Why I Prefer Glasses (To Contacts)

Why I Prefer Glasses
(To Contacts)

Spencer Di Scala
(For the Glasser project)

Throughout my life, I have preferred eyeglasses to contacts. I was not quite sure why until I thought about it lately. Perhaps it was because when I started wearing glasses, contact lenses did not exist, so far as I know, or because I have astigmatism to such a bad extent that contacts did not work for me the one time I tried them at my wife’s insistence. Fundamentally, I think it is because I have an aversion to sticking my fingers into my eyes, which—for some reason I will never understand—my wife does not have. Or perhaps I now think that glasses make a cool fashion statement, something that I would never have believed when I was young. Whatever the reason for my strong aversion to contacts, however, there was an event that confirmed my antipathy for them and allowed my preference for eyeglasses to remain supreme.

About fifteen years ago, my ophthalmologist referred me to Mass Eye and Ear to check with a specialist because he saw a spot that he believed might be cancer of the eye. Naturally I was worried about this possibility. I immediately made an appointment with the doctor he referred me to. His office told me to bring someone to drive me home because my eyes would be dilated and I would not be able to drive afterwards. My wife came with me to drive me home.

When I saw the doctor, it took him about 15 seconds to determine that the spot was not cancer—and he did not have to dilate my eyes. My wife and I were very happy as we walked back to the car during a cold, windy day, chatting about how lucky we had been. In the garage our car was parked outside. When we pulled open a creaky old iron door to get to the car a gust of wind blew caught us. My wife let out a scream of pain and covered her eyes. The pain was so severe in one of her eyes that we had to turn around to run back to the doctor’s office hoping to reach it before it closed.

To make a long story short, she was wearing hard contact lenses and the wind carried a speck of dirt into her right eye that got lodged under the lens and scratched her cornea. She had to undergo an examination, came out of the office wearing an eye patch. It was lucky I was there because I had to drive her home.

I know that now there are soft lenses, and wind-blown particles get under them much less than they used to—if ever. I know that there are new kinds of lenses that correct astigmatism. I know that they are much more comfortable. But try as they may, no one has been able to convince me to try wearing contact lenses again!


It was a lot of fun to have read the various stories that have been shared here regarding our love/hate relationship with our eyeglasses. Each story being as unique as the eyewear chosen in developing that relationship.

Whether you love them or hate them, the fact is, just about every one of us during our lifetime will need them; be it either to help us see things clearly in the distance (Myopia/Hyperopia), which usually occurs when we are younger, or to help us see things clearly close up (Presbyopia), which usually occurs when we are older. I now find myself in that latter group.

Presbyopia affects us older people when we no longer have the ability to see things clearly close up, due to the loss of elasticity of the lens in our eye, (that’s the focusing mechanism of our eye). This is normal as we become older and can be easily corrected with a pair of reading glasses.

I knew for some time that day would eventually arrive for me. When it did, I went and ordered for myself a pair of reading glasses. When they arrived a few day latter, I had them fitted to me. They worked great. I was now able to see everything up close clearly. Glasses off… a blur, glasses on… perfect. Again, glasses off… a blur, glasses on… perfect. Even the smallest of print. Amazing.

However, this was not the first time that I’ve been amazed at how eyeglasses work. In truth, they have always amazed me and at times have seemed almost magical.

They certainly did to me as a young boy returning back to school after my summer vacation. That’s when I noticed my friend Kevin, who was sitting next to me, was wearing eyeglasses. I asked him about them. He said his mother had brought him to see the eye doctor during the summer and was told that he should start wearing them as soon as possible. Kevin said he had a “hard time seeing things far away” and his eyeglasses made everything “really clear”. I was intrigued. I asked him if I could try them on; he said yes, so I did. Needless to say, I couldn’t see anything at all. Everywhere I looked and everything I looked at was out of focus. It was a mystery to me how Kevin could see out of those eyeglasses and I couldn’t… Was it magic?

Little did I know then how that encounter would eventually lead me down the path towards becoming an optician, and as a result, change my life.

As an optician, I see the “magic” working every day, and though I now know the source of the “magic”; it still amazes me.

It amazes me when I witness it working in helping a child, whose vision was so poor, to now be able to see the faces of their mother and father for the first time. It amazes me when I see it working to help a young women, whose vision was so affected by a stroke, correct her double vision and enhance her quality of life. It amazes me when I watch it working to help an elderly man, whose sight was so diminished due to the development of cataracts, to now be able to read again for the first time in years.

Over time, I’ve taken part in a number of situations similar to the ones mentioned above, and have seen first hand how the “magic” has improved people’s lives. Including my own.

I guess it’s pretty obvious how I feel about eyeglasses. Even though that relationship may have developed from a different perspective than most people; nevertheless, they still have had a tremendous influence on my life.

Which makes me think back to that great Lovin’ Spoonful song from the 1960’s, when John Sebastian (an eyeglasses wearer himself), asked for all of us to ponder the question; “Do You Believe In Magic”.

I’d be willing to bet that for many of us who have ever needed the “magic” to help us read a book, watch a movie, drive a car, participate in sports, play a musical instrument, as well as a host of other activities which adds value to our lives each day; that answer would be a resounding…YES WE DO!


