I’ve been disappointed in my eyeballs of late. I think they’ve let themselves go.
It isn’t any one thing. It’s a bunch of things.
They do amazing things with prescription lenses. You have portions that you look through to read a book. Portions to see the computer. Portions to identify the hawk in the distance. Little sidecars up top for your mind’s eye. A fold-out bit for examining your conscience (optional for Republicans). Used to be your eyeballs did all that by themselves, but now that they’ve let themselves go, your glasses have had to step up.
And they’re still not enough. I have trifocals and still can’t read sheet music from the piano bench. So I got special piano glasses. And they never worked. I could see the top staff but not the middle one. I could see the bottom line if I held my glasses out a half-inch, which isn’t practical. I thought about wedging a tampon on the bridge of my nose. Theoretically I could just yank on the string when I got back up to the top line and reinsert the tampon on a held note.
It wasn’t suitable for every piece.
And then my regular glasses came up short. I found myself peering over the top to read and having to take a step back from friendly people to get them in focus. My prescription was only a year old, so I just put all this down to old eyeballs. I figure parts of my eyeballs were petrifying and other parts were going slack like the skin on my inner thighs. Maybe my eyeballs had gone squishy too. Didn’t have enough structural integrity to hold a pose, and the lenses went rigid just to try to restore order. Throw in some elaborate floaters and it’s like seeing the world through soup. Also, the last time I was at the optometrist’s, he said I had a little cataract but there was no plan to discipline it until it was a teenager.
What the hell. I went in again, and this time I also measured the distance between my eyeballs and the sheet music. “Twenty-one inches,” I told my new doctor, and she made a note of it, and didn’t just assume some standard middle distance like the old doc probably did. I didn’t hold out much hope.
But I will be damned. I can see the music now. I can see GRACE NOTES! Grace notes are teeny tiny notes that the composer puts in out of a general lack of commitment to the real notes. They’re like the real notes’ pets. Now I can see their little noses and tails.
The optician placed my new trifocals on my face and asked how the distance was. I looked out the window at the newly crystalline West Hills and gave him a big thumbs-up. Then I read the teeny tiny print on his card. Then, because I had no idea how my glasses looked on me because I couldn’t see myself when I tried the frames on, I turned to the mirror EEK EEK a foot away EEEK. I still don’t know how they look. All I saw was my actual face EEK the way it apparently has been for a while. It was clear as hell. There was a dried-up mudflat cracking into plates, strands of gravel, a network of arroyos and drifts of rabbit-brush and prickly pear, lizards sunning themselves, tortoises lumbering through dry canyons. Pulled myself away just before the Lunar Rover hove into view.
“I see fine,” I told the optician. “They work way better than the old ones.”
I’m not saying that’s a good thing.
Oh my god. Oh my god. Yes,this very thing is occurring on my side of the country, too. Shocking and scary. Usually only happens when I remember to pluck eyebrows or check for nose hairs, which is not too terribly often. It is so unfair that other people, including hundreds of students, have to look at the reality of my face everyday, but at least it remains a pleasant blur to me.
That is actually the thing I recite to myself. Nobody seems to be running away screaming, so I guess everyone's used to it.
I wear multifocal contacts, and I had problems with the prescription a while back: If I could read with them, I couldn't read road signs until I was already on them. If I could see road signs with the prescription, I couldn't see the computer well. How did the optometrist solve this? She adjusted one eye's prescription for closer things, and the other eye's prescription for further things. Together, I can see well for just about any distance. I do need reading glasses for really small print, but then, who doesn't? I certainly see better with them than I do with the glasses I wear after I take my lenses out. I have to perch them on the bottom of my nose to see the computer clearly and take them off entirely to read a book. But I can see the TV with them.
I hear you on the floaters. Apparently, as one gets older, the eyeball detaches from the retina (which isn't a detached retina, but still sounds scary). It happened in my left eye last year, and was presaged by a flash of light in my peripheral vision that lasted about a day, and produced more floaters, some of which had the decency to go away, but not all of them. One in particular looks from inside my head to be a tiny drop of oily film. I usually only see it in bright light, and can make it go to the side by tilting my head, but who wants to walk around like that all day? So I deal with it. I hate aging.
