From the age of 4 it seemed to be a given that at some point in my life I would have to wear glasses. My right eye wandered, mostly when I was tired. My mother also had problems with her eyes. Both her eyes wandered. No actually they didnít wander, because both her eyes were always pointed in the opposite directions. She had a condition that my dad called wall eyes, because without her glasses her eyes each pointed at the opposite walls. I learned later in life that the thick glasses that my mother wore constantly were to bring her eyes together so they would both point straight ahead. And, she had something else wrong with her eyes that made the lenses in her glasses magnify her eyes so that her eyes looked really big. When she had her glasses on her eyes looked to be pointing straight ahead, but when she took them off you could see that they were pointed in different directions, and there was something in the lenses of her glasses that were called prisms that made her eyes point straight. Because of my one eye wandering my parents and my momís eye doctor all figured that I would have to have these prism things in my glasses when I got older. In the meantime I was made to do all sorts of exercises to strengthen my eye muscles.
In grade 3 one of the other girls in my class got glasses. I kind of liked the looks of Brittanyís eyes behind her lenses. They didnít really change her eyes much, but made them appear to be a tiny bit smaller. Then in grade 4, 2 of the other girls got glasses as well, both of which were exactly the same type of lenses as Brittanyís. I liked these lenses a lot better than my motherís.
There were 5 girls wearing glasses in grade 5. These girls all hung around together, and Brittany was pretty much the leader of the group. I was glad I still didnít have to wear glasses yet, although I liked all the girls and wouldnít have minded hanging around with them.
In grade 6 there were 2 more girls that had to get glasses. Sarah, one of the two, really didnít seem to need hers very badly. By now the lenses in Brittanyís glasses were a lot thicker, and there was a noticeable shrinking of the sides of her face within the lenses. And when you looked sideways at Brittanyís glasses the edges of the lenses appeared to be fairly thick, although the lenses didnít stick out much behind the frame. And Brittany never missed the chance to tell everybody about how she was absolutely blind without her glasses. But Sarahís glasses looked to be plain old clear glass, although she did tell everyone that she was a little nearsighted. Sarah obviously wanted to wear her glasses, because she never took them off except to clean them.
I went for my annual eye exam soon after school started that year. The doctor told mom that I was starting to show signs that I was a little myopic, but he didnít feel that I should start wearing glasses yet. I really hadnít noticed this, however by Christmas time I was having a little trouble seeing what the teacher was writing on the board. By the time school was dismissed for the summer I had been forced to resort to borrowing notes from some of the other girls, and I was pretty much resigned to the fact that by the time of my annual vision exam I would end up with glasses, and would be the one who swung the balance of power. At this point, out of a class of 26 there were 7 girls out of 15 girls who wore glasses, and there were 2 boys out of the 11 boys who wore them. If I was the eighth girl wearing glasses the glasses wearing girls would outnumber the girls without glasses. Why I didnít want to wear glasses was something I couldnít understand, but I absolutely dreaded the day I was going to have to get them.
In September, while I was in grade 7, right around the time of my normal eye exam mom was very busy looking after my Nana, who was extremely sick with cancer. Nana passed away in November, and it was around the middle of December before mom remembered that I had not been to the eye doctor that year. I knew I was doomed. It seemed that there was less and less that I could see clearly every month. I couldnít even read clearly unless I brought the book up to about a foot away from my nose, and for the past couple of months I had not even watched any television for fear that my parents would see how close I had to sit to the screen.
The doctor was horrified when he examined my eyes. I could hear him talking to my mother, telling her that my eyes had gotten more than -4D worse in the past year and a few months since I had last been in. And, now I was also going to have to wear prisms in my lenses. My right eye was the eye that wandered out, and the doctor was going to put 5 degrees of base out prism in that eye. Then he was going to have them put another 5 degrees of base out prism in my left lens. Apparently what this would do would bring my right eye in so that it was only 5 degrees off, and then it would bring my left eye over so that it was 5 degrees off as well, and I would no longer look exactly straight ahead. But the doctor explained that this would then make both my eyes focus at exactly the same point, and I would no longer have any double vision.
So, mom and I went to Specscrafters, and we ordered my new glasses. The girl helping us suggested to me that I should select a pair of plastic frames with wide sides, so that the wide sides would hide the thick outer edges of my lenses. Mom didnít want to pay for the extra thin lenses for me, because the doctor had told her that I would likely need stronger lenses within a few months, and I actually had another appointment set up in June. Since I realized I had no chance of getting out of wearing glasses, I chose a nice pair of black frames. When our name was called to come up and get my glasses we went to sit in the fitting chair, and the girl put my new glasses on my face. She adjusted the way the ears fit, and they felt pretty comfortable. What was amazing to me though was how clear and sharp everything now looked. Things that had only been a blur now jumped into focus, and when I mentioned this, the optician girl told me that with a prescription of -4.50D with 5 degrees of prism in each eye it had been a wonder that I could function at all without glasses.
