My eye doc, a very serious young man who has made me cry before, gave a wary glance as he attempted to ease me into the news.
Young Doc has made me cry by uttering “blindness” and “glaucoma,” so he was nervous about delivering less-than-stellar news. I wanted to see him squirm a bit, not gonna lie. Don’t hate, God ain’t through with me yet.
He cleared his throat and began. “Your distance vision hasn’t changed. You could keep your same glasses, in theory, for driving. And the good news is your pressure hasn’t changed, and there’s no damage to your optic nerve and so far, no true glaucoma. But your close vision has worsened.”
“Do you drive with your glasses on?” he asked.
“Hell no. I see too much that way and get distracted.” I tried this as a joke, but he didn’t crack a smile.
“Really.” He scribbled something on my chart. I felt the scales tip – in his favor. “You should be driving with your glasses,” he said with a heavy sigh. “In fact, you should be wearing your glasses all the time. You have two prescriptions now for your eyes. One for distance vision, and one for close. But because you do so much work on the computer, I’m going to recommend trifocals.”
My mouth dropped open.
Bifocals, he explained, are simply two prescriptions in one set of glasses, and trifocals are three. I thought back to my great-grandmom’s bifocals, heavy glass in lavender frames, with the two little magnifying ovals in the bottom center. She had this over-the-glasses (are you for real?) look, and the through-the-bifocals (don’t make me cut you) look. She constantly pushed her glasses up because the weight pulled them down, and depending on where she focused, her eyes were either huge or owlish. The thick frames hid her face so that when she removed them, she didn’t look like herself. She cleaned them five, six times an hour, huffing moist breath on the lenses and wiping them with the pocket of her day dress. She kept them beside her bed in a wooden box, beside books stuffed with braids of hair that she’d snipped from deceased relatives.
The kids tell me I already have the over-the-glasses gaze. They call it, simply, “the look.” I hate to tell them, but sometimes I’m only trying to focus on them, especially if they’re across the room. My vision is so blurry that everybody looks shorter and wider, less precise around the edges. Type is fuzzy, like it is bleeding onto the page. Even the moon looks rounder, squat and less harsh. I can’t see the dust in the house or the shoes on the floor or the dead cucumbers in the fridge or the deepening laugh lines and sun damage on the face.
It’s like being in an old movie, one that hasn’t been digitally remastered, or like living behind a sheer curtain. Trifocals will make me look like I’m trying to get to the tootsie roll center of the tootsie pop, right?
I picked out Harley-Davidson frames (my third pair of HD) with tiny skulls on the frames, but I called back to change my order. Keep the HD, ditch the skulls, put the logo on the sides, and I want the Transitions lenses.
The trifocals don’t have lines in them, so my owl look is a tad more sophisticated than my great-grandmother’s. The lenses are plastic, not glass, so the glasses aren’t that heavy. Plus, being able to see is sexier than squinting. And I like the way I feel as I’m aging: like the gray hair, don’t mind being called “ma’am,” appreciate getting grown-up service in stores. Trifocals will only add to that.
Besides, if my man Slash can rock the big glasses – I don’t think they’re trifocals, but they’re still big – so can I.
PS – If you have a family history of glaucoma, HBP or diabetes, get yourself an eye exam. The three go hand in hand, and glaucoma, a painless and sneaky condition, is a leading cause of blindness.