Addicted To Minus:
I had not thought too much about becoming a married man until I was in my early forties. It just might have been because I was in the service that I didn’t have the time to search properly, but I suppose that, while I had dated numerous ladies who considered themselves candidates for marriage, I had just not been ready to take that step. And, actually, I suspect that if I had managed to meet someone who was very nearsighted, and had to wear strong glasses, I certainly might have taken the plunge. One of my quirks is that I am very attracted to ladies who wear glasses.
It seemed however that the more I searched, the fewer candidates I found. I knew that this was a problem, because most of the ladies who required strong glasses would never appear in public wearing glasses. I tried all the ways I could think of to search for ladies I might be interested in. I hung around optical stores, hoping to spot a candidate. I did my shopping at the malls early on Saturday mornings, as I had found that this was the most likely time for ladies to appear in public wearing glasses instead of contacts. And, whenever the weather reports included a high pollen count, I was especially attentive. I could spot a pair of strong glasses a fair distance away, and I would hone in on this lady to the best of my ability without attracting undue attention to myself. But, my search had not resulted in a successful outcome. Even the classified ads I placed in the newspapers had not been any help. So, I was pretty discouraged when I met Catherine.
Catherine did not really meet my criteria. Yes, she did wear glasses for the correction of myopia, and while she considered herself blind, and helpless without her glasses, I am afraid that a –6D prescription was a lot weaker than my idea of a decently strong minus. But, she was a very attractive lady. Cathy was a little older than me, but 3 years does not pose a real problem. She had a decent job as an administrator at the local school district, and she had 2 children that were grown, and had families of their own. So, this meant that I had no competition for her attention, nor did I have to become a father to another man’s family. I liked it this way.
I realized that my idea of a perfect myopic lady was going to be impossible to find, so after dating Cathy for a year, I asked her to marry me. She accepted, and we had a small wedding. Her ex husband Rick was there, and he seemed to be a decent sort. Cathy had not poisoned me against him, and I could see that they had just drifted apart once the kids were gone. Cathy had told me this, and I could see that it was true, as they remained on very friendly terms. Cathy and Rick’s daughter Erin was her mother’s maid of honor. Erin and Dave, her husband, had a 4-year-old son, Peter, who was the ring bearer. And Erin was very pregnant, to the point where we were worried that we might have set the wedding date a little too late. But, we were lucky, and everything went off without a hitch. We were fortunate enough make it back from our honeymoon a day before Erin went into the hospital to give birth to her daughter Erica.
When Erica was 2 years old, and Peter was 6, Dave was killed in a car accident. The house that was right next to ours was on the market, and since I was retired after 25 years of military service, I was the logical person to look after the kids during the day so that Erin could continue to work. So, Cathy and I helped Erin purchase the house. Cathy was 5 years away from retirement herself, so I gave up my part time job, to stay at home to look after Erica.
Cathy was of German decent. Rick had taken the title of Grandpa and Dave’s father was Granddad. So, my title became Opa, which is the German title for a grandfather. I missed my part time job, but Erica was a great kid, and we got along well together. Peter was a good kid as well, but he was in school most of the day, so I didn’t bond with Peter as well as I did with Erica. Erica was a quiet kid, and she spent a lot of time with her nose buried in a book. I noticed that she did all of her reading and coloring at a distance of between 10 and 12 inches. I commented to her more than a few times that she should hold her books a little further away from her eyes, and I also suggested that she should look away from her close up work frequently or she might have to wear glasses. But, she would immediately go back to the distance that she had been working at before, and I finally stopped saying anything. After all, I really would not have minded having Erica become a myope.
Since Cathy was myopic, and since Erin had a prescription of around –8D herself, I suspected that Erica would also be nearsighted. Her pre school vision test didn’t reveal any myopia, but I felt that it would only be a matter of time. After all, a child reading at a distance of 10” or less is actually creating about the same focusing power that –13D of myopia is. And, since I had nothing else to do with my spare time, I had been spending a lot of my time doing research on the computer about myopia. With a mother and a grandmother who were both myopic, I found that Erica had a very high chance of being a myope.