I ave had a life long fascination with optical devices and used corrective eye glasses or contact lenses my entire life.. Recently, I was asked to post something about my experiences,. as a contact lens wearer.
At the age of 14, I became a hard plastic contact lens wearer. What I remember most vividly was the instructor who showed me how to insert and remove the lenses. She adamantly drummed into my head the need for fastidious cleanliness when handling my lenses. I am now 67 years old and am still wearing gas permeable contacts. In all the years of wearing lenses, I have never had an eye infection of any type. To this day, I believe it is because of my conscientious and diligent habit of using clean hands before doing anything with me lenses or touching my eyes. The ongoing problems with serious eye infections with today’s contact lens wearers, I am conceived is a result of poor hygiene. It cannot be overstated or emphasized enough that cleanliness is the single most important factory in maintaining good eye health for ANY contact lens wearer.
Hopefully someone will heed my advice.

Henry Rosenthal RDO

Medical Director

I was born in a remote village in the Himalayas. As a young boy, I used to be surprised when my friends pointed far at the distance and counted Yaks on the mountain. I could not see far. I also had trouble reading the letters the teacher wrote on the black board. I used to copy from my friend’s notebook.
When I was fifteen years old I came to Kathmandu. One day, I saw a crowd waiting in front of a rotary club. It was an eye camp where eye doctors from India conducted vision screening tests. To my surprise I could read the small letters on the vision chart when they put eyeglasses in front of my eyes.
I had to wait for my dad to come before I could purchase the eye glasses. It took almost 15 days to reach Kathmandu from my village. The journey included many days of trekking on foot followed by a train ride through the border towns of India and a bus ride from Raxaul to Kathamadu.

When my dad finally arrived and purchased the pair of prescription eyeglasses. I was no longer handicapped. I could see far away objects clearly. The world came to focus and made me a happy person.

Lost at Sea

About ten years ago I joined my husband on a trip to the Greek Island of Rhodes where he was participating in a scientific convention. After a day of indoor lectures and meetings I suggested we go for a swim in the still warm waters of the Aegean Sea. It was close to dusk as we arrived at the beach. I kicked off my flip flops but did not remove my glasses so I could negotiate the terrain and see clearly. I was knee high in water when a wave knocked me down and off came my glasses. Instant panic! I called to my husband for help. He came to my assistance only to be knocked down by another wave and loose his glasses as well. We did not know whether to laugh or cry. After twenty minutes of fruitless searching we returned to the hotel in defeat and wondering how we could function without our glasses. My glasses were mainly for distance and his for reading. We spent the next few hours calling home and to doctor’s offices to get copies of our prescriptions faxed. Luckily the time difference was on our side and miraculously we had our prescriptions at evenings end. In the morning we were waiting for the local optician to open his shop. Where were grateful he understood English as we begged him to have our new glasses ready in four hours when we were due to embark on a sailing trip. He said he would try. Later that afternoon, sporting new, if imperfect glasses, we were just happy to be able to see – never mind the cost, the inconvenience and the stress we were just happy to get our vision back!

Glasses and Movement Don’t Mix

I’ve always had a love for performing, but only movement-based. I never liked listening to my own voice and always had difficultly memorizing lines. Dancing was always easier. Matching movement with music made memorization a simple matter.
When I first started wearing glasses, I was more concerned about the social stigma than any improved functioning. I demanded contacts and wore them religiously to avoid any ridicule. In a desert climate, my contacts would dry out quickly, and I’d have to deal with irritated eyes throughout the day. Little changed when I started high school. Any morning I had woken up too late or too tired to put in contacts was a failure. Arriving at school with glasses was a failure.
But then I joined my school’s color guard team; an activity that met every morning at 6 am. It was hard enough waking up before the sun to get ready for school; I grew tired of having to factor in contacts. It was much easier to just put on my glasses and walk out the door. I started worrying less about public appearance and more about a few extra minutes of sleep. Glasses became my go-to, but I was faced with a new challenge: keeping my glasses whole and in front of my eyes.
For those who may not know, color guard is a performing art that mixes dancing and spinning various props. These props include 6-foot metal flag poles, dulled-metal swords coated in plastic, and solid wood rifles also coated in plastic (I think the plastic coating was meant to lull us into a false sense of safety).
I never wore my glasses during practice. There were too many occasions where I tossed my sword into the air and caught it with my face. I couldn’t feel comfortable having a layer of glass in front of my eyes. Thankfully my nearsightedness was never severe enough that not wearing glasses posed a great threat, but it made me feel like I was constantly trying to see the world through a filthy windshield. Anything more than 2 feet away is fuzzy and beyond 5ft was a complete blur. I was dancing in a world of clouded vision.
Once out of high school I drifted away from color guard and performing, but I kept dancing. I attended social dances, dance classes, and danced the night away at music festivals. I still could never wear my glasses. I had to go back to wearing contacts all day and deal with dry eyes as a result.
Today, I’m not ashamed of my glasses like I was when I first got them in middle school, nor do I think they pose any sort of danger like they did in high school. But now, in my post-college life, I wish I could see the world without glasses, if only because it would be far more convenient.


