Homer's Travels: Those New Bifocal Blues

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Those New Bifocal Blues

I got my first pair of glasses back in 1977 (± 1 year ... it's been a long time).  I wore them continuously for twenty-nine years.  I can't say I loved wearing glasses but they helped me see and twenty-nine years is a long time to get used to having a  minor inconvenience sitting on the bridge of your nose.  My lenses were thick and heavy.  The bridge of my nose would get sore and sometimes rubbed raw.  The glasses would fog up in the winter time.  I wished I could get rid of them but without them I could not see.  I eventually learned to live with them and these annoyances became inconsequential.

In 2005, after a lot of thought and a quite a bit of hand wringing, I decided to do something about it and on January 6, 2006 I had LASIK.  I was nervous about it.  The idea of someone reshaping your cornea by burning off layers with a laser seems a tad bit risky.  All the paperwork you signed before hand tried its best to change your mind delineating all the possible risks and explaining just what could go wrong during the procedure.

I sat in the chair anyway and, yes, there was a smell of burning flesh when you heard the click-click-click of the laser firing.  It was quick and painless.  They told me to come back the next day for a check.  When the Wife said she wasn't available to bring me back they said "Don't worry.  He can drive himself."  They were right.  After a drug assisted night's sleep with plastic cups protecting my eyes, I woke up to a crystal clear world.  The complications that were warned about - dry eye and degraded night vision - never materialised and my eyes were completely back to normal in two to three weeks.

I was very happy with the results but I knew they were only temporary.  First off my near vision which had been very good was already a bit blurry after LASIK.  This was to be expected.  Over the next five years my near vision got progressively worse.  This too was expected as it is a result of aging - we tend to become more farsighted as we age.  I'd hope to put it off as long as I could but it started to bother me when I read ... my arms weren't long enough and the type wasn't big enough.  I went to my eye doctor and after the exam she said the dreaded word: Bifocals.  I put it off.  I bought reading glasses.  They worked.  But, over the last three years even my far vision has degraded ever so slightly.  This week I gave up and bought my first pair of bifocals.  I don't like them.  No sir.

I've been wearing them for three days which, I know, isn't very long but I am having a tough time adjusting.  Apparently when I'm looking far away my nose is slightly elevated which throws off the focus.  When I'm reading, apparently, my nose isn't high enough.  Not only that but I seem to have a strange tilt to my head and I find the right or left side of my vision is in focus while the opposite side is blurry.  I don't even try to wear them when I'm at the computer.  I've been spending a lot of time wobbling my head around trying to line up the letters on the page, my eyeball, and the correct part of the lens.  Who knew my head was so out of kilter.

It's amazing how eight years of no glasses has really altered my perception of glasses.  All those inconsequential annoyances have resurfaced with a vengeance.  It's like they were saving themselves up the last eight years waiting for the opportunity to pounce.  I suppose it feels that way because of my inexperience with bifocals.  I just hope I can get used to them soon.  Not sure if my tough time adjusting to the bifocals are the glasses or the fact that they remind me that I'm aging.  The LASIK gave me a chance to ignore that fact for a few years.  Now it's back to reality time.


  1. Sounds like you are having a time adjusting to bifocals.....The only thing I had trouble with was going down stairs......but caught on fast. After a couple of weeks and still having trouble, I would go back and have them rechecked....Ernie had to do that one time and the glasses were wrong. Good luck.

    1. Mom: I thinkthey are probably correct ... it's me that off a bit ;-)