I had been determined that I wasnít going to wear my glasses all the time. But as mom and I drove home I could almost feel my eyes becoming more and more dependant on my new glasses. I ran up to my room, and I looked at myself in my big mirror. I didnít look too bad Ė not terribly ugly or anything. I took my glasses off, and was amazed at how close I had to bring them to my eyes to see them clearly. It was like my eyes got even worse in the last hour since I got them. The lenses seemed to be totally flat in the front, and they were pretty thick at the outside edges. I was glad that the girl at the store had suggested I get the thick wide earpieces. There was now no possible way I could go without these glasses, but that didnít mean that I wanted to advertise the thickness of my lenses.
The next day at school all the girls were amazed at how strong my glasses looked. Even Brittany was surprised that my glasses were almost as strong as hers were. But what was surprising was that as days passed, Sarah was around me a lot of the time. It was as if she had become my new best friend.
During the rest of that school year I was very happy I had finally gotten glasses. I was readily accepted as a member of the glasses girls, and wearing glasses wasnít nearly as bad as I had thought it would be. And, if I ever took my glasses off, I soon realized just how badly I needed them. The only problem I seemed to have was with Sarah. She always wanted to try my glasses on, and I hated to even take them off.
My eye exam was coming up again before the end of the school year, and I mentioned to Sarah that I was probably going to have to get new lenses in my frames, because things were not as clear as they had been when I first got my glasses. Sarah made me a strange request. She asked me if I would save her my old lenses, so I agreed, wondering all the while what the heck she was going to do with them.
I had been correct. My prescription had increased to -5.50D, but my prism had stayed the same. The doctor told my mom that I had probably been using a bit more accommodation when I had my eyes tested the first time, and now my prescription would probably not change much for a couple of years. When I got my new lenses in my glasses I did save the old lenses, and I gave them to Sarah as she had asked.
I soon discovered why Sarah wanted my old lenses. She asked me if she could get the numbers and the information from my frame, and I discovered that she had ordered exactly the same frame that I was wearing, with her new prescription in them, as she had also had an eye exam. I came across Sarah in the girlís bathroom where she was trying to insert my old lenses in her new frames. She had removed both of her lenses, and she had successfully inserted my right lens in her frame, but my old left lens was giving her a problem. It wouldnít go in as easily as the other one did.
"What are you doing Sarah?" I asked.
"I think it looks like I am trying to put your old lenses in my glasses, doesnít it?" Sarah replied sarcastically.
"But why?" I asked.
"I hate how my own lenses look. They are so thin they look like I really donít need them. But your old lenses look nice and strong. And every time I have tried your glasses on it only took me a minute or so before I could make my eyes see through them." Sarah replied.
"Well, if you are sure that you want to do that, the only way that we can put the lens in is to hold the frame under hot water for a minute or two, and then pop the lens in. I saw my mom do that once." I replied.
So, we tried that trick at the sink, and it worked. Now Sarah had my old lenses in her new glasses. She wore them all that day at school, and when she came back the next day I asked her if her parents had noticed how thick her lenses were now. But Sarah said that they hadnít said a word. By the time a couple of weeks had passed, everyone was accustomed to seeing Sarah wearing her glasses with my old lenses, and since Sarah had asked me to keep her secret, I had.
As the following Christmas approached I could tell that my eyesight was getting worse. It had been great for about the first 4 months since I got my new lenses. But then I started to notice that things were getting a little fuzzy. The evergreen trees were now a blob of green, and I couldnít see individual bricks on a wall until I got up closer to the wall. And by the time of my scheduled exam I could no longer see anything the teacher wrote on the chalkboard. So, again my prescription was increased. This time I went up another -1.25D, and my new glasses were going to be -6.75D for each eye, again with my prism, which hadnít changed. I got 2 new frames this time, as the girl at the optician suggested to my mom that I would be pretty helpless without my glasses. And, they had a 2 for one offer, so of course my mom agreed. Again I selected 2 pairs with wide sides to hide my lens thickness. And, again mom refused to pay for the thinner lenses. This time it was better. Mom and I were able to go shopping, because I still had my old glasses. The last time I had to sit there while they made my new lenses and put them in the frame. I couldnít see a thing for over an hour, and I hated it.
