Wednesday, May 16, 2007

It was bound to happen, I'm sure. I saw the warning signs over the past year, when I kept having to take my glasses off in order to read small print.

I just came back from my optometrist's appointment. I'm about to join the bifocals club.

It was either get bifocals or continue the "take the glasses off" regimen, which is annoying. Plus, the medical insurance does cover progressive bifocals (the ones without the line in the middle), so I can partake of Ben Franklin's invention without it costing an arm and a leg. Welcome to one of the side effects of breathing -- the longer you breathe, the more your eyes change. And eventually, this generates a need for bifocals.

From there, my next challenge became "find a style of glasses that I actually like". This is no small feat, because I find the miniscule lenses in many current styles to be impractical and annoying. Whose bright idea was it to make glasses where the lenses are almost exactly the same size as the wearer's eye? For cryin' out loud! If I wanted lenses that small, I'd skip the glasses entirely and go for contact lenses.

The problem is that I don't like how it feels to have only my central field of vision be covered by the prescription, with ALL my peripheral vision left to its own devices. This is particularly true when I'm out in the sun and relying on either the darkened Transitions lenses, or the lenses plus the matching clip-on sunglass accessory. This isn't a case of being finicky; ever since I got concussed a few years ago, I can't tolerate direct sunlight hitting my eyes anymore -- it's a recipe for a migraine if the sun is in my eyes for too long. It's bothersome to me to have such a small area of my field of vision protected from direct sunlight, yet still have 100% unmitigated glare falling on my eyes from every direction that isn't "straight ahead". (BTW, how can manufacturers claim that their lenses provide UV protection, when they leave more area uncovered than they protect?)

Besides... the first time I had glasses small enough that when I aimed my eyes downward, I was looking below the glasses frame, I darned near broke my neck walking down my front steps. The change in focus when going between "looking through my glasses" to "not looking through my glasses" took some getting used to. How I stayed out of the ER (rather than damaging myself walking on stairs or up/down curbs) is a mystery.

Now that bifocals have become part of the equation, I have even MORE reason not to want glasses with thumbprint-sized lenses. I can't imagine what they'd have to do to segregate two separate areas of such small lenses for distance vision and close-up viewing. The phrase, "logistical nightmare" springs to mind.

Fortunately, I did find a frame that I like. It's small enough to be stylish but large enough to be at least somewhat practical.

In the meantime, I'll just cross my fingers and keep hoping that Styles Change Again, allowing for glasses frames to increase in size. I mean, how much smaller can some of the styles GET? If they shrink any more, people will need to put on a pair of glasses just to FIND their glasses.

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