I have had glasses for over 50 years now. When I lose them (Misplaced is a better word), I always have to stop what I am doing to find where they are. I cannot imagine what people go through who have vision problems. This is one of those great inventions that we take for granted–until they vanish.


I first played Little League baseball at age 11. My batting average was an underwhelming 0.037. Before the next season, my mild myopia was corrected. That year I batted 0.395. Sure, some of it was just being a year older but I think the major cause of the improvement was the glasses. The other memory I have was walking from the optometrist’s office with the new glasses and seeing individual leaves on trees, rather than just a green blur.

On Learning to Wear Glasses


However it happened, eventually
my eyesight waned, lost the crisp
and let the world blur. Edges of objects
grew a certain fur. Details erased easily as chalk.

And in this slack process of loss,
focus stepped away from specifics,
vision relying on bits of internal
reckoning, the stilts of my other senses.

Under a norm of semi-clear, I saw
watercolors lean on memory,
learned how landscapes
never point to individual sufferings.

With glasses I see perhaps too well.
This clarity an intimacy without permission.
Not just the amazement of sudden freckles
or bulging veins, but the entire abundance of particulars.
My eyes off on their own. Loose dogs.

Some times for a reprieve, I remove them.
My hand a wand. The world takes a step back.
As if it were possible to end such scrutiny, pause
the immediate. Then as the routine of glasses
moves between choice and habit, I recognize
how much of this living is an emulsion
dependent on resolve to see beyond a lens.

Previously published in the Manzanita Quarterly (1998-2004)

Camping Story

A friend….lived in a big tent with two other roommates, up in the mountains. One evening she went to the shower tent. She was very near-sighted, but had taken her glasses off to go to the shower. She came back into the tent and found her roommate there, on her side of the tent. My friend started talking to her as she was getting dressed, but her roommate didn’t answer. Finally my friend finished getting dressed and put on her glasses and in the mirror she saw that she was talking to a large but affable black bear, who was looking for snacks in her roommate’s duffel bag.

Glasses are like Alcohol

Wearing glasses is like alcohol. There are different varieties that are all
conveniently placed in an aisle – some looking pretty, some dull, some exotic –
they’re all there, waiting to be purchased….You begin to know what you what,
choosing the drinks that makes you feel good about yourself.
Then, there are the days where you absolutely find some drinks distasteful. The ones you know you never want to touch again, or for a few days at least. At times, your stomach begins to hurt, making you want to stop and take a break. It doesn’t last because you end up forcing yourself, grudgingly.
I’ve been wearing glasses since I was in second grade. Now, I’m in my twenties. I’ve been wearing glasses for nearly two-thirds of my life. Wearing them hasn’t always been fun – sometimes despising them – but now, I can’t live without my glasses. I’ve found the one drink for me after so many years of taste-testing.

Oh Say, Can You See?

Oh say, can you see?

First grade
The school nurse said ‘eye doctor.’
Peering through her own wire frames Mother said
‘She’s too pretty to wear glasses.’
Second grade
Crash! I bump into my sister’s bike.
‘Looks like she needs gl. . . .’
To Daddy,Mother said
‘She’s too pretty to wear glasses.’
Third grade
Empty Easter basket at the hunt.
‘I didn’t see any eggs.’
To the hostess, Mother said
‘She’s too pretty to wear glasses.’
Fourth grade
No homework, again.
‘It was on the board.’
To the teacher, Mother said
‘She’s too pretty to wear glasses.’….
Last night
I’m off to the party
Not missing a thing.
To me, I say
‘I’m gorgeous in my new yellow glasses.’

Give Glasses a Chance

When I was in seventh grade we had some Swimming trainig in School. One time a classmate watched me squinting at the timetable and she said
to me without her glasses she can not read the table as well.
On our way home she advised me to have an eye-exam because she was pretty sure that I`m nearsighted and it would be great if I would join the glasses-club. She was happy to have glasses and wore hers full-time and there was no reason to worry about wearing glasses.
My ma wasn`t really surprised when I told her that I probably Need glasses. She already had the same idea. A few day later I had an eye-exam and was prisribed glasses . I was courios how it would go on and how I could see and how I Wood look with the glasses. It took some time to choose a Frame and I counted the day until my glasses were ready.
I still remember the moment, when the optican had put the glasses on my nose. It was great to have a proper vision now and the new look was uncommon but not bad. He advised me to wear my glasses full-time for the first weeks and he was sure I that I would stay a full-time glasses wearer.
The first day in glasses was the longest day, because everyone asked for my glasses but when this was finished I was happy to be a glasseswearer now.
After a few days I could wear my glasses easily for the whole day and two fine red points on my nose began to show and I was squinting much more when the glasses were off. I thought I was a real glasseswearer now, but they told me that the job is only finished, when I don`t realise the glasses anymore. That Moment came about six weeks after I had got glasses and I felt now uncommon and naked in the face without them. Since that time I hae not spent a single day without glasses.