This time when Sarah saw my new, stronger glasses she begged me to give her my old ones. The doctor had suggested that I should use my old glasses for reading and studying at home, so I didnít want to give them to Sarah, but she suggested that I could likely wear the glasses she had been wearing for the past 6 months to do my near point work. I really hadnít noticed any problem seeing up close with my new glasses, so I figured that it wouldnít hurt if I did this. But now I was wondering a bit about Sarahís sanity. If I had the choice I wouldnít have chosen to wear glasses. And, there was no way I would ever consider wearing glasses that were too strong for my eyes. My eyes were getting worse and worse without any help from me. And it seemed that most of the other girls in our glasses group had to get stronger glasses with about the same frequency as I did. Brittany, the original glasses wearer now had a prescription of -9D, and, other than Sarah, she and I were the only ones who had flat fronts in our own glasses. Rachel had just a little stronger prescription than I had, and all of the others had weaker prescriptions. I didnít know just where to place Sarah. She was wearing my old -5.50D glasses, but I didnít really consider them to be her own.
I had turned 13 in April, and like most of the other girls in my class had an attitude of an 18 year old. We all thought we were pretty, and we all dressed to show off as best as we could. I now had a pretty decent chest size, and needed a 40 bra, the biggest of any of the girls in the class. I didnít have a problem attracting any guys to me, and I had dated most of the grade 9 boys without finding one I liked well enough to be a steady boyfriend. All of the boys that had shown an interest in me thought I looked great in glasses. Everyone told me I had a glasses face, and I was pleased about that, because when I went back to have my next eye exam in June my doctor told me that because of my prism I couldnít have contact lenses. Shannon and Joy had gotten contacts, and most of the other glasses girls also wanted to get them Ė not for wearing all the time, but mostly for sports, and swimming, and going out with boys. But I was going to be stuck with glasses. And, they got thicker again. I was doing well in school, with excellent grades, and when the doctor told me I needed stronger lenses again I told him that my eye exam was the only exam I couldnít pass. He had likely heard that a thousand times, but he just laughed and told me that I could easily pass the exam with my newest prescription, but if I didnít get it, I would probably end up having trouble passing the other exams.
Looking at the world through my new -9D lenses was a little strange. Now I had to look straight through the center of the lens to see perfectly clearly. And, everything seemed just a tiny bit smaller than before. I asked Brittany if she had this feeling, and she told me she did, and that it was even more noticeable with her new glasses, which were over -10D now. But Brittanyís glasses were a lot thinner than mine, because she had gotten hi index lenses.
Sarah immediately wanted me to give her one of the pairs of my old glasses. The black pair had a similar appearance to them as my old glasses had, so I gave Sarah that pair and I kept the burgundy pair to use as my reading glasses. I actually spent a lot of time with Sarah, and I considered her my best friend, even though I thought her quest for thick glasses was strange. She immediately started wearing my -6.75D glasses all the time.
When we went back to school in September Sarah was over at my place one day after school. All of a sudden she had to run to the bathroom and take something out of her eye. She came back and got her purse and took out a little bottle of contact lens solution. She returned to the bathroom, and came out a couple of minutes later, blinking her eyes furiously.
"What are you doing with contacts? And how come you are wearing them with my glasses over them?" I asked.
"I got Shannon to get me a few extra pairs of her contacts, and I have been wearing them under your glasses for about a week now. Her contact lenses are -2.50D, and I can see fairly well when I have them under your glasses." Sarah replied.
"But wonít that make your eyes worse?" I asked.
"That is the whole point. If I want to wear stronger and thicker glasses, I need to do this to help my eyes get worse." Sarah said.
"Have you even been to your eye doctor since you started wearing my glasses?" I asked.
"Not yet, but I have an appointment late next month. I got used to these old glasses of yours pretty fast, and I figure if I wear Shannonís contacts under them for a few weeks more I will be able to get my own glasses that are at least as strong as yours." Sara said.
I didnít really need my second pair of glasses in my current prescription, but they were a clear pinkish color, so people would have noticed the difference if Sarah started wearing them. But I took the other old glasses that I had kept for reading and checked to see how close the lens sizes were. They looked almost the same. Then I checked to see if the pair that Sarah had on was close to my second pair. They all looked to be the same lens size. I popped one lens out of my pink pair. Then I took Sarahís glasses and took one lens out of them. The lens from my pink pair popped in with no trouble, and it was a good fit. So I changed the other lens as well, and handed Sarah back the glasses.
