I met Caitlyn the first day of junior high. We had both come from different schools, and were the only two people in our grade 7 class that were wearing glasses. I had gotten mine the year previously when I started grade 6, and when I asked Caitlyn how long she had worn glasses she told me that she had been wearing hers since she was 8 years old. I did the math, and since we were both 12 years old that meant that she had been in grade 3 when she got her first pair. I liked how she looked wearing glasses, and I told her that her glasses suited her. So far I had not had any great awareness of girls. Oh sure, they were there, but they were justÖÖÖgirls.
That changed for me when Caitlyn and I started hanging around together. I had not had any real curiosity about my glasses before I started to wear them, but since I began wearing them I noticed that I was looking at everyone who I saw wearing glasses. I had noticed that some peopleís glasses made their eyes look all big and magnified behind their lenses. I didnít really care for that look. But then other people had glasses that when you looked at their eyes, their eyes didnít really look much different, and there was only a little bit of indentation at the sides of their face. I liked these glasses, and since mine did the same thing to my face I knew that these people were nearsighted. The lady at the library had glasses that were very thick, and they made her eyes look extremely small and set back into her face behind the lenses in her glasses. Also the indentations at the sides of her face were much deeper than anyone else I had seen. So, I thought that this might mean that she was very nearsighted. Caitlyn and I would often talk about glasses, and when she let me try hers on I could tell that hers were stronger than mine, but after a couple of minutes with them on my face my eyes would adapt to them, and I loved the feeling of greater intensity that I got from them.
After Thanksgiving, Caitlyn surprised me when she showed up at school wearing new glasses. She had not complained to me about having trouble seeing things. I tried her new glasses on, but they were a little harder to adapt my eyes to than her old ones were. Caitlyn told me that they were -4.25D and her old ones were -3.00D. My own glasses were only -1.75D, so it was not surprising that I couldnít see through her new lenses. As we talked I discovered that Caitlyn had fooled the eye doctor into giving her stronger lenses than she really needed. Apparently she had pulled her head back from the machine they use somehow, and he hadnít noticed. When I questioned her as to why she had done that she told me that someday she really wanted to wear glasses that were as strong as the lady at the library wore. Her theory was that if she had to wear glasses then she wanted to wear glasses that everybody would look at, and know that she really needed them badly.
Caitlynís old -3D glasses were in a frame that would be considered unisex. They did not look out of place on my face, and when I wore them, no one really noticed that they were slightly different than my own glasses. And wear them I did. Caitlyn kept after me until I finally gave in and started wearing them, and after a short period of time, I could not go back to my old glasses as they soon became too weak. And, now when I tried Caitlynís new -4.25D glasses on they were much easier for me to wear.
I had noticed that whenever she was reading something Caitlyn would always bring it very close to her eyes, and when I asked her why she did this she told me that she had read that this would likely make a person more myopic. I didnít think I really wanted to be more myopic, but soon I found I was doing the same thing. And then the day came when I actually was more myopic. I could not see the blackboard very well even wearing Caitlynís -3D glasses. Her -4.25D glasses were much better, and if they hadnít been a little too feminine looking I could have worn them, since Caitlyn had recently increased her prescription to -5.50D. She claimed to have used the same trick at the eye doctors that she used before.
So I ended up having my eyes examined. I knew I would probably need a prescription of around -4D, because I could see very well with Caitlynís -4.25D glasses. And I also knew that it would probably bother my mother because my eyes had gotten so bad. But, I couldnít stop myself. I pulled my head back from the machine a little, just as Caitlyn had told me she did. My new prescription was -5.00D, and my mother did have a fit. But the doctor assured her that I needed this prescription, so she bought me my new glasses.
Caitlyn and I were both 13 and in grade 8 now. We hung around a lot together, but I still hadnít clued in to this boyfriend girlfriend thing. Some of the other grade 8 girls were hanging around with the grade 9 boys, and some of the grade 8 boys were hanging around with the grade 7 girls. Me, I was just hanging around with Caitlyn, but I didnít consider her my girlfriend. That changed a bit when we went to a school dance together. I had never really noticed her figure before, but she had really blossomed into a pretty girl over the past year. After the dance something changed, and I did begin to think of Caitlyn as my girlfriend.