Lucky you. I have had the flashes in my right eye for over eighteen months now. I can only see them in dim light, but they are disconcerting. Not least because my father's retinas DID detach (both on the same day).
I have more floaters, but none like you describe. My Legacy Set came from a single day. I remember it. I was in the back seat of the Studebaker and turned around so that I could stare out the back windshield. (Seat belts? Hah! We spit on your seat belts.) I stared straight into the setting sun because the blue afterimage resonated against the yellow sun and it was really interesting. To this day my floaters are distinct spheres, some of them with trailers.
Our vision is not something with which we wish to mess around; but, some of us have worn corrective lenses for so long that we feel naked without that weight on our nose. Thirty years ago, I had to really wrestle with the glass-making folks to get my dedicated computer glasses with the correct prescription. Now, my eye doc just includes a separate listing for the correct prescription – at 40 inches.
Floaters? It seems they've been with me my whole life; however, the biggest, baddest one is detritus from the laser surgery required for a secondary cataract. When I am reading, it will occasionally settle into such a position that (since it is in my left, dominant eye) I can't see to read.
Mimianderly is fortunate that the one-eye far, one-eye near approach works for her. When I wore contacts (1963-1993) I couldn't tolerate having a difference of only 1/4 diopter between the two lenses. Well done!
P.S. I'm not sure that I could pick my own face from a line-up. Fortunately, I am skillful at ignoring mirrors.
I was eight when I got my first pair of glasses. Got contacts at age fourteen, the hard icky kind. Switched to gas-permeable hard ones. Got the two-different-focal-lengths at age forty. Decided to get eyeglasses at 57 because my eyes were dry and I wanted to be able to take out my contacts at home. The glasses were so comfy and worked so well I never put in the contacts again.
As you can imagine, in 1963 all lenses were hard and not gas permeable; however, I coveted them for the advantage they gave me when I was flying. Contacts gave me better peripheral vision and better depth perception – which I never understood. In about 1983, I was able to switch to soft lenses. I no longer remember why I stopped wearing contacts – perhaps because I had returned to windy Kansas?
That would be an excellent reason. I really don't miss those minor dust storms.
I tried the two different contacts, one for close, one for distance, and I could see fine, until the exact moment that my brain said out loud so I could hear: Wow, I can see just fine like this! Then I couldn't. I gave up and went back to glasses.
One good day, huh?
You can see clearly now the schmutz is gone!
Well, I can see the schmutz too…
Popped in from a mutual friends blog, glad I did. I've worn glasses since I was in the 4th grade, distance way back then needed corrected. Then I had a prism for awhile…2 pairs of glasses because they said I was too young for bi-focals. Then I got tri-focals. Still sometimes had issues…I have a very small face and if glasses/frames aren't properly sized it's an issue and actually changes your prescription. I've picked out frames which have been an issue because the person helping me was clueless. But, now I know. Got my last 3 pairs actually at Costco's with the script from my eye doctor. Got 3 pairs cheaper than one would have been at the doc's office. Eye floaters…had them just this morning, as a matter of fact. They come and they go. Getting old isn't for sissy's. Swing by for a visit, always fun to meet more blog friends.
Hi Sandy! I hear that. My face is also small and my eyes are small and it does make a difference. I remember picking out a group of likely frames and bringing them to the optician's desk, and he glanced at my face and immediately set aside 3/4 of them. Too big.
Some companies make the same frame in at least two sizes, so one may sometimes order the smaller size. At least, I did that once!
Eyes make me squeamish. My son had to have a vitrectomy which scared the crap out of me. He had developed a stationery floater, yeah, yeah, oxymoron. He survived it well and got his pilot’s license back, but his mother nearly didn’t make it.
I've been waiting for several years for my largest floater to become stationary so it can be zapped with a laser. Unfortunately, it just keeps floating about.
I did not know floaters could be stationary. Huh.
Usually, they do not become stationary and surgeons tend to shy away from aiming a laser at a moving target.
"…the real notes' pets." Oh yes, I'm going to use that just as soon as possible in our next Baritone sectional rehearsal!
Don't you wish you could Ctrl+ [Command+ on a Mac] the real world to enlarge it as easily as you can the monitor? (Or did I just teach you a new trick?)
No, I'm onto that one!
omggg you taught me something. And then I control minused it! Thank you!!
