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2010.05.26 Bifocal Built for Two

posted May 26, 2010, 7:31 AM by Troy Cheek   [ updated May 26, 2010, 8:52 AM ]
When you're an old man with diabetes, every little change you notice in your eyesight is cause for alarm.  This is crazy because, I'm told, that the changes in the eyes caused by diabetes are actually ones that you don't notice.  That's the reason why you need regular checkups.  Otherwise, you wouldn't notice them until it was too late to do anything about them.  With regular checkups, my eye doctors assure me, serious conditions can be caught early and monitored.  You might notice that they don't say anything about actually fixing these serious conditions, just that they can be caught early and monitored.

At one of these regular checkups just a few short years ago, I was asked if I had noticed any changes in my up close vision.  I hadn't.  I was assured that I soon would.  I laughed at this.

I'm not laughing now.

I recently noticed that when reading fine print up close, there was a certain distance at which anything closer was actually in better focus if I took my glasses off.  I caught myself taking off my glasses or looking over the tops to read or work on the computer.  As I'd been making fun of people for years about this, I was quite distressed to find myself doing it.

As I had completely forgotten about the questions concerning changes in up close vision as we get older, I naturally had a complete and utter panic attack at the thought that I was losing my eyesight due to diabetes.  I made an appointment to see an eye doctor.

One of the first things the doctor did was assure me that the changes I had noticed were not caused by diabetes.  This was because, as I mentioned before, the changes caused by diabetes are such that you don't notice them until you're nearly blind.  This was simple aging of the eyes.  In fact, a quick checked showed that my vision at distance was exactly the same as it had been during my last vision test.  Indeed, my existing glasses were found to be exactly the prescription he would have advised had I needed new lenses.

While I didn't necessarily need new glasses, I decided that I could certainly use them.  The old ones were pretty much falling off my face every time I made any sudden movements.  They were also digging in behind my ears, leading me to cock them up at strange angles or tuck the ends up under my hat.  Of course, this made them not sit on my nose correctly, but that did help with the looking over them when reading something up close.

Besides, I'd been in several fights and scuffles and "incidents" while wearing the old glasses at work, and the nice lady at the eyeglass store I used to frequent had made it clear that she didn't think she'd be able to bend them back into shape many more times.  The previous set of glasses had just given up and snapped right down the middle for no apparent reason whatsoever one day.  I think that pair had been bent back into shape one too many times.

Once I'd decided to get new glasses, the question arose as to whether I wanted plain lenses or bifocals or even trifocals.  I didn't care much for the thought of bifocals, as I'd heard those lines are very distracting.  However, I was assured that the new seamless lenses have no noticeable lines.  In fact, the seamless ones blend from one type to another and actually give you a range of corrections.

I also checked out frames.  While there were several on sale and several that were fashionable and several that the girls in the office said I looked very nice in, I picked the ones that, once I put them on, I couldn't tell that I was wearing them.  "They don't look too bad, do they?" I asked.

"No, they don't look too bad," I was told.  "They look quite nice.  That style is quite fashionable.  They were all the rage two or three years ago before they were discontinued."

I decided since I was going full out, I'd even get the lenses that tinted themselves when exposed to bright light.

They were going to have to send off to have the glasses made for me.  At their request, I gave them several phone numbers so I could be reached just as soon as the glasses came in.  Then it came time to pay for them.

Once the total was totaled, there was a bit of sticker shock.  After the insurance and discounts were applied, it was still a bit more than I had on hand in cash.  Luckily, I had my "go to" credit card in my wallet for just such an emergency.  A year or so before, I'd gone through all my credit cards and picked out the one which had both the highest limit and the lowest interest rate.  I kept this one for emergencies and necessities and whatnot.  I'd been slowly paying off and canceling all the rest.  I whipped out my "go to" card.


I had them try it again.


I paid with one of my other cards, which luckily I hadn't canceled yet.  I left the doctor's office mumbling to myself in confusion.  Once home, I called up the credit card people, chose menu options at random, never managed to speak to a real human being, but did eventually determine that my credit limit on that card was a tiny fraction of what I thought it was.  I dug out my old statements and discovered that the limit had been reduced a year or so before, right around the time that I decided to make this my "go to" card.  Apparently, paying off and canceling other cards is bad for the limits on the cards you keep.

Working this out took several days, whereupon I realized that I hadn't gotten the call about my new glasses yet.  I called.  "Oh, yes, Mister Cheek.  They've been here for a while.  We were wondering why you never came in to pick them up."

"Because you never called me."

"Why would we call you?"

"To tell me the glasses were ready to be picked up."

"But we just told you."

Since I was fighting off a sudden migraine headache for some reason, I let my oldest nephew, N1, drive me down to pick up the glasses.  They were everything I had hoped they would be.  Well, except for how they felt on my face.  I had chosen those frames specifically because when I put them on, I couldn't feel them.  Since that time, the frames had been properly adjusted to fit my face.  Now, they pinched me behind the ears just like the old ones did.  After several adjustments, they felt much better, but I've never recaptured the way they first felt.

Now, I'd like to tell you stories about headaches and dizziness and falling down flights of stairs because of the new bifocal glasses, but I'm afraid I didn't suffer from any of those things.  I didn't even need the two weeks that the eye doctor said to give the glasses before I gave up and let him replace them with plain lenses.  I needed about 20 minutes.  It didn't take any time at all before I discovered the proper head bob maneuver to get things into focus no matter how far away they were.

I did have a tiny bit of nausea there at first, but I was also riding in the back seat with my 16 year old nephew driving. Unless new glasses can also cause urinary incontinence, I don't think I can blame this on the glasses.