Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Glasses as Non-Fashion

I'm wearing glasses today because my eyes have been ridiculously sore recently (long story short: they've been red and watery since Friday, with some improvement over the weekend until Monday night).  My mental image of myself is sans glasses; when I look in the mirror, I'm always quite startled at how I look when I'm wearing them.  And since I'm unused to wearing them at work (just as, three years ago, I was unused to wearing them in class), when I leave the apartment, or when I'm out in public in general, I feel like I forgot to get dressed or something.

I hate wearing glasses.  I'm not suggesting that everyone in the whole world or in all of history also hates/ed wearing glasses, or that they SHOULD hate them.  I, personally, myself, hate wearing glasses.  I just don't like to wear them.  There's nothing about them that could be fixed and then I'd magically like wearing them.

But I have to wear them.  I can't wear contacts ALL the time, and when my eyes are in rough shape, I can't wear them regularly at all.  I don't have the money for LASIK.  Glasses are a necessity.  If I can't find them, I'm frantic.  Again, I hate them.  I do.  But I rely on them.

My contact lens perscriptions are -7 in my left eye and -8 in my right (lenses at these powers don't come in quarter sizes, so when I needed something stronger than -6.5 but weaker than -7, there were no options); I don't know my glasses perscription because it's somewhere in my closet where I stuck it without looking in it.  I wear my glasses for important things (like work or driving) so infrequently that it is a waste of money for me to update them regularly.  My old ophthalmologist insisted that if I updated my glasses, I would wear them more often (he only wanted me wearing my lenses for 10 hours a day--that's never going to happen).  I kept trying to explain that I already knew from past experience that that was not and never would be the case.  Like I said, I don't like wearing my glasses, and it's not something that's going to get fixed.

If you've never worn contacts, or you're just not sure what -7 and -8 mean in terms of my vision, it means that my vision is crap.  I've only met two people in my life who are not legally blind, but have similarly bad vision.  That's not to imply that the next step for my vision, if it were to get worse, would be legal blindness, but to make it clear that there are people with worse vision than I have, but their vision can't be corrected with lenses, and that I've yet to meet someone with worse vision who isn't legally blind.  I often can't see people's faces when I'm not wearing corrective lenses, and I'm usually unable to read the big E on the vision charts.  I have to wear a watch to bed because I can't always read the time on my alarm clock.  When I played flute regularly, I couldn't wear glasses to rehearsals because I couldn't see the baton using peripheral vision (which made for some crappy playing on my part during our wind ensemble tour, when I had conjunctivitis).

So, you know what annoys the crap out of me?  People who don't need to wear glasses (meaning perfect vision; I know people who don't always NEED to wear glasses, but prefer to because it's easier than taking them on and off situationally) who wear glasses as a fashion statement.

That's not to say that fashionable glasses are stupid.  I'd like to be able to see without having to wear really stupid-looking frames.  But when people who don't need glasses wear fake ones, I find it upsetting.

As common as shitty vision is, it's still a type of disability.  I'm not legally blind, but what if I were?  If my vision couldn't be corrected, and it was always like it is now when I don't wear lenses, I wouldn't be able to drive.  I wouldn't be able to work in this lab, or this field.  I'd have to hold reading materials so close to my face in order to read them that I'd go cross-eyed (I just tested this out, by the way; it's unpleasant).  I could use my computer, since I've VERY occasionally used it sans-lenses, but I would only be able to use it for a short period of time, and I probably wouldn't rely on it for anything.

I'm grateful that I'm able to function normally even though my vision is rotten without any sort of treatment.  I am.  But glasses are part of my disability.  It bothers me when people use them as a fashion statement, without any connection to the purpose of glasses or the problems that require them.

Anyway, it just really bothers me.  About as much as it bothers me when I have to wear glasses, like now.  Uuugh.

1 comment:

  1. Totally understand, to a point, I guess. I've needed glasses since I was in the second or third grade. And it was always a need. It was so bad for me that I couldn't recognize faces past about 2 feet, and the big E on the eye chart was unreadable in my left eye, and only mostly readable in my right. Last year it was so bad that my prescription glasses were pretty much giving me headaches and by the end of my work day all I wanted to do was go home and close my eyes to give them a rest. It wasn't until last year that my eye doctor was like "hey, I bet reading glasses would help." Which they did, alot, but it's amazing it took that long for someone to notice how my eyes vibrated (cause every eye doctor did notice) when I read upclose and actually do something about it. So glasses were starting to not work and contacts never worked for me because I was so bad at taking care of them they hurt my eyes more than helped.

    But glasses had always been a part of how I looked. Part of my identity. When I was in high school or in college I never even thought of getting contacts because I hated the way I looked without glasses. And since I got Lasik last November (last ditch effort to get rid of the headaches and tired eyes, which did work thankfully) it's taken me this long to feel comfortable with the way I look in the mirror. I didn't recognize myself for the first month. It wasn't me in the mirror. I've thought about buying glasses with plain glass in them just so I can FEEL like me again. Which, I guess, would make them a fashion statement to you. But they wouldn't be a fashion statement to me, they would be letting me see myself as I see myself again. 'Cause I still feel weird without them. I do still use reading glasses when my eye get tired, since they have weak muscles that won't ever go away. And I got super awesome brightly colored glasses which make me happy.

    So yeah, I can understand. Glasses on the whole suck ass. They are uncomfortable, if the prescription is wrong they give you headaches and you don't always have the money to go out and buy another pair, it's hard to fall asleep while watching tv in them, walking in the rain is a pain, etc. But they were part of my image of how I looked and I do still want a pair to wear even though now I have 20/20 vision. It's like suddenly losing my nose or an ear to me, my face just doesn't look right. So I dunno, I understand your frustration and all, just felt like putting in my two cents I guess. :\

    And I'm liking your blog a lot. Just found it today. Good stuff. :)