Escape your life for a little while — come play in mine.

There are none so blind . . .

Posted by Lissa on March 11, 2009

. . . as those who need glasses. Big-time.

Jay G’s son took the big step today of getting his first glasses  — hooray!

Like The Boy, I too was eight years old before we discovered that I was blind as a near-sighted little pony-tailed bat.

UNLIKE The Boy, I was a sweet, angelic, well-behaved (translated: thoroughly priggish) teacher’s pet, so I was always in the back of the classroom. Not only was I unable to see the board — I didn’t know we were supposed to read the board. I was both jealous and ashamed that, unlike my classmates, I needed to hear the lesson more than once.

When you’ve never had good vision, you don’t REALIZE that you have bad vision. I assumed that all my friends memorized the lesson plan; it never occurred to me that they could SEE it while still in their seats. I assumed that grass was always meant to be seen as a smudge of green around one’s feet. I assumed that, when looking up through tree branches, one was supposed to see a brownish blur.

You may be interested to know that I still managed to pass the required eye exams given at my (excellent) elementary school. And it wasn’t my doctor who figured out I couldn’t bloody see. (Though I hope they would have figured it out sooner or later!)

Instead, my discovery stemmed from serendipity:

My mother, my sister and I went out to a mall to go clothes shopping one night when I was eight. While digging in her purse for her keys, Mom casually asked me what time it was.

“How would I know?” I asked, puzzled.

“Look up at the big clock up there and tell me,” she murmured back, still rummaging through her bag.

“Oh, come on Mom,” I scoffed with pretentious eight-year-old scorn, “I can’t read that.”

Her head snapped up.

“The clock, Lee. Right there, above Dress Barn. You can’t read that clock?”

“What?” I was genuinely confused. “You can see the hands from here?”

Horrified, my mother whipped her own glasses off her face and shoved them at me. “Try these!”

With both hands, I perched the glasses on my nose . . . and was AMAZED. “Omigod Mom! I can SEE!”


Anyway, I went to the eye doctor within the week and ended up with a brand-spankin’-new pair of glasses. I spent the first few weeks walking around like an idiot — I couldn’t stop staring at my feet, at the sky, across the street, down the block. I was gobsmacked — in a good way — that I could stand in a field and see individual blades of GRASS. (Please note that I walked around like an idiot before my glasses, too — I always had my nose in a book and really did walk into lampposts and trees.)

Of course, as a direct result, I broke my glasses about once a month. (Thank GOD my mom had bought the broken-glasses-policy; they replaced ’em for free that first year. I only went through, oh, eight pairs of so.) But the idea that I would take them OFF in a playground? Be unable to see people and balls and birds, for fear of breaking my specs? Oh hell no. I wore them while running, and playing, and wrestling, and climbing monkey bars; I wore them to sleep sometimes.

(A fun sidenote — turns out my sister was pretty blind, too, though not as blind as I was and am. But she started borrowing my glasses as soon as I brought them home, which got her shlepped to the eye doctor, which resulted in her OWN set of glasses. Which she rarely wore, because she was too vain, but that’s another story.)

By the way, Mike has perfect vision. (The b*stard.) One of his parents is far-sighted and the other is near-sighted, but he and his sister have perfect vision. So do Lil’Bro1 and Lil’Bro2, for that matter, and both of their parents are near-sighted as hell. Hmph.

Anyway — congratulations to The Boy. A whole new world is opening up for him . . .

P.S. I lust after Lasik. WANT WANT WANT.

5 Responses to “There are none so blind . . .”

  1. Jeff said

    I had a similar revelation when I was about 10 or so. I remember marveling at being able to see individual tree branches.

    I lusted after LASIK for a while, but the more I read about the procedure, the more it terrified me. Here’s a bit from wikipedia:
    “A corneal suction ring is applied to the eye, holding the eye in place. This step in the procedure can sometimes cause small blood vessels to burst, resulting in bleeding or subconjunctival hemorrhage into the white (sclera) of the eye, a harmless side effect that resolves within several weeks. Increased suction typically causes a transient dimming of vision in the treated eye. Once the eye is immobilized, the flap is created. This process is achieved with a mechanical microkeratome using a metal blade, or a femtosecond laser microkeratome (procedure known as IntraLASIK) that creates a series of tiny closely arranged bubbles within the cornea.[7] A hinge is left at one end of this flap. The flap is folded back, revealing the stroma, the middle section of the cornea. The process of lifting and folding back the flap can sometimes be uncomfortable.”

    Thanks, but no thanks. I have extended wear contact lenses and love them. 90% of the convenience of LASIK, no scary surgery.

  2. Jay G. said

    Awwww. I’m a muse!

    Does this mean I gotta wear tights? ‘Cuz no one wants that. Trust me…

  3. Brad K. said

    I thought glasses were great, when I got them in fifth grade. Now I could read a story book on the 45-85 minute bus ride to and from school. About 10th grade, though, I noticed that my glasses kept getting dirty a lot – and then they didn’t do me much good, so I got in the habit of not wearing them. By the time I enlisted in the US Navy I tested at 20/20. Back in 1993 I had my eyes checked – slight astigmatism, they didn’t recommend glasses for a prescription that mild. I got them anyway, for driving at night. I was commuting across Philadelphia (King of Prussia, PA to Campden, NJ) at the time, and wanted all the edge I could find. I still keep a pair in the car. Right next to the recorder. (I only play while waiting in line at McDonalds and long red lights. It makes other drivers nervous if I play while driving. Or reading. But that is another story.).

  4. I also had a similar experience. I was at a swim meet in High School and a friend was reading the rules posted on the far side wall of the pool, and inventing a few rules (like “no fishing”) When I said “It doesn’t REALLY say that?” he was amazed I couldn’t read the large letters, and let me borrow his specs.

    DAY-UM I could see! I had no idea I should expect such things from my god-given hardware.

    I still remember walking through the woods after I got my first pair marveling how I could see EVERY leaf on a tree!

    Also because I have astigmatism, I suddenly had reliable depth perception and my net game in tennis became badass Over night!

  5. I was like you, in that I discovered my blindness late, around 6 or 7, IIRC. I never knew others could see. I did the glasses/contact thing until I was 24 or so. I had Lasik surgery, and went from 20/900 to 20/15. At the time I had my surgery, they were unable to correct astigmatism, so I still have a small bit of blurriness without lenses, but it only affects driving in that I need glasses to aid in reading street signs. I can drive without them, but I prefer to have them if I am going somewhere unfamiliar.
    Lasik changed my life, no joke. The best thing I ever did for myself.

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