I had perfect eye sight until I was around 41 and needed reading glasses. Around ten years later, seemingly out of the blue, I emerged from a plane flight and looked up at a monitor in the airport and realized it was blurry. So as my reading vision got worse, my distance vision (Short sighted? Near sighted? I get them confused) was also getting worse, but not as quickly. About five years ago I was able to make the transition to contacts for distance, but had to put on readers over the contacts to read, and then needed separate distance and reading glasses when I wasn’t wearing my contacts. Also prescription sunglasses as well as my regular ones. Still, if I saw well while driving it meant the details of my dash board were blurry. A light would come on and I would have to pull over and fish out my reading glasses to know what was going on. I became one of those people with glasses all over the house but much of the time I didn’t have the right ones for the task at hand, frustrating family members as well as myself when glancing at a picture on someone’s phone became a epic search for the right glasses. Even reading labels in the grocery store was an ordeal of taking off and on glasses, not to mention finding them in my purse in the first place. I tried “progressives” which are a kind of seamless version of bi-focals, as well as wearing different strength contacts in each eye. Both of these “solutions” just made me feel optically schizophrenic. I felt vaguely but unpleasantly high all the time.
Years ago, at the tender age of 42, I started working with a personal trainer who was fifteen years older than me. He said something about aging which has always stayed with me. “I don’t care that much about how I look as I get older, but I do want to be able to move.” He pointed out that if someone walks with a stoop or has trouble getting out of a chair it doesn’t matter how smooth their face is or how youthfully slim they look in jeans—they seem old. That was the moment when I started thinking about how old I wanted to feel, as much, or more, than look. Turns out that saying was right — YOU’RE ONLY AS OLD AS YOU FEEL.
And my eyes were making me feel old several times a day, not because of the crows feet surrounding them, but because of all the accommodations I had to make just to see reasonably well. But that all changed late last year. My eye doctor told me about a new kind of contact that was coming out, a “multi focal” that reportedly didn’t make users feel like they were swimming under water. She urged me to try them, which I have. Three cheers for medical progress. If you have similar vision issues, GET THESE NOW. I don’t usually recommend specific products, but I will make an exception here. Multifocal Daily Moist 1-Day Acuvue. They are only slightly more expensive than regular contacts and in the long run the money I will save on glasses will more than make up the difference. It has taken a little while for my brain to adjust, mostly to the distance part, and every morning there are a few minutes before things sort of settle and I can see everything clearly. However, once I get past that point it’s, well, a miracle. I have my old (or I guess young) eyes back. It’s life changing in a small but significant way. I can clearly see the board at my local coffee place, take a seat with my latte, glance down and READ the first page of an errant New York Times lying at another table, and then pull out my laptop and work. All without touching a pair of glasses. This makes me, in case you hadn’t figured it out, very happy. And when you’re happy you feel younger. Or maybe when you feel younger it makes you happy? I don’t know and I don’t care. All I know is that I feel positively….thirty eight. And I’ll take it.