Archive for March 24th, 2010


Double Vision

   Posted by: Michael Bernier   in Yesterday's Memories

About three weeks ago, my ophthalmologist told me I had finally reached the point in my life at which I needed to wear bifocals. Either it was that, or I would have to start taking my glasses off and putting my nose into the page to read anything smaller than a newspaper headline. After stalling for a couple of weeks, I finally went to the eyeglass shop. They came in today, and I’m wearing them now as I write. The doctor recommended progressive lenses, or “no line” bifocals, and that is what I ordered.

I have to say, they’re definitely different from what I’m used to wearing! On top of getting used to the “distance” part of the lens, I have to adjust to the “reading” part of the lens at the same time. And, because they’re progressives there’s a “transitional” area between the two lens strengths that I have to figure out how to use as well. It usually takes a few days for my eyes to adjust, but this time I think it might take a little longer to get used to them…after all, it’s like wearing two pairs of glasses at the same time.

I’m nearsighted and have been wearing eyeglasses since the 4th grade, which by my count was about 37 years ago. Until now I’ve worn single-vision lenses, which are relatively inexpensive compared to bifocals. Four decades ago, most of the people I knew who needed bifocals were unable to afford them. So, they would go out and get single-lens “prescription glasses” from the eyeglass shop for everyday wearing, and then pick up an inexpensive pair of “reading glasses” from the local drugstore. I suppose to them it wasn’t a problem to carry the second pair around, and switch them whenever they needed to read something.

I tried that only once, many years ago when the eyeglass shop offered me a second pair of glasses for free. I had the bright idea to have the second pair tinted so I could use them as sunglasses. They worked great as long as I remembered to take them with me, which I usually didn’t…and if I had a convenient way to carry them, also which I usually didn’t. In the end, I put them away and didn’t use them.

Since I learned that I needed two different lenses to see with, I have come to admire all those folks who remembered to take their extra pairs of reading glasses with them wherever they went. They certainly seemed to have more discipline and determination than I did. I still don’t have any discipline — but at least I realized I would be better off putting both lenses into one pair of glasses. Now if I can just get used to wearing them…