Finally, when Erica was between 7 and 8 years old, she was exhibiting signs that she was a bit nearsighted. So, I was elected to accompany Erica to an eye doctor. We left the doctor’s office with a prescription for glasses for Erica that read –1.75D for both eyes. Erica and I went to the local one-hour optical store, and together we chose Erica a very attractive looking pair of glasses. Erica was thrilled to put her new glasses on, and she didn’t seem to be too inclined to remove them, even though the doctor had told us that she didn’t have to wear them all the time.
That day was the last time I saw Erica without these glasses unless she had them off to clean them, or unless she was asleep. She wore them pushed tight to her nose, and seemed quite happy to have them there. Also, once she started wearing glasses, it seemed to me that she began to bring her reading material even closer to her eyes than she had before. She probably really didn’t, but I likely hadn’t noticed that she had been bringing everything even closer for the past year or so.
Less than a year went by, and Erica began to complain that things were blurry even with her glasses on. So, again it was off for a visit to the eye doctor. The receptionist took us into a little room and had Erica look into a machine. I was standing behind the nurse, and I saw her write –4.25D down for each eye. Then we went into the other office, where the doctor examined Erica’s eyes with a big machine. When I got the prescription from the doctor, I noticed that the numbers he had written down were only –3.75D in each eye.
“Why did your nurse tell us that Erica was –4.25D?” I asked him.
“Well, I could have given Erica a little stronger prescription, but I have found that it really isn’t necessary to bring young children up to their full prescription. As long as they can see better than 20/30 I am quite satisfied.” He replied.
I wasn’t satisfied. When we left the doctor’s office I explained to Erica that the doctor hadn’t given her as strong a prescription as she really needed. She didn’t like that, and asked me what we could do. So, I told her that I could probably fix the prescription if she wanted me to. She told me that she wanted me to, so I used a bit of white out, and a photocopier to come up with a prescription of –4.75D in both eyes. When we got her new lenses at the same optical store, Erica put them on again, and was thrilled with her slightly over corrected vision.
This prescription lasted Erica for around 2 years before she again began to complain that things in the distance were a blur. This time I chose another doctor. This time the doctor asked up if we wanted Erica’s prescription to be full strength, or if we wanted him to back it off a little. Erica chose the full strength of –6D, and we left the office. I was prepared to purchase Erica new glasses using that prescription.
“Can you make my prescription a little stronger like you did last time Opa?” Erica asked.
I choked a little. I had hoped she had forgotten that. “ I could honey, but the doctor gave you a strong enough prescription this time, so we really don’t have to do that.”
“But last time you made it even stronger than the one machine told you we needed.” Erica said. “Can’t you do it again?”
So, I did. I changed her prescription to read –6.50D for each eye. When we got back home with Erica’s new glasses, Cathy tried them on, and was surprised that Erica, at age 10, required stronger glasses than she did.
By the time Erica was 15 her glasses prescription was –10D. Both Cathy and Erin had been pressuring Erica to get contact lenses, so Erica decided that it was time to give in and get contacts. I made her also buy a pair of glasses with her new prescription as well, and we bought a pair with the cheapest plastic lenses we could obtain. They were quite thick, and strong looking, and I could tell that Erica wanted to wear them more than she wanted contacts. But, we did buy her the proper contact lenses, and she did wear them.
Erica and I had gotten a 3-month supply of disposable contacts from the optical store. When the contacts were at the reorder point, Erica came right out and asked me if I could get her stronger contacts. So, I went online, and I ordered her a 90-day supply of –9.00D lenses for one eye, and a 90-day supply of –9.25D lenses. This would give her 45 days worth of –9.00D for both eyes, and the same of –9.25D. As soon as the new lenses came in she started to wear the –9.00D, and she was thrilled with them, because she could see so much better. Wearing her glasses on weekends, and wearing lenses that were really comfortable for an extra day got us through to the end of a 60-day period. Then I let her wear the –9.25D lenses the same way for the next 60 days. For the next order, I increased the lens powers to –9.50, and –9.75D. We did this for the next 2 years, although once she reached –10.00D we could no longer obtain lenses in –0.25D steps, so we had to use –0.50D increases, and we stretched them out a little longer between increases. By the time she was 17, along with a couple of natural increase. Erica’s contact lens prescription was –12.00D. Erica wanted to continue the increases, but we could no longer obtain the disposable contact lenses we had been using, since they only went as high as –12D. So, during the next year we tried a number of different brands, without finding a contact lens that Erica felt really comfortable wearing.