Control-zero sets everything back to default, so you don't have to remember how many pluses you hit. Glad it helped!
Well, shoot, I never even thought about reading music being a problem now that my eyeballs are all rigid. I've been thinking of taking up piano again as soon as my husband stops using it as his office and gets rid of the mountains of paperwork on it and the bench. Maybe I should put that idea on hold.
I had those semi-permeable contacts back in the 80s also, but, yeah – too scratchy. After cataract surgery, with prescription implants, I'm not totally blind anymore. I still need correction, but glasses are fine with me. Sometimes I think about how lucky we are to live in a time when we have such a thing as corrective lenses.
Yeah, I don't think I would have lasted long in the wilderness with my vision. At least I wouldn't see what was going to pounce on me. And you absolutely should take up piano again. Those things are important.
And to your point about being able to see scary things with proper correction – yes. Yes I feel your pain. I use a super-close-up mirror to tweeze, and I'm always glad when that part of the day is over 🙂
I have two chin hairs I tweeze, and not because they're visible–it's more of a compulsion. I can FEEL them.
Had cataract surgery, both eyes, several years ago. The ophthalmologist talked me into whatever it’s called when one lens is corrected for reading and the other for distance. It took my brain a year to sort this out to “normal.” I ordinarily push my brain a little harder than it likes, so it rather resented the additional burden and dug its heels in, so to speak.
Your brain would like to park it in the recliner every now and then like anybody else.
My most recent readers have big,round frames as I find it annoying to see sections of frame in the peripheral. Face-on?? I probably look like a dorky geek.But I can read, floaters and all.(Still can't read music )
I guess piano glasses do not, in and of themselves, allow you to read music.
Fascinating that no one mentions progressives, Can't stand them myself, everything equally out of focus, all just a little bit. Still making do with bifocals even though the eye doc has threatened me with tri's.
My mom used to tell the story of bringing me home from the doc with glasses when I was 5 years old, me exclaiming in the car "so that's a cow!" And her muttering "should have got them for him sooner".
I've used progressives for 20-30 years and find them fabulous. Different strokes….
I remember the first time I put on glasses. I really didn't understand that you could see individual leaves on a tree. They had all gone lollipop by then.
I've been putting off getting new glasses because they never seem to get them right. They seem to think everybody read a book or newspaper by holding it up at eye level in front of their face. And I need to be able to focus on the screen in front of me, plus the book off to the left down on the table and the crossword puzzle off to the right, also down on the table. So I've been avoiding the reminder emails for about a year now, but I'll have to go soonish. I used to read the blogs at a 60cm distance, now I'm leaning in to about 40cm or enlarging the screen.
It really is a joy when they get it right. Maybe if yours were wrong it was because of one of those things I said–the particular distance you were going for is a little different from standard (so measure your computer distance and give them that number). Or, your eyes are closer together than most people's (or farther apart) and the optician doesn't take that into account.
Murr, In the future *please* post a warning that your readers should empty their mouths before reading beyond your post title. Okay, I should have known better but that picture of you with a tampon stuck on the bridge of your nose was just about the death of my MACbook. Raspberry smoothie is damned hard to clear out from between MAC keys. The screen wasn't too hard but the keyboard is going to be a mess for weeks.
Sadly I'm in the same boat re glasses. (I don't know mirrors, I soaped them ages ago.) I've had both bi-focal and tri-focal progressives – hated both – everything was out of focus. I now have two different pairs of bi-focals. I wanted contacts at one point but the optometrist said, "'You people's' eyeballs are too flat, contacts won't stay in place." ('You people'?) He told my son the same thing, but he looks like he has Asian ancestry, so I assume that's what the optometrist meant. I have an Asian (Nepalese) 5th g-grandfather but that seems a bit far back to affect the shape of my eyeballs. I wish I'd known about your tampon trick then. I could have just stuck a tampon in each eye to hold the contacts in place. Too soon old and too late schmart. Anyone know how to clean keyboards?
I'm recommending against sticking a tampon in each eye. Maybe a mini-pad.
And suddenly Google removes my picture and makes me look like a stalker. Without my glasses I just have to braille my way around so I may well feel my way around you. (Har!)
You are not alone. All this and more is going on with my beloved and very hard-working orbs. Plus, now I can see my pulse beating in a stripe across my left, dominant, formerly "good" eye. I have to actively ignore it so I don't lose my sh-t. But sometimes it's hard not to lose my sh-t, especially when I can't see sh-t.