Finding Glasses in Humorous Places

My son is 11 years old. When he was 2, he was diagnosed with autism and at the
age of 7 he received his first pair of glasses. He was excited and chose a pair he
felt made him look like a spy. They had blue frames and made him look very
Given his diagnosis, we anticipated some challenges. He is quite distracted and as such the glasses have been misplaced numerous times. They have been found in several interesting places. To name a few, we have found them under his bed, in the fridge, in the dog’s kennel and in a bowl of fruits….
Shortly after receiving his glasses, when having a tantrum he would throw them. They were flung across rooms, at people, at walls and once in a pool. This has resulted in having to replace his glasses 5 times in a year.

Thankfully, this behavior was addressed and the glasses are no longer thrown in anger. We do however still find them in humorous places.

Contact Queasy

I was 15 years old and I had been wearing contact lenses for a year or two. It had taken me a long time and a huge amount of effort to become accustomed to wearing them, so I was a little paranoid about the health of my eyes and taking care of my contacts, which were far more expensive than they are now.

While practising for a school play, I had to wear a cheap plastic mask with small eyeholes that curled back towards me face. The edges of this ghastly disguise were narrow and oddly sharp….and at some point my friend and classmate whirled his arms around and accidentally smacked me across the face with his hand. The mask was dragged downwards and the edge of one of the eyeholes hit my eye, hard. When I took the mask off I noticed with slight panic that half of my vision was a blur, and my eye felt horribly uncomfortable. I told myself that the impact had just knocked the contact lens out of my eye, but a quick search of the floor and my clothes revealed nothing.

In slight but sharp pain, I dashed to the bathroom and gazed into the mirror.

There I saw what had happened: a thin black line across my cornea told me that the edge of the mask had done something I would have assumed was impossible: it had cut my contact lens in two, and part of the contact lens was still attached to my eye. Feeling a little queasy, I washed my hands and tried to remove the remaining half of the divided contact lens.

It was only after several minutes of pulling my eyelids up and down, rummaging around, and failing to scrape the damn thing off, that I realised the truth. The contact lens was gone, and I had been dragging my digits across a deep scratch in my cornea.

At the hospital they poured a glowing green goo across my eye that confirmed my suspicions about my injured cornea. I was fine, my vision was not permanently affected, and it only took a few weeks for it to heal.

Misplaced Glasses

I’ve been wearing eyeglasses for most of my life. Astigmatism and near sightedness dictate corrective lenses. Been wearing them for so long I don’t seem to be me without them….
This one day I misplaced my glasses. Then I remembered I had left them in their case in my desk at school. Mom scolded me for being so careless. Well I was in a real fix that evening. Mom wouldn’t allow me to watch TV or do my homework. She didn’t want me to get eye strain. I worried all night what my teacher would say when I couldn’t turn in my homework. Mom wrote a note for the teacher but I still felt stupid and embarrassed.
I never forgot my glasses again. And soon began wearing them all day, except of course in the bathtub or to bed.
About a year later Dr. Olmstead discovered I had lazy eye. She prescribed a patch. I had to wear a black patch over the lens for my good eye to force the lazy eye to work. I hated that patch. Made me feel so ugly. Too bad I couldn’t misplace my glasses then.


I pretended that I couldn’t see to drive at night during my exam to be prescribed glasses that I don’t need. I love wearing my weak, little glasses and fooling the world. I get so turned on by the thought of being tested and getting caught, having my glasses snatched off of my face, and snapped in two at the bridge. Yes, test me with my weak little glasses on- right eye, then left eye, then both eyes. Now have me remove my beloved, weak little glasses and test me- right eye, then left eye, then both eyes. The results don’t make sense! Let’s retest without the glasses again- right eye, left eye, both eyes. Put my glasses on and retest- right eye, left eye, and then both eyes. The examiner has caught me, snatches my glasses, and snaps them in two at the bridge and disposes of them. Catch me if you can!

I’m Going to Miss the Four-Eyed Me

I’m going to miss the four-eyed me. My doc assures me that after surgery, I’ll be able to toss my specs. “You’ll be able to see just fine without them!”
See without glasses? Me? Are librarians even allowed to do that??
Will I be able to throw out my glasses, shed my life-long identity as a four-eyed girl and live non-myopically ever after?
I guess I’ll just have to see.

Glasses are a Part of Me

Sans specs, I’m a total klutz in a world that’s a blur. Reaching for them is the first thing I do each morning and tucking them away in a safe place is the last thing I do before I go to sleep each night. I even wear them when I swim. My glasses are so much a part of me that once, when my son was a baby and I removed them for a second, he gave me a look of pure horror, then burst into sobs. To him, it was as if I’d suddenly taken off part of my face.