By the time she was 18 Erica decided that contact lenses were no longer an option for her. So, it was off for another eye test, and a visit to a friendly optician. Erica’s eyes tested at –16D each eye, and Erica again wanted me to give her a slight increase. I hated to do this. I loved this kid, and I was like putty in her hands, but I figured her prescription was as strong as I ever wanted to see her wearing. However, I changed the numbers to read –16.50D anyway.
One-hour glasses had not been an option since Erica reached the –10D mark. So, we selected a new optical store in a nearby mall. We walked in the door, and the girl behind the counter looked up. I could see that she was a very attractive young lady of color, and that she was wearing glasses. As we drew closer, when I looked at her glasses, I could see what appeared to be tiny circles appearing in the center of the lenses of her glasses. She wore a gorgeous pair of myodiscs, and I could tell immediately that these myodiscs had been ordered with a lot of thought behind them, as a casual observer would not readily spot them. I think I stared at her glasses a little more than I should have, but I wanted to be sure of how they were made, and I wanted to be able to guess at her prescription. I was sure that the lenses were a very high index glass. Erica walked over to the ladies frames, and the optician turned her head to follow Erica, allowing me to see that the edge thickness of her lenses were no more than 4mm. The center bowl was likely only 20 mm., and when she looked back at me I was hard pressed to see any cut in effect, as the bowls fit the minification that the strong prescription gave to her eyes so perfectly that there was no obvious cut in, although her eyes did look very small.
Of course, the optician’s myodiscs were more of a topic of discussion than Erica’s new glasses were. But finally we got a new frame selected for Erica, and we ordered a new high index plastic for Erica’s lenses. All the way home Erica wanted to talk about the optician’s myodiscs, and I could tell that Erica wanted a pair just like them, because of the questions she was asking.
“How strong do you think Chantelle’s glasses are Opa?” Erica asked.
“Well, I know that myodiscs are not used very often unless a person has a prescription of over –20D. So, I would guess that Chantelle is somewhere between about –22D and –25D.” I replied.
“Do you think I will ever have my eyesight get bad enough to be able to get myodiscs like that?” Erica questioned.
“Well I wouldn’t really want to see your eyes get much worse honey, but you only have another –3.50D to go, and a young persons eyesight usually continues getting worse up to the age of 21 or 22, so it is possible that you could end up with a prescription strong enough to require glasses like Chantelle’s” I said.
“I’d like that.” Erica said.
There was nothing more said. Erica continued wearing her contact lenses for the next couple of weeks while she waited for her new glasses to be ready. Finally the optical store called, and Erica and I went to the mall to pick up Erica’s new glasses. We both hoped that Chantelle would be there, and we were really pleased when she was. We sat at the second fitting table and waited for Chantelle to finish with her customer. Finally Chantelle came over with a glasses case in her hand.
“Hi Erica, hello Mr. Davis.” Chantelle spoke in greeting. We greeted her back.
“I have a slight problem that I have to resolve before I am prepared to dispense these glasses. Are you aware Erica that your prescription was altered, and these glasses are slightly stronger than the doctor prescribed?” Chantelle asked.
“Yes, I asked Opa to do that for me.” Erica said.
“Well, hoped that that was the case. I noticed when you two were here before that neither one of you could stop staring at my myodiscs. So, I took the chance that you were both in on the slight prescription increase. And based on my feeling, I have had these glasses made to give you a little thicker appearance” Chantelle replied, as she removed the glasses from the case.
I looked at the new glasses as they came out. I thought that the frame size was a little larger than the one Erica had chosen. I could see the light reflecting from the front of the lenses, giving me the indication that the lenses were slightly bi concave. Erica removed her contact lenses, and Chantelle slipped the new glasses on her face. It was then that I could see that the inner bowl of the lens didn’t reach quite all the way to the edge of the frame, but instead left a small area of uncut lens blank. The lenses also looked to be thicker than I thought a –16.50D lens should.