Julie, that sounds similar to what happened to me last year. It's the vitreous membrane shrinking and pulling away from the retina, which is another one of the glorious accompaniments to aging. Scared the shit out of me until I looked it up, but I saw my eye doctor because tears in the retina are always a possibility. She told me that this shrinking is more common with near-sighted people, that the flashes should go away when the shrinking away is completed, but that the floaters will probably stay around, but be a little less severe.
Good luck; I hope the flashes go away soon. ((hugs))
Man, I don't think that was very reassuring!
Ah, well, it's not a very reassuring age, either personally or as a species. "Reassuring" is a relative term, and has become a pretty low bar to limbo under.
My most recent readers have big,round frames as I find it annoying to see sections of frame in the peripheral. Face-on?? thanks
I had been diagnosed with a cataract in my right eye, but suddenly in January during the time my Dad was very ill, in hospice care, and then passed away. I googled what vision looked like as a cataract became worse, but on the way to see that, I came across an image of an Amsler grid eye test. It's a straight line graph paper type image. If you look at it and it has wavy lines it often indicates that you have macular degeneration. Which often means increasing vision loss. When I saw the Amsler grid, the lines were totally distorted when viewed with what I had been told was a cataract eye. The other eye showed every line straight and perfect. I was so frightened that I was going blind in one eye, but there was just too much happening with my Dad for me to go to the eye doctor for about 3 weeks. I was finally able to go to the eye doctor this past Friday and was told yes it was a problem with the macula, but not macular degeneration. It is a hole in my macula. Somehow the vitreous fluid in my eye had dried up or gone away and caused a hole to develop in the macula. I will be having a procedure done soon where they will pump some sort of gas into my eyeball to help the hole close and heal. I will not be able to lay flat or to travel by plane for quite sometime. That works for me.I have absolutely no desire to fly anywhere probably ever, and I sleep in a recliner with head fairly elevated due to neck problems and knee problems, so that should work out ok for me. The needle into the eye to inject the gas doesn't sound too pleasant, but I will be sedated. When I was told the outlook for my vision to return to near normal after the hole has healed was very good, it felt like a huge weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Since the middle of January, up until the day before the last day of February I had been experiencing the worst weeks in my entire life, but on Friday that all lifted and I am so thankful. After that worry about my vision, I don't mind how many weird hairs,odd grooves,and dark spots I see on my face as long as I can just keep seeing them.
On a lighter note, as my bad eye had gotten worse I was to the point of wearing my glasses upside down to watch TV because somehow I could see it better that way. My husband asked me what in the world I was doing with my glasses upside down. I finally went back to a pair of glasses from two prescriptions ago and
and discovered that they worked better than the newer glasses, either right side up, or upside down.
Honestly, I didn't think this little post would attract much attention, but there sure are a lot of people having trouble with their eyes, and my trouble is pretty minor. I had a double vision episode a year ago that scared me but it was a fluke. I sure hope everything is on the upward trajectory for you now.
So much common experience: hard contacts in late 50s, smart kid couldn't wear them, so wore only one…which of course caused the vision to be totally distorted in the other, now weaker eye…Many years later after cataract surgery, being w/o glasses great except when pruning paloverdes, the eye poke can smart…Floaters, however are w. us always now, and am wondering why the huge Optical Dept @ Uni hasn't come up w. a tiny bot which will munch those suckers up, DMV would be grateful to have all us oldsters out here in Arizoner able to see more than just big trucks whizzing by on the highways…it's those pesky little cars, esp. the electric tiny ones that whiz by unseen til they're past us…We're grateful, however, to be able to see at all at this point…
Pruning paloverdes? Are those the little stiff chin hairs?
I loved your post , Murr!! The Eek part was quite hilarious. The pain of not able to see things is annoying, and the whole irritating part is reality is not what you assumed while you had a bad sight. That was an exciting read Murr!!. Keep on blogging and inspiring us!!
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I've been asked to wear progressive lenses for my short sight and long sight. But I only end up feeling extremely disoriented with a thundering headache. I sincerely wear my glasses when I attend Music class in Coimbatore . I too cannot see the notes on when I play the piano.
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