I’ve Come to Love Wearing Glasses

I’m a librarian. A reader. I identify as a four-eyed person. I’ve always worn glasses. I got my first pair in the second grade. It was a miracle! The blurry world I’d inhabited all my life suddenly came into focus. I could see the blackboard! I could read street signs! I could actually see facial expressions.
I hated it.
It was the early ’60s, decades before Nerd Pride, when myopia wasn’t cool. The ideal girl was a cheerleader, not a bookworm. There’s a reason why that pop song was called “Brown-Eyed Girl” and not “Four-Eyed Girl.”
My new specs, with their light blue frames and thick lenses, didn’t signal: “Cool! Smart! Fun!” They signaled: “Hey bullies — pick on THIS kid!”….
I was comfortable in my soft muzzy world and my new glasses were ugly, so I only wore them when I absolutely had to.
As I got older, my vision grew increasingly worse. But — lucky for me — glasses got cooler. By the time I hit 7th grade, cheerleaders were on their way out and Hippie chicks with granny glasses were on their way in. Even John Lennon, my hero, wore specs!
These days my specs signal: “Cool! Smart! Appropriate for library work!” And it’s a good thing that I’ve come to love wearing glasses because I couldn’t survive without them. My eyesight, steadily deteriorating for five decades, is now so abysmal that without my glasses I’d walk into walls, tumble down stairs, or, at the very least, knock everything off the bathroom counter each morning.

First Date

Finally he asked for a date!
We went to the library—a safe place
to get to know each other,
sat at a heavy oak table, chairs close together
then opened our books as if to study.

He began staring, leaning too close
and looking through my coke-bottle glasses said
Don’t ever marry anyone who is nearsighted.

I stiffened my back,
glared with myopic vision
through the evidence of my inferiority….

When he called for another date
I pinched my nose and moaned
“Tho thorry, I’m having a thinuth attack”
and hung up the phone!

Four Eyes

By 1967 I’d been wearing glasses about three years. This was way before designers thought there was any money to be made crafting frames for the nearsighted. Pretty much everyone who wore glasses back then looked like a dork. If you already looked like a dork without glasses, then you were really in trouble….

So, one day I’m at Bob’s house and he’s rummaging around in my brother Bill’s forbidden music. He pulls out The Lovin’ Spoonful’s album and places it on the turntable. The next to last song—right before “Summer In The City”—is “4 Eyes.” Bob turns the volume up loud and sings along with the record in a raucous pre-pubescent squeal. How many fingers… ha ha ha, he taunts as he dances around the room.

With each replay of the chorus he holds up a different number of fingers. That was about when our friendship ended and our fortunes diverged, Bob heading upward into borderline popularity, and me joining the sixth grade band.

Public Mishaps Without Glasses

I was only six years old when I flunked an eye test held at the Chicago Public Schools. A week later I was looking through a black contraption with goggles that looked like it belonged on a Russian submarine. I could barely make out the big E on top, much less the rest of the chart, and the result was my first pair of glasses. . . .

But my parents, who had perfect vision, did not like my glasses and thought they detracted from my beauty. They encouraged me not to wear them in public, so I got used to keeping them in my pockets and slipping them on and off. It didn’t matter how often I tripped over things like big dogs or walked into white doors that blended into walls or that I could not see a volleyball much less a baseball in gym class. Junior Prom was particularly memorable when I walked into the band pit. As my glasses got thicker and thicker. I no longer found Mr. Magoo funny at all.

Trick of Sight

I learned a trick in 6th grade to see the board without glasses – pull the corner of your eye back, squash the eyeball a bit and voila, you can see clearer. This trick got me through the next three years. Vanity ruled my young life. Finally, I gave in and got glasses in sophomore year. Learned later in intro to psychology that the nearsighted eye is too long. The psych book never explained that you could fix the problem manually.

Contacts for Teenage Self-Confidence

When I was a shy, bookish fourteen, my two grandmas got together and convinced my parents that if they got me contact lenses, I would have more self-confidence, be prettier, and maybe attract some boys.
Those were the pioneer days of contact lenses. They were hard little discs….
The darn things worked well enough, but my eyes would be suddenly appallingly tearful. The hoped-for self-confidence and beauty were not forthcoming. I was a red-eyed ninth grader with chapped cheeks who blew her nose a lot….
Finally my mother stood up for me. She pointed out that a lot of grown-up married women wear glasses, including some very good looking ones, like Mrs. Parker, the minister’s wife, and my favorite teacher.
I went back to wearing glasses, before school pictures were taken.

Delight in Destruction

I have two older brothers with perfect eyesight who found delight in destruction. A pair of glasses rarely lasted six months. Even so, I remember one pair of glasses especially well. The frames were tortoiseshell-colored. And they saved my life….
We all had our pellet guns with us, so we decided to play ‘war.’.…
We took our positions in the meadow in front of my house and started shooting each other with glee. But four or five rounds into it, I was shot in the eye. The right lens of my glasses popped out with a big chunk chipped out of it. It scared me bad enough that I never touched a gun again until I was an adult. And we never played that game again.
I told my mom that my oldest brother broke my glasses, and he vociferously denied it. But then, he always did, even when he was to blame. The next day, we were off to get another pair. And I got the day off from school.

