My glasses obsession started when I was a young child. They fascinated me. I think it was the dependency factor. Now, looking back, I wonder why I never pretended to need them. Probably because no one in my family wore them and my parents would have been horrified, or maybe I just wasn’t scheming enough to lie my way through an eye test and all of the questions that would have gone with it. So, I told the truth at every school eye test and always passed with flying colours. I had to settle for second best which was seeing kids in glasses for the first time, or hearing the teacher ask a pupil if they could see the board ok, when they said no, they were sent home with a note and a couple of weeks later, another pair of sparkling glasses for me to stare at.
My obsession was always a bit of an on/off type thing, depending on what was going on in my life at the time.
When I was sixteen, I had a job in a shop. A girl I worked with, called Barbara, was quite short sighted. She squinted all of the time. She had glasses but she rarely wore them. She was a very attractive girl but she looked really good in glasses as well. We were chatting one day and the subject got on to her eyesight. She said she didnt need to wear her glasses all of the time, I think she made that up because she couldnt see much at all without them, but I told her she should wear them more often as they suited her, I also told her I thought I needed them and planned to go for an eye test. I dont know what made me say that, but Barbara offered to come with me.
I booked the eye test and Barbara came along as promised. I told the optician that I was getting a lot of headaches and blurred vision. I also told him I couldnt read certain lines on the chart, which of course I could. To my delight he told me I needed glasses! I had to pick them up the following week.
My parents were shocked; they said I didnt need them. My current boyfriend wasnt too bothered. I couldnt wait.
The big day came. Barbara and myself went to pick them up in our lunch hour. I wore them all that afternoon at work. I think I knew then that my sight was better without them, but I told everyone they were great. My parents wouldnt look at me and my sister thought it was a great joke. My boyfriend said they were nice. I wore them on and off for a few weeks and then the novelty of wearing glasses wore thin, especially when my vision was clearer without.
Over the next few years, my obsession died down. I got married, had a couple of kids and got divorced.
By this time, reading glasses were available to buy over the counter. How exciting. Over the next few years I accumulated quite a collection of various strengths. I kept them all hidden and only wore them when I was alone. I could see ok through the +1s, anything over that was too strong, but I still wore the +3s as well. Sometimes I would panic and think what would happen if I died suddenly, and while sorting through my things, my family would find my secret glasses stash. So I would throw them out. A couple of months later I would start all over again.
I wished I really needed them.
Then came the Internet, and with it, online shopping! I soon discovered glasses were available to buy. So, I bought myself another couple of pairs. I had my + days and my - days. I never wore them outside though, only in the house when I was alone. I used to video myself wearing them all. I was often tempted to drive to a shopping centre where I thought no one would know me, but I didnt have the confidence. I also didnt think I could see clearly enough to do it, as walking around the house is one thing, but outside is totally different, either the ground was closer or further away depending on the type of glasses.
Then I met a new man and my obsession was pushed to the back of my mind. I realised how boring my life must have been and I threw all of my glasses away.
Within a month of meeting Steven I found out I was pregnant. Apart from the fact that I did not want any more children and that I didnt even know this man, I am very anti-abortion, so I knew that I would go ahead with the pregnancy. Steven asked me to marry him, I refused and told him to wait a few years then ask me again. I did agree to him moving in with us though and we all got along quite well together.
In my fifth month of my pregnancy, I woke one morning to blurred vision. I had noticed that I wasnt seeing things as clearly as I used to but I had put it down to tiredness. This, however, was not tiredness. I rubbed my eyes, had a shower, put drops in them, still I couldnt see. I was really scared. I phoned Steven at work and he said he would come home, which he did. He made a doctors appointment for me and took me there. The doctor couldnt explain it. He decided to make an appointment for me to see an eye specialist. The earliest appointment was the next afternoon. This was the longest 26 hours I had ever had. I could see about two feet in front of me, anything further than that was a blur.
I started to think about the times I had walked around the house in a self-induced blur, I had liked it then. This was different, this wasnt through choice. This was awful.
The eye specialist did various tests and used different drops before announcing that my pregnancy had caused my eyes to become myopic. He gave us a detailed explanation about the blood supply to my eyes being diverted and that it had affected my corneas. A lot of this didnt sink in I was too horrified to think straight.
He said he had heard about this happening before to pregnant woman, but I was the first case he had actually come across.
Steven asked him whether the damage was permanent and he replied he honestly didnt know but he thought it probably would be. I would just have to wait until the baby was born and see. His main priority was too stop any more damage to my eyes. I was prescribed drops to put in morning and night and he said he would monitor me closely for the duration of my pregnancy. He would get some glasses made up for me that afternoon.
A few months ago those words would have been music to my ears, but not in my present predicament.
We had to go to the hospital optical lab. I was asked to choose some frames. They didnt have much of a selection, but I couldnt see how I looked in them anyway so I had to rely on Steven to choose a pair he thought suited me.
We had to wait two hours for the glasses to be made up so we went for a coffee. Steven patted my arm and said, well at least we caught it in the early stages, youll look good in the glasses and you never know, it might go after the baby is born. I liked his optimism. I thought that this was pay back for all the years Id yearned for glasses, all the times Id craved for the dependency on them. I knew by the state of my vision that I would have quite a high prescription. I was right. When the glasses were ready I slipped them on and the world came in to focus. What a fantastic feeling. A feeling I had heard about so many times but had never experienced. I had had two days with very poor vision and now I realised how much I had taken my sight for granted in the past. I found out that my prescription was 5 in both eyes. The strongest I had tried on in the past was 2 and that was too strong.
The glasses were hideous but I loved them. Without them I was helpless.
I got a nicer pair of frames and felt a little happier about being seen out in public. It was so weird; I had been tempted to do this so many times, now I had no choice. Everyone was really shocked when they saw me, but when I explained, they were all very sympathetic.
I had to see the specialist twice a week and to call him if I noticed any change in my eyesight. My sight deteriorated slightly over the next few months, R 5.75 L 6 and I got my lenses changed accordingly. I got used to wearing my glasses but I hated being so dependant on them.
My healthy baby is now two years old. My eyesight did not improve after I had given birth. I have resigned myself to the fact that I will always have poor eyesight. I have, however, got contact lenses, which I wear, the majority of the time. Glasses get in the way sometimes.
For years I dreamed about being like this, now I am short-sighted, I realise how precious good vision is, and how you should be grateful to be able to have the choice of whether you wear glasses or not.