By grade 9 Caitlynís -5.50s had been upped to a pair of -7.00D glasses. The doctor had wanted me to come back in a year when I had gotten my -5D glasses, so when I went back I managed to come away with a prescription for -6.00D lenses. My mom gave me the money to have new lenses put into my frames, because my frames were only a year old and still in good shape. Caitlyn was going to go to the mall with me, so I walked to her house and met her there. As we walked to the bus station Caitlyn was trying to talk me into getting even stronger lenses in my glasses than the prescription called for.
"I know that you can see well through -7D lenses Justin. That is what I was prescribed, but then I changed my prescription to read -8.50D, and that is the lenses I got in these glasses. And I can see perfectly with them." Caitlyn said.
"How did you change your prescription?" I asked.
"My dad has a good photocopier at our house. I just made a copy, used white out and made a new copy that I could write in the new prescription and then made another copy."
"So what you are suggesting is that we go back and change my prescription?" I asked.
"No, Iíve already done it for you." Caitlyn replied.
It had been a shock to me when she told me that she was wearing -8.50D lenses in her own glasses. But this was even more of a shock. She wanted me to take a forged prescription to the optical store and get even stronger lenses than I had been prescribed. I didnít know if I could do that.
But by the time we got onto the bus Caitlyn had talked me into doing just what she wanted. Her main argument was that I couldnít go without glasses now, so having a little stronger prescription would not really matter. I asked her how I would be able to get away with it when I had my eyes tested the next time, because the nurse always checks your glasses before you go in to see the doctor. Her answer to that was that I would have to break my glasses before I went. She had all the answers, probably because she had thought of them for herself.
I convinced Caitlyn that we might be better off going to the one hour optical at the Lakeside Mall, since it was on the far side of the city. So, she went along with my idea.
We ordered my new lenses, and I was shocked when Caitlyn ordered herself a new pair of glasses. She had prepared another prescription blank for herself that gave her a new prescription of -9.50D. She also ordered a pair of new lenses for the glasses that she was wearing, and she told the girl that as soon as she got her new glasses she would give them her old glasses to fit the new lenses, as her eyesight was too bad to go shopping without glasses. Caitlyn had brought her old -5.50D glasses along with her, and she gave them to me to wear as we walked around the mall rather than having to sit and wait. We went to the food court and got something to eat.
"Why are you doing this Caitlyn?" I asked.
"I am almost 15, and from everything I have read, I need to get my eyes to whatever I want by the time I am 18. Once you stop growing your eyes pretty well stop changing." Caitlyn replied.
"But you are -7.00D according to your last exam. I can understand how you could get used to wearing -8.50D, but to go to -9.50D lenses will be quite hard to do wonít it?" I asked.
"I donít think so. I think that by now my eyes are worse than -7.00. They might even have reached -8.00D, because I no longer feel any strain at all when I wear my -8.50D glasses." Caitlyn answered.
"Well, it is your eyes that you are ruining. Wait a minute. You are asking me to make my eyes worse also. Why do you want that?" I asked.
"I thought you wanted to do it as well. Donít you?" Caitlyn asked.
"Part of me does, but part of me doesnít. That is why the part of me that does has gone along with you. And, seeing you with stronger and stronger lenses in your glasses does arouse me sexually." I replied.
"Just thinking about getting stronger lenses arouses me. And there is no way I could ever marry a man who didnít wear strong glasses, so that is why I am trying to get your prescription a bit stronger." Caitlyn said.
"How strong do you consider strong?" I asked.
"I would like to see my husband wear a prescription of at least -10D. I want his glasses to have flat fronts. I am hoping that my new -9.50D lenses will have flat fronts. For me, I would like to end up with a prescription of at least -15D." Caitlyn replied.
"Well, I think you will probably get there before you are 18. I just donít know if I want to go up to -10D." I replied.
"So are you telling me I need to find another boyfriend?" Caitlyn asked.
"No, donít do that just yet. I just am worried about it that is all. Let me get used to my new -7D glasses, and then maybe I will feel a little better about the idea." I replied.