This is a story of 2 reluctant glassers in Germany

The most striking thing about my glasses seems they are never there when I need them. Recently for example, a library book was overdue and I had been charged a reminder fee. I hurried to the bank to take care of the wire transfer. I approached a confidently looking employee in his thirties, asking for help to fill in the form since I didn’t carry my reading glasses, and wasn’t comfortable reading the small numbers. No problem, he said proudly, I’ll do it for you! But half way down he stopped scribbling, suddenly a confused expression on his face. He ripped the paper to pieces and grabbed a new form. He was still trying to smile brightly when I giggled, I thought YOU didn’t need glasses… The same step was repeated three times, and each time he stopped and started all over. Finally a fourth form got finished somehow, and I was of the opinion this story had come to a good end. Until library staff told me my money had not been received and some figures on my wire receipt were misspelled.. So obviously, I wasn’t the only glasser without glasses, and maybe he had never felt the need to get himself some visual aid, I thought, used to working on screens all day which enlarge everything just as desired. An e-glasser you might say…

Lifelong glasses, no interest in surgery

I don’t really love my glasses… but I don’t hate them either. I have been wearing glasses since age five (I’m told) so I don’t have any memories of not wearing glasses.

They can be a pain in the butt, so if I didn’t need them I would not wear them. Some of the many things that are annoying are:

– 3D movies with glasses over glasses
– sunglasses (lack of)
– motorcycling with yet ANOTHER layer to pick up raindrops
– rain
– fog when it’s cold and you come inside
– exercise when you get sweaty and they want to fall off your face
– dirty glasses
– headphones that push the arms into your head
– headaches from tight glasses

And yet… they are part of me. One of the wonderful things is getting a new prescription after a few years. I remember once when I did this and trees went from being green blobs to having individual leaves (it had been a while).

I don’t know if I would qualify for surgery because I’ve never looked into it. I know others have had good experiences but I don’t want to lose night vision which I currently have and since glasses have been with me as long as I’ve lived… I can’t really imagine life without them.

I always wanted to wear glasses

Many people dread the day they get glasses, for me, it was one of the best days of my life, for it fulfilled a desire I had since I was probably four years old and that was that I WANTED TO WEAR GLASSES!

In my immediate family no one that I was aware of wore glasses except my grandmother on my fathers side and when I was four I was fascinated with her rimless glasses and how they looked and I would get on her side and try and sneak a peek through her lenses and wondered what it was like to wear them. She died when I was five and for a brief time there was nobody in our family wearing glasses, but that would soon change.

That same year, my older sister found out she was nearsighted and needed glasses. At first she loved them, but with each year her vision got a little worse and her glasses got a little thicker and she began to hate wearing them and began playing the poor me card and would pester our parents for contacts, which she finally got in high school. However, my own desire to wear glasses never diminished, but I kept it to myself.

The same year my sister got her glasses I had the first of my school vision screenings, which I passed. Every few years I would be called to the office to read the eye chart and each time I would pass. In 8th grade I began to have problems seeing the board and would have to spend a lot more time trying to figure out what was written on the board. It never dawned on me that I was becoming nearsighted, I just thought the teachers wrote smaller in Junior High School.

When I got into the ninth grade I knew something had changed, I could no longer see the board from the back or even the middle of the class,and struggled to see it from the front row, I also had a lot of trouble seeing at night and when reading the type on the page went from solid black to various shades of gray and it made reading very tiresome. I knew I was getting nearsighted, but during the Summer, I had been diagnosed with a mild social anxiety disorder which manifested itself in making me very shy and self conscious and because of it I was too afraid to show up wearing glasses at school or even tell my parents.

In January, I got my chance to come clean about my eyesight issues. All freshmen were summoned to the nurses office to have their vision checked, when it was my turn I found out it wasn’t just the board I couldn’t see, I couldn’t see a lot of the eye chart either!
I was told a letter would be sent to my parents telling them I would need to see an eye doctor. The thought of the letter coming was worse than just telling my parents on my own, so I found the courage to tell them that night at dinner. They were surprised at the news and asked if I had been having any problems seeing? I told them about not being able to see the board, having problems seeing at night and my problems reading. They asked why I hadn’t said anything to them about it and I told them I was afraid and didn’t want to show up wearing glasses half way through the school year. The next morning my mother made an appointment for the following week for my eye exam.

A week later I found myself sitting in the eye doctors office having my eyes examined for the first time in my life. The exam revealed I was mildly nearsighted and also had a moderate amount of astigmatism. The doctor told my mother and I that my vision was a little worse than 20/70 in my left eye and a little worse than 20/100 in my right eye and I needed glasses. He told me it would be up to me as to how much I wanted to wear my glasses, but I would need to wear them to see the board at school, see clearly at night, to read and when I started driving I would need them to legally drive. He said with my myopia and astigmatism being what it was, his recommendation was that I wear them full time because I was going to need them for pretty much most activities and he was pretty confident once I started wearing glasses I would prefer seeing clearly all the time.

After the exam my mother decided since we had time we would go to the optician my sister used and pick out a pair of glasses. Having no idea what I liked or what would look good on me, this proved to be harder than I thought. The optician had me try on various styles and the one thing I knew for sure was I didn’t like how plastic frames looked on me or felt on my nose, so this left full framed metal, half rimmed or rimless frames to chose from. After trying on an endless number of glasses, I decided on a pair of half rimmed frames that everyone thought looked really nice on me. The optician knowing this was my first pair of glasses and how self conscious I was, told me it would make it easier on me if I told my friends I was getting glasses before I actually got them. Doing this would lesson the shock or surprise when I showed up wearing them, he then took some measurements and told us they would call when they were ready sometime the following week.

