Bespectacled Weakness

As a man, we generally aren’t very good at admitting that we have weaknesses.

Over the years I have always lived in as much denial as possible regarding my eyesight. It remains one of those mysteries to me. I don’t remember thinking my eyes were “not optimal” during my school years. And yet, for at least the last 10 years I’ve known that my eyes have been poorer than I’d like them to be.

Until a couple of weeks ago, the last time I attended the optician was in July 2003. The last time I’d get a free eye check on the NHS, I thought, optimistically. At the time, the optician said that my eyes weren’t great, and I was slightly long-sighted, but it was no great problem. As long as I was happy with it, I could get away with it.

With the recent eye pain I had been experiencing, I was worried enough that maybe something was going wrong. So it was time to put foolish male pride aside and see if there was something amiss.

The optician was surprised I’d never needed glasses before. While my eyesight isn’t poor, and I could continue to exist without glasses, it’s only now that I realise just how much of a difference that having corrected vision makes.

I type this post whilst wearing my new glasses. I’ve been wearing them for most of the day, and most of yesterday. It really is amazing to discover that the mild astigmatism you’ve been living with all your life has always caused all rays of light to be out of focus. I knew that was the case, but I didn’t realise just by how much.

When I wore them for the first time yesterday, they instantly made black text appear black. The greyish colour of text that I’ve always called black was just what I thought was black. If that makes sense. All of a sudden those sharply focused rays of light were creating true black. All of a sudden, text I could not read at a distance became readable. And last night, I saw the moon for the first time without having to squint to correct the slightly out of focus blurry halo it had around it.

I still don’t know if I am sold on this though. Hopefully it will reduce the eye strain I have been suffering recently, but I think I will stick to just wearing my glasses for when I’m at my computer or reading books. When I tried them out yesterday when I walked through town, I felt very weird. The pavement felt a lot closer than it used to. The refraction of rays around my peripheral vision made the world seem odd. And given that I can see everything anyway, I don’t think it makes sense to wear them all the time.

On the other side, maybe they make me look more interesting. It’s certainly fascinating to me that I can now see detail on my own face, like the pores on my forehead or nose, that I couldn’t see in the past, because in the past the blur across such the area made it appear smoother than it actually is. Perhaps this is not a good thing…

Will give it a couple of weeks and see how I feel…