After that we went back to the optical store. My glasses were ready, and Caitlynís were being checked. So the optician fitted mine, which wasnít hard because I had already been wearing the frame for a year. It took a little longer to fit Caitlynís. She had been correct about her new lenses being flat on the front, and I was sure that people would notice. We waited for a little longer and finally her old glasses were ready as well. Again the girl fitted them quickly, and we left the mall. Caitlyn glanced at herself in every mirror we walked by.
By the time we were both 18 Caitlyn had gotten up to Ė 15D. And she had convinced me that I might as well go for the -10D prescription, so I had gone along with her. At this stage in our life, if we had both gone to the same university, I am convinced we would have stayed together, and would have gotten married. But we didnít, and as so often happens we drifted apart. I did know that Caitlyn graduated as an optometrist, as this is the field that she had wanted to go into since she was very young.. I went to her wedding, and I could see that her glasses were stronger than the -15D she had set as her goal, and had reached by the age of 18. Also, she had married a guy who wore glasses, and from the looks of the tiny circles in his lenses his glasses were significantly stronger than hers were.
I also got married, but my wife had great eyesight and didnít wear glasses. I hoped that since much of my now -12D of myopia had been induced, by marrying a partner with perfect eyesight we would manage to avoid having myopic children, and after 15 years of marriage it appeared that this might be the case. Our son was 12, our oldest daughter was 9, and her younger sister was 6 when a car accident left me a widower. It wasnít going to be easy raising 3 children on my own, but Brad was very good about helping out after his momís death. Shannon and Kirsten were also very good about helping as well, so it was rough, but not impossible.
A couple of years later I went into an optical store in a part of the city where I seldom shopped. The screw that held the lens in the frame of my sun glasses had come out, and it was a bright sunny day, so I missed being able to wear them. I had my regular glasses on, and when I entered the store it appeared dark while my eyes adjusted to the change in lighting.
"Hello Justin." A voice said.
I recognized the voice. "Caitlyn?" I asked.
"How have you been?" Caitlyn asked.
"Ok, I guess. I lost my wife in a car accident a couple of years back, and it has been hard on me and the children." I replied.
"Bobby told me about your loss. I am very sorry." Caitlyn replied.
"Bobby? I thought your husband was Brent?" I queried.
"Bobby Pierce. You must remember him from school. He is one of my customers. And Brent and I didnít last too long. We split after about 5 years." Caitlyn replied.
"Yes, I remember Bobby. He and Elaine were at the funeral. What happened between you and Brent? I thought his strong glasses would be just perfect for you." I replied.
"His glasses certainly were perfect, but a perfect pair of glasses canít make a relationship work. You didnít come into an optical store without a reason. What can I do for you?
"I need a screw." I said, and probably turned beet red when I realized what I had said.
"Well that could probably be arranged." Caitlyn responded. "But I am sure that you meant for your glasses. Let me have a look at them."
So Caitlyn fixed my glasses. When she was finished she asked me how strong they were, and I told her. I asked her about her glasses, because they didnít look much stronger than the -15D she wore when she graduated from high school. I was surprised when she told me they were -21D, but then she explained that they were a very high index glass. She felt that she shouldnít wear her thick plastic lensed myodiscs to work, as she was afraid that it would scare some people away from wearing glasses.
By the time I left the store with my repaired sunglasses we had arranged to go on a date on the weekend. We hadnít even gotten to the restaurant that Saturday night when I realized that nothing had changed between us. It felt like we had never been apart. That first date led to another one, and then another. Before long we were together pretty much all of our spare time. All 3 of my children liked Caitlyn, and there didnít seem to be any animosity over the fact that she had taken their motherís place in my life, and in my heart.
Caitlyn had suggested that I should drop by her office and bring the kids so that we could all have eye examinations Ė no charge of course. I didnít see any problem with taking her up on her offer. I hadnít needed any change in prescription for a number of years now, and the kids all had eye exams every couple of years, and they were due for one now. So, we all went off to Caitlynís office. Brad went first, and he didnít need any form of correction. Then Shannon went in for her exam, and when she came out she was happy she didnít need glasses. However, when Kirsten came out she had a long look on her face.