When we got home, my father and sister were told the outcome of the exam and that I needed glasses. My sister was actually thrilled with the news since she would no longer be the only one in the family wearing glasses! They wanted to know when I was going to pick them out and we told them I already had and they would be ready sometime the next week. They also wanted to know how I was feeling about wearing glasses, to which I said I was pretty nervous and afraid to be seen by family and friends wearing glasses, but I was also pretty excited to be able to see better. My sister told me not to worry too much because it wouldn’t be as bad as I was imagining: the first time someone would see me would be the hardest, but after only a few minutes they would begin to adjust and wouldn’t care that I was wearing glasses from then on. . She also told me it was important to own my new look and act like it was no big deal and if I could pull it off it would make wearing glasses so much easier the first few days. Just as the optician had done, she also told me to tell my friends.

The next week seemed to go on forever! While I waited for my glasses to be ready, I took the opticians and my sisters advice and told some of my friends the news. They seemed to be a little surprised, but other than wanting to know when I would be getting them, they didn’t really seem to care. As the week wore on I continued to became more and more excited at the prospect of realizing my dream of wearing glasses.

On Thursday while I was at school the call finally came and my mom was told I could come in after school or on Friday afternoon for my fitting. Since she had Fridays off they decided that 3:30 would work. When I got home, I was told the news and we would go right from school for my fitting. I didn’t sleep well that night, It was kind of like waiting for Christmas morning and the next day at school seemed to drag on forever, but the bell ending the day finally rang and I met my mom in front of the school and we were off to get my glasses!

When we arrived, I was told to take a seat at the counter and the optician already had the tray with my name on it sitting on the counter and in it were my glasses. While the optician worked on getting my glasses ready, he was asking me what seemed like an endless stream of questions: Had I told my friends, how was I feeling about wearing glasses? was I nervous, excited or both ? I told him I had told some of my friends, but other than wanting to know when I was getting them, they didn’t seem to really care. I was also both nervous at the thought of being seen by family and friends wearing glasses but excited at the prospect of wearing glasses and seeing better. However, since I had no reference or idea of what it was going to be like I was more nervous at the present time. He then asked if I was ready to experience something I would remember for the rest of my life and with that he slipped my glasses on my face. Oh my god, he wasn’t kidding! I could not believe how clear and in focus everything had instantly become! It was absolutely amazing! I could read anything he had on the walls of the office from any distance and when I took my glasses off much of it disappeared! He asked how they felt and all I could say was WOW! I didn’t realize my vision was as bad as it was! He told me he heard that all the time. He had me go over to the eye chart on the wall and I found out my vision was now 20/13 which blew me away! While I walked over to the eye chart I noticed that the ground didn’t seem to be in the right place and things that I knew were straight of flat looked slanted or bent and I seemed to be walking funny. The optician explained that this was because of my astigmatism correction and it would take a few days for things to begin to look normal again. He told me to wear them full time for at least a week to get used to them and then I could decide how much I wanted to wear them, he too was pretty sure I would end up preferring full time wear once I had been wearing them for a few days because of my astigmatism, he made some final adjustments to make my glasses comfortable to wear, told me to come in anytime I needed to and sent us on our way.

Once outside I was absolutely stunned! I just stood there taking it all in, it was like my eyes had just been opened for the first time. Everything looked so different! It was much brighter and colors were so much more vibrant! It was as if the world had been in monochrome and had just gone into technicolor! I could also see peoples faces from across the parking lot, without glasses I could tell they were people, but I couldn’t tell who they were and now I could actually see their faces! I could also read everything on the stores windows that without my glasses I basically couldn’t see at all and finally, trees no longer looked like green blobs, but had individual leaves and I could also see individual blades of grass on the lawn that surrounded the parking! Wearing glasses was truly an amazing and magical experience and wearing them was better than I imagined. At that moment I didn’t have any fear about being seen wearing my glasses, I was just in my own little world of discovery and being amazed at how clear everything looked and loved every minute of it!

By the time we got home the fear of being seen had reared it’s ugly head and I had become very self conscious about the thought of being seen by family and friends. As we came up to the house, my sister and father met us at the front door and told me my glasses looked really good on me and wanted to know what it was like wearing them? I told them it was amazing how much better I could see, but at the same time I was feeling very self conscious and felt really weird wearing glasses in front of them. They told me that how I was feeling was completely natural, but not to worry about it, I did look different, but not in a bad way and I really looked good in my glasses and had done a great job in picking out frames that really complimented my looks and we would all get used to my new look over the next few days.

