Age Before Beauty

For a year or so, I have been having this odd problem with my eyesight. My vision will get “jiggly”, and I can’t focus. It feels exactly like nystagmus. If I shut my eyes and shake my head, it goes away for two or three seconds, but then comes back. It only happens when I’m really tired, and driving. It happens more often at night (though I tend to be exhausted and driving more often at night) but will happen in the middle of the day, too, if I’m tired enough. As soon as I relinquish the wheel – whether because I’ve arrived, or someone else is driving – the problem goes away.

I finally got irritated enough by it to go see the optometrist. I do have a prescription for glasses, but I never wore them, because they gave me a headache. I explained the whole story to the optometrist while she checked whatever it is she was checking, and we found out something interesting…

Apparently, my eyes are continually hyper-focusing, trying to compensate for having an astigmatism in one eye and not the other. The prescription I had is accurate when my eyes are overcompensating, like they usually do. She anesthetized my eyes and rechecked my prescription, and it was completely different. Her theory is, my eyes do the “jiggly” thing because when I get that tired, my eye muscles can’t compensate for the difference as quickly (or anymore), so the adjustments slow down far enough that I perceive them.

She recommended that I try the “at rest” prescription, at least while I’m driving and reading. Maybe my eyes won’t have to work as hard, and maybe the situation will improve or resolve. That made sense to me, so I filled the prescription and picked  up my new glasses yesterday.

I will say, I see differently with the new glasses. Things aren’t necessarily clearer, but if my eyes were a camera, I’d say I adjusted the focal length. I look 3 inches taller to myself when I look at the ground, and the depth of field is clearer overall. It’s like I was looking at everything at 55mm, and I’ve suddenly gone to a wide angle. Whatever it is, the difference is subtle but definitely there .

When I was a kid, I desperately wanted glasses. I lied about how well I saw things at the optometrist, hoping I’d get a pair. Once I got over that phase, I still wanted glasses… I like them. I think I look better with glasses than without. I haven’t worn them, despite having a legit prescription, for most of my adult life because they weren’t worth the headache.

Now, apparently, I’ve hit the ‘getting old’ milestone where I need special reading/driving glasses. Good grief. At least my kids are big enough not to rip them off my face, anymore (usually).

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One Response to Age Before Beauty

  1. There are certain times of life when it’s better if we do not see too clearly. Every time I look into a mirror, for example. Hope the new prescription cures your jiggly eye issue when driving, though. Always best to see obstacles in the road.

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