"Whatís wrong sweetie?" I asked.
"She says I need glasses Daddy." Kirsten said to me.
"There is nothing serious Justin. Kirsten is very mildly nearsighted, and needs a slight correction of only -1D so that she can see the 20/20 line. That isnít a total surprise, and even for an 8 year old that is a low prescription." Caitlyn said.
I was quite surprised with this, as both the older children were doing so well in escaping the trap of myopia. But I had been slightly myopic during my school years, so I only had myself to blame for this. But then a dark thought raced through my mind as Caitlyn was examining my eyes. Could it be possible that Caitlyn was trying to get Kirsten wearing glasses Ė glasses that she didnít really need. Caitlyn was likely the main reason why my own prescription had reached -12D before it leveled off.
"So, how much do you think Kirsten should wear her glasses?" I asked innocently enough, but with a hidden motive.
ĎShe can wear them all the time or she can wear them whenever she feels like it. She really doesnít need them that badly, but as I think you know, myopia can increase rapidly during the school years. She will likely wear them when it pleases her to do so Justin." Caitlyn replied.
That answer indicated to me that Kirsten likely did really need glasses. If Caitlyn had pushed me to have Kirsten wear her glasses all the time, I would have been very suspicious, and probably would have taken Kirsten to another eye doctor for a second opinion. One of the things I had learned about wearing glasses that over corrected you was that you needed to wear them all the time in order to keep up the pressure on the eyes to be able to increase your prescription.
So, we selected a nice frame for Kirsten, and Caitlyn ordered her glasses. When they came in I noticed that Kirsten wore them some of the time, but they spent a lot of time in the case. A few months went by and I noticed Kirsten wearing her glasses more and more. Caitlyn, who by now was pretty much living with us, apparently noticed the same thing.
"I think Kirsten might need another eye exam Justin." Caitlyn told me.
"She hasnít complained about not seeing well, so why do you say that?" I asked.
"She didnít complain before I discovered she was a little bit nearsighted had she?" Caitlyn threw the question back at me and didnít wait for an answer. "She probably didnít even realize that she wasnít seeing as well as she used to. The loss of visual acuity in children is slow, and they are able to use their accommodation to overcome a lot of the myopia. But once she started wearing her glasses pretty much full time, I think she realizes that she sees better with her glasses on. And it is even more probable that she needs her prescription increased significantly, but doesnít even realize it."
Caitlyn had me there. Everything she said was completely plausible. So, Kirsten had her second eye exam in less than a year. Her prescription had increased significantly, and her new glasses were going to be -2.50D, a full -1.50D stronger. When Kirsten put her new glasses on she complained a little bit that her eyes felt funny wearing the stronger glasses, but Caitlyn told her that this was a normal feeling, and would go away as soon as she got used to the new lenses.
Caitlyn had Kirsten come by every 3 months for a checkup. It was an easy bus ride from her school to Caitlynís optical store. Sometimes Kirsten would need a small increase, but often she wouldnít. Caitlyn and I had married in the first year after we reconnected, and I was busy at work, so I was leaving Kirstenís vision care up to Caitlyn the professional. I didnít pay much attention to Kirsten and her glasses until she was almost 14, and she had just had another prescription increase. I looked at her new glasses as she came into the kitchen for breakfast. The lenses were flat, and my heart sank as I remembered how excited Caitlyn was to get her first glasses with flat fronts. Was she increasing my daughterís prescription unnecessarily?
"How do your new glasses feel honey?" I asked.
"They feel great dad. I can see really clearly again." Kirsten said.
Kirsten ate her breakfast and I watched her carefully. She didnít even touch her glasses in an attempt to readjust their position on her face. Like me, her glasses were now a complete part of her, and she didnít even think about them. She kissed me goodbye, and headed out the door just as Caitlyn came into the kitchen.
"How strong are Kirstenís new glasses?" I asked.
""They are -8.25D Justin. Why?" Caitlyn asked.
"They are flat fronted. I thought that they had to be around -10D for that, and I was scared her eyes were getting really bad very fast." I replied.