“How do they feel Erica?” Chantelle asked.
“Fine, they feel just fine.” Erica replied, as she looked at herself in the mirror.
“Do you like how they look, and can you see well?” Chantelle asked.
“I love how they look.” Erica squealed with happiness. “And, I see great.”
“Are you all right with them Mr. Davis?” Chantelle asked.
“I will go along with whatever Erica wants. If she likes them, so do I.” I replied.
After paying for Erica’s new glasses we spent the next hour talking to Chantelle. She had pegged us correctly as optical obsessives, and had taken a chance. She showed us her other myodisc lensed glasses that she wore everywhere but at work. They were definitely a pair to attract any optically obsessed male. The frames were a dark red plastic with a rectangular lens shape. The temples were very wide, filling most of the depth of the narrow part of the rectangular. Her lenses were slightly biconcave myodiscs, with a fairly large bowl. The bowl was larger than the narrow side of the rectangle, so you could only see the non-prescription part of the myodisc at the nose, and the temple side. By doing it this way it made the lenses look as thick as possible, maybe 14 or 15 mm. Erica tried them on, and although she could not see much wearing them, she liked them a lot.
“ I really like these glasses. Why don’t you wear these glasses at work Chantelle?” Erica asked.
“My bosses won’t let me. They bought me my thin lenses to wear at work because they didn’t want me to scare any customers away.” Chantelle replied.
That didn’t surprise me a lot. What did surprise me was Chantelle’s parting comment.
“Ok, thanks for coming in.” Chantelle said. “ And, if you need a little increase in your lenses over the next 3 months, let me know, and I can help you out.”
Erica and I left, but on our way home we discussed Chantelle’s parting comment. Finally we decided that Chantelle meant that she would probably be willing to get new, slightly stronger lenses for Erica in 3 months or less. I didn’t say anything more about this to Erica. Actually Erica’s desire for stronger and stronger glasses was beginning to mystify me. I liked seeing her in stronger glasses. Heck, after seeing her in contacts much of the time for the last 3 years, I really enjoyed seeing Erica wearing glasses, but I really did think that her prescription was strong enough that she should be satisfied.
One afternoon about 3 months after Erica had gotten her new glasses she came home from school and asked me to drive her over to the mall, to the optical store where Chantelle worked. All of a sudden it came to me. She had phoned Chantelle and asked Chantelle to get her new, stronger lenses. So, I asked her if this is what she had done. She told me it was. So, I took her back to the mall.
Chantelle greeted us as we came in the door. We sat at the fitting table, and Chantelle took Erica’s glasses into the back room with her. A few minutes later she came back out, and slipped the glasses back onto Erica’s face. Erica looked around, and her eyes lit up with joy.
“Oh, everything looks so much clearer.” Erica said.
“How much stronger are the new lenses Chantelle?” I asked.
“They are only –0.50D stronger. That is about the correct increase for someone Erica’s age with around her prescription.” Chantelle replied.
“Half a diopter every three months is about the right amount?” I queried. We had been sticking with half a diopter every 4 or 5 months when we were making Erica’s contact lenses a little bit stronger.
“Around –2D per year is the accepted increase for high myopes in the 17, through 20 age group. Then by 21 the increases either stop, or drop to less than –1.00D per year for age 20 through 23.” Chantelle replied.
“So do you suggest that we forget about visiting the doctor for the next couple of years, and just increase Erica’s prescription according to your formulae?” I asked.
“Hey, don’t get all righteous on me Mr. Davis. I am not the one who originally presented a forged prescription. I am just helping Erica out a little. I think she is like me, one of a very rare group of people who are not only very nearsighted, but actually like being this way. And, I was not going to make any money out of this. I was doing it at cost, writing it up as a 90 day doctors prescription change.” Chantelle replied angrily to me.
I saw the darts in Erica’s eyes even before she spoke. “Shut up Opa. Chantelle is only doing what I asked her to do.”