Since my sister and I now shared something in common that nobody else in our family did she was a more interested in my experiences of getting glasses and how I was actually feeling about wearing them than my parents seemed to be, so she and I went to her room to talk. The first thing she wanted to know was what it was like the first time the optician put my glasses on me and when I told her, she told me what it had been like for her and our experiences were very similar. She then wanted to know how I was feeling about having to wear glasses? I told her I really liked it and liked how well I could see, but I was also feeling pretty nervous about wearing them to school on Monday morning or even wearing them in front of friends and didn’t know if I could do it. Knowing how shy I was she told me my feelings were completely natural but the best thing to do was just face my fear head on and go down the block after dinner and show a couple of my friends my new look and see what their reaction would be and what they had to say about my glasses. . My sister also told me what I already knew, that she had always felt different and kinda singled out because she was the only one in our family who needed glasses, but now that I too was wearing them, she no longer had those feelings of being alone and welcomed me into the club! I then confessed to her that If I had had it my way I would of joined her a lot earlier because I had always wanted to wear glasses for a long as I could remember and today had actually been one of the best days of my life! She was totally surprised by this and asked me to explain. I told her I had always had the feeling that I was supposed to wear glasses and I had felt that way since I was at least four when our grandmother came to visit and I was fascinated by her glasses and was always trying to sneak a peek through her lenses and the feeling got a lot stronger when she(my sister)got her first glasses and I was actually envious that she got to wear glasses and I didn’t. She couldn’t believe what I had just told her and she told me that my feelings would probably change over time. I told her I seriously doubted it, because I now felt complete in how I was supposed to look!

After dinner I decided to follow my sisters advice and show a couple friends my glasses and see what they had to say about them. It went pretty much how my sister had told me it would go. They were surprised at first but after a couple minutes they began to treat me as they always had. When I got back home my parents and sister wanted to know how it went and when I told them it went really well, they were relieved and wanted to know if I felt a little more at ease wearing my glasses? Which I did. The rest of the weekend went pretty much as my first encounter with my two friends had gone , everyone when they first saw me was surprised at first and then very quickly they adjusted to my new appearance and didn’t care that I was now wearing glasses.! By the time school came around on Monday, I was only a little nervous at first, but although it was the longest day of my life wearing glasses, by the end of the day I had only heard: “YOU GOT GLASSES!” “YOUR WEARING GLASSES?” “WHEN DID YOU GET GLASSES?” as well as compliments on how good my glasses looked, nobody said anything bad about them and it became clear that my wearing glasses was pretty much a non issue. My one major problem in school, not being able to see the board, was now a thing of the past, I had no problems seeing anything written on the board no matter how small it was written or where I was sitting in the class!

Within a couple weeks I had become very comfortable with my glasses and I couldn’t care less who saw me wearing them and since I was wearing them full time, if someone saw me, they were going to see me wearing glasses! I also found that wearing glasses was even better than I had imagined and I really loved wearing them. I also felt my lifelong desire to wear glasses was not just something I thought I wanted to do, it was something I needed to do to complete me as a person.

Wearing glasses had brought with it one major bonus which was totally unexpected. My social anxiety disorder pretty much disappeared and I became much more confident and my extreme shyness was basically gone! When I told my eye doctor about this unexpected development, he told me that he had read some studies and knew of a couple other patients in his practice that this happened to and the school of thought was that wearing glasses made the wearer feel more secure because they felt as though they were able to hide behind their glasses and this gave them the feeling of safety and added confidence because they felt they had a barrier between them and those they were talking to and this was exactly how I felt.
The final thing that needed to happen to make me completely happy wearing glasses was the frame of my glasses needed to disappear. It was constantly in my field of view at all times and I felt like I was looking out of little windows and it was really bothering me! Everyone I knew who wore glasses full time had said it would get to the point I wouldn’t see or know I had glasses on at all! What I wanted to know was when this was supposed to happen? and nobody could give me an answer. Finally, about a month after I got them I was in class looking at the board and my focus all of a sudden changed and my glasses felt like they had just disappeared from my face and it no longer felt as though I had glasses on at all! It actually felt like I was actually looking just beyond my lenses and they had somehow become part of my eyes! Next to the first time I had put them on a month earlier this was the second most memorable moment of wearing glasses and at that very instant I knew I had completely adjusted to wearing them.

I’ve been wearing glasses for years now and still love them as much now as the first day I got them and could not imagine my life without wearing glasses.

Contacts Mishaps

I was 15 years old and I had been wearing contact lenses for a year or two. It had taken me a long time and a huge amount of effort to become accustomed to wearing them, so I was a little paranoid about the health of my eyes and taking care of my contacts, which were far more expensive than they are now.

While practicing for a school play, I had to wear a cheap plastic mask with small eyeholes that curled back towards me face. The edges of this ghastly disguise were narrow and oddly sharp…

At some point my friend and classmate whirled his arms around and accidentally smacked me across the face with his hand. The mask was dragged downwards and the edge of one of the eyeholes hit my eye, hard. When I took the mask off I noticed with slight panic that half of my vision was a blur, and my eye felt horribly uncomfortable. I told myself that the impact had just knocked the contact lens out of my eye, but a quick search of the floor and my clothes revealed nothing.

In slight but sharp pain, I dashed to the bathroom and gazed into the mirror.

-To be continued-

Jonathan Butcher