"Her eyes are bad. Oh, not nearly as bad as yours or mine, but bad enough for her age. But she isnít having any problem seeing the 20/20 line with glasses, so she is fully correctable. And with the newer high index lenses they have started supplying flat fronts with most prescriptions over -7D." Caitlyn replied.
"I had hoped none of my kids would have to wear thick glasses, but it looks like Kirsten will end up with a fairly high prescription." I said.
"Yes, it is very likely that she will go up a lot more in the next 4 or 5 years. I only hope that we can keep on top of it. Until now she has only needed slight increases every 6 months, but this last time she went up -0.75D in only 3 months." Caitlyn replied.
"Tell me honestly that you havenít been giving her more correction than she needed please." I told her.
"Justin, I canít believe you even thought of that, much less said it. I would not ever give a patient any stronger a prescription than they required." Caitlyn said angrily.
"I am sorry honey. I just was thinking of how you increased your own prescription, and kept talking me into getting stronger and stronger glasses." I replied.
"That is the operative word there. My own prescription. What I did to myself was exactly what I wanted to do. I could not do that to another person. What kind of monster do you think I am?" Caitlyn exploded.
"I wasnít sure. I just thought that Kirstenís eyes were getting too bad too fast. I apologize for even thinking that." I replied.
"Well, if you donít trust me, send your daughter to another eye doctor when she is due her next examination." Caitlyn replied with a little less anger in her voice.
"I donít think that is necessary. I just had to have my doubts quenched, and they are. It is hard for a father to watch his daughters eyes get worse and worse, and know that there isnít a darned thing that anyone can do." I said.
"Kirsten is getting the best eye care that she can get Justin. Her eyes will stop getting worse when the time comes, and until then all we can do is make sure that she has the best possible correction. I love her too you know." Caitlyn replied with tenderness in her voice.
"I know you do honey, and I am sorry I even thought that way." I answered.
The next few years saw a number of increases for Kirsten. Her increases didnít stop by the time she was 18, however by the time she was 25, and out in the work force she had gone for almost 2 years with the same prescription. We hoped that the -23.50D that she was now wearing was going to be the prescription that Kirsten ended up with for the rest of her life.
I still had a feeling in my gut that Caitlyn had been instrumental in contributing to Kirstenís high myopia. She had denied that she had boosted Kirstenís prescription, and I believed what she told me. I had read a number of articles that really gave no definitive conclusion. Some articles showed that studies proved that giving a myope their full and proper correction at all times reduced the eventual prescription that those in the study would end up with. Still other studies felt that doing this caused the children to develop even more myopia, and the way to lessen the strength of the eventual prescription was to slightly under correct the myopic child, and then give them bifocals for reading. Still another study suggested that children should have their eye examinations in the early morning, rather than at the end of the day, because their eyes are more relaxed and slightly less myopic then. All of these studies left me more confused than ever.
But in reading between the lines I realized that every exam that Kirsten had was in the late afternoon. And, while it wasnít likely that Caitlyn had actually given Kirsten a higher prescription than she needed, I think it was highly probable that Kirsten got the strongest prescription that she could see the 20/20 line with. I suspect she probably could have gotten away with a slightly lower prescription. It also wasnít the rule, but Kirsten did have a few of her increases at the 3 month mark. Would she have been able to hold out until the 6 month exam, or did she really need the increase at the 3 month mark? I certainly will never know. But my knowing that Caitlyn had an urge for myopia did make me very suspicious.
I would likely be more upset if Kirsten hadnít accepted the fact that she had very poor uncorrected vision. Her eyesight with glasses however was quite good, and she still had 20/20 visual acuity with her glasses. She had worn glasses constantly since she was 9 years old, and she had never taken me up on my offer to buy her contact lenses. Her present glasses had been extremely expensive, as they were not myodiscs, but were a 1.9 hi index glass, exactly like the ones Caitlyn wore. And when I said she was out in the work force, this was a little subjective. Kirsten was an optician at Caitlynís store, and she still lived at home with us. She was going with a very nice guy, and I could almost be assured that if they got married my grandchildren would be high myopes as her boyfriend Dan wore glasses that were just a little weaker than Kirstenís. I couldnít very well ask, but could it also be a possibility that Kirsten also had an urge for myopia?