I had been told. “Hey, back off girls. I hadn’t realized it was a conspiracy. But don’t you think you are blind enough without your glasses now Erica?”
“When I take my glasses off, and look at that wall of eyeglass frames over there, all I can see is a blur. If I needed another –5D higher prescription for my glasses, I would only still see a blur. I am so blind without glasses I can’t do anything, so it really doesn’t matter if my eyes are any worse. And, I can’t even see well enough to read without glasses, so that doesn’t matter either.” Erica replied.
I looked at Chantelle, who had nodded her head in agreement with Erica’s every word.
“Ok, lets pay up and get back home in time to get supper ready for the ladies. When will you order the next lens change Chantelle?” I asked.
“I will let Erica phone me when she thinks it is time Mr. Davis. I don’t want to pressure her into an increase that she doesn’t want.” Chantelle told me
“It will be a total of $35.00 for these lenses Mr. Davis. I can have the next change of lenses here in 2 months, and Erica can choose when she wants to make the change herself.” Chantelle replied.
I paid, we thanked Chantelle, and we left the mall. I didn’t say another word to Erica about the subject. I realized that she wanted either the most correction she could have, or else a small amount of overcorrection, and I knew that anything I said would go in one ear and out the other. Neither Erin, nor Cathy seemed to notice the new lenses in Erica’s glasses, and Erica and I remained silent.
This began a bit of a routine. A couple of months would go by, I would notice Erica starting to squint her eyes a little bit to see things in the distance, and then a few weeks later we would go by the mall to see Chantelle. Finally, when Erica was getting to the point where her next change of lenses would make her glasses around –19D I told her to call Chantelle, and tell Chantelle that Erica would be having an eye exam, and could she please hold off on ordering the newest lenses.
So, with a new prescription in hand for exactly the prescription that Chantelle had suggested, we chose another pair of frames for Erica. This time Chantelle was going to make Erica’s new lenses myodiscs, and Erica was extremely pleased.
“So, I have never asked you this Chantelle. How strong are your glasses?” I asked.
“I am around –24D in each eye. I am 26 years old now, and these glasses are exactly the same prescription I got when I was 22. I boosted my prescription by –0.50D when I got them, and I still feel very comfortable wearing them. And, my eyesight is almost 20/20 with them, good enough for driving.” Chantelle replied.
“You can drive? Wow, I wish I could. Opa won’t let me try for my license until my eyes stabilize.” Erica replied.
“Erica seems to have to scrunch her eyes up to see things so much of the time I just felt that it was better to wait.” I replied.
“Well, I understand. I had that problem myself when my eyes were changing. There were times when I was between prescriptions that I really couldn’t see street signs properly.” Chantelle replied.
Erica got the new myodiscs, and I was surprised when she and Chantelle went for the next lens change in a 2 month period. I had thought that once Erica got myodiscs she would back off on her prescription increases. When we visited Chantelle only 2 short months later, I couldn’t resist asking Erica why she felt the need for more increases in such a short period of time.
“But Opa, I like the feeling when I get new lenses.” Erica replied
“So, you like being overcorrected? Are you the same way Chantelle?” I asked.
“Oh, yes Mr. Davis. I ordered these lenses –0.50D stronger than I really needed when I got them. I don’t know if I have grown into them or not. I don’t think I have, because I still feel slightly overcorrected. But, as soon as I feel that my lenses are exactly what my eyes require, I will overcorrect again by –0.50D.” Chantelle replied.
“So, it looks to me like you are both addicted to minus. If you can’t stop yourself from overcorrecting your eyes Chantelle, I suppose it is highly unlikely that Erica will stop her addiction until her eyes reject the increased lens powers.” I replied.
Once I realized that I gave up any idea of trying to convince Erica to stop her addiction. She has continued her increases every couple of months, and now at age 23 she is wearing –26D lenses in her latest pair of glasses. She has had these glasses for over 2 months now, and while they were overminused by –0.50D when we had them made, she has not yet shown any indication that she is ready for her next increase. So, maybe Erica, like Chantelle, has come to the end of her addiction for minus.