At age 7, I discovered I couldn’t see the blackboard at school clearly. The teacher moved me to the front row, but to no avail; everything on the board looked like squiggles, and I was sent to the school nurse’s office, who sent me to our pediatrician, who exclaimed to my mother, “This child can’t SEE!” and sent me to an ophthalmologist. I was hoping against hope that I wouldn’t be made to wear glasses, but my hopes were soon dashed. My choices were pink or blue frames, and I wasn’t crazy about either of them, but I chose a plain pink. Our second-grade school pictures were taken soon after that, and my displeasure at having to wear my hated glasses shows:
I tried wearing them only when I had to see the blackboard, or when my mom or grandmother would notice if I took them off, but soon I had to admit even to myself that I was blind as a bat without them, and starting wearing them even when I played outside:
And by 7th grade, I’d moved on to tortoise shell-colored frames, not particularly flattering but not quite so juvenile:
By the 10th grade I now wore round horn-rims; at this point I’d also received the double whammy of having to wear braces, so I wasn’t a very happy camper, at least in pictures, for awhile:
My mom must have taken pity on me at this point; she had intended to buy me contact lenses as a high school graduation present, but I guess she felt I needed them sooner, and I received them on my 16th birthday. I liked the freedom of not wearing glasses, and I was at the age where anything that made me feel more attractive was welcome, so I appreciated having them. I wore hard contacts from age 16 to age 29, although I occasionally still wore my “spare” glasses during my 20s:
After my daughter was born, I switched to soft contacts, but during my mid-30s an optometrist advised me to give up contacts altogether, because I was developing “corneal dystrophy” — at this point, I didn’t mind going back to wearing glasses (but the frames kept getting larger and larger!):
With my last glasses, my eyes didn’t seem to change much for a few years, but then I got into the habit of putting them on top of my head when I was doing close work or on the computer, eventually using them only for distance and especially driving. Eventually I noticed the road signs were blurred, and though I could see where I was going, I had to admit it really wasn’t safe to continue this way, and thanks to my recently-acquired vision insurance, a couple of weeks ago I had a very thorough eye exam. Time for new glasses! My old frames were so out of date; frames were now narrower, thinner, lighter in weight, with more choices than I knew what to do with. I wear progressive no-line bifocals, and I wasn’t sure a narrower frame would work, but the optician assured me it would be more than adequate. So I decided on a Juicy Couture burgundy-pink frame and picked my new glasses up this morning. I’m happy! I can see again! I drove my daughter crazy reading street, traffic and advertising signs all the way home, but it was just amazing; you never realize what you miss until you finally see it clearly!
So I’ve had a love-hate affair with glasses over the years, but things have changed so much since I was younger. That tired old saying, “Men don’t make passes at girls who wear glasses,” just doesn’t apply anymore. People are wearing glasses without prescription lenses simply as a fashion statement. So I’m finally in fashion! Who knew?