharper but not that much. Contacts were hopeless and I gave on them a few years ago. I will never go back to them and don’t miss them.

Since then things have improved a great deal. In university I found a pair of glasses that I not only liked but actually think I look better in than without — they are like wearing my favourite shirt, I feel more attractive and better about myself than when I don’t wear them. After losing that pair I replaced them with a nearly identical pair from the same brand. I think it is important that I not only accept my glasses by actually think they make me look good. I am no longer self-conscious and don’t hate them. The days of Harry Potter jokes are long behind me.

My vision has also improved considerably since I started consistently wearing them. It seems my eyes responded well to getting the correction they need after years of neglect.

I still leave my glasses places — there are periodically three or four week stretches when I just can’t find my glasses and everyone forgets that I normally wear them. I left them in my backyard in the pouring rain one night and was less than impressed with myself. Another time I left them in the pocket of a coat I never wear. Perhaps I should install a tracking device on them.