"If you could see well enough to wear -2.50D contacts under my old glasses, you should be able to see well from my newest lenses. Now you can take out the contacts." I replied.
"Oh, they are just great Judy. You are a wonderful friend." Sarah gushed after she came from the bathroom.
"I just wish I could understand your quest for stronger and thicker lenses in your glasses. I would give anything not to have to wear my glasses." I said.
When it was time for Sarahís eye exam she came over and we were going to change the lenses back to the lower prescription. She had only had a couple of real eye exams, and had a much lower prescription back then, so even though they were going to a different eye doctor Sarah thought that it would be better if the doctor could tell her mom that she had needed a fairly sizable increase. But when she put on my other glasses; the ones that had the lenses she had previously worn before we changed the lenses, even though it had only been a little over a month since I had given her my newest prescription lenses, Sarah couldnít see the writing on my big poster on the bedroom wall. I was amazed, and a little incredulous. Then it came to me. I figured that she had worn Sheilaís -2.50D contacts most of the time for the past few weeks.
"You have been wearing Sheilaís contacts under those glasses as well, havenít you?" I asked.
"Only for the past couple of weeks." Sarah said sheepishly.
"You really want to ruin your eyes donít you?" I replied.
"I can see fine when I am wearing glasses." Sheila told me defensively.
I realized that I wasnít going to win any argument here, so I wisely kept my mouth shut. The next day, after her eye exam, Sarah called me and told me that her new glasses were going to have to be -10D, with 5 degrees of prism in each eye. I wasnít surprised that now her glasses were stronger than mine were, but I was surprised that she actually required the prism. I did wonder though if she would still attempt to wear Shannonís old contact lens prescription under her own real prescription. I was almost willing to bet that she would after a month or two. But I was a little worried. My prescription, at Ė9D was considered very strong for a 13 year old girl. Sarah was now 14, and had as strong a prescription as Brittany, who had worn glasses for 2 years more than Sarah.
Sarah was pleased with her new glasses. She had gone for the 2 for 1 sale, and now had 2 pairs like I always had. She and I changed the lenses back into my spare glasses and I was happy to get them back. I had never yet broken any of my pairs of glasses, but I certainly wouldnít have wanted to attempt to get around if I did break my glasses. I felt pretty helpless when I took them off. And, if I went without my glasses for much more than a couple of minutes I would develop a splitting headache, probably from the prism, or rather lack of it.
In June, after my 14th birthday, I had another eye exam, and my myopia increased again. Now my prescription was -10.50D, but this time my prism increased by 1 degree in each eye to 6 degrees. This was exactly the same spherical prescription as Brittany had. But Brittany had not needed a prescription increase at her last checkup, so I had hopes that maybe I would be able to go a little longer without a further increase.
In September, when we were in grade 10, 2 more girls joined our group of glasses wearers. That left only 5 girls that didnít wear glasses, but I knew that Stacey needed them by the way she squinted at everything. Brittany had another increase, and was now -11.25D. And Sarah got another pair of new glasses. Her new prescription was -12.50D, but what was really a surprise to me was that her prism increased to 7.5 degrees, even more than mine. I knew that this was a real increase for her, because I had read that prism isnít something that you can increase unless you are able to get a stronger prism to wear, and I knew that Sarah had not been able to do that.
Over the next few months I watched Sarah carefully. I hadnít really noticed before, but whenever Sarah was reading she brought her reading material to a point where I would have considered it uncomfortable. We hung around together a lot, so I knew that Sarah read a lot. She always was reading a novel. And a couple of times I was at her place and I tried to use her computer, but I had a lot of problems with the font she was using. It was ariel 9, and I had to get pretty darned close to the screen to see anything. I was able to guess that Sarah was doing this to make her eyes even worse, and I just couldnít understand this. Her glasses were already the strongest ones of any of the girls in our class. I hated to have to wear glasses, but I knew I was blind without them. Sarah was now even blinder, but wearing glasses didnít bother her at all. She loved wearing them, and I was pretty sure she was still wearing Sheilaís contacts under her glasses as well. This might have been what Sarah wanted, but I was still her friend, and I was a little worried. Sheila had recently gotten new glasses and contacts with her now -5.00D prescription, and I hoped that she hadnít given Sarah a pair of her new contacts. It would have been bad enough if she had given Sarah a supply of her old -3.50D contacts.
By the time another year had passed Sarah had needed another change in prescription. Now Sarah was wearing -15.00D glasses along with her 7.5 degrees of prism, and her glasses looked very thick and strong. My own prescription had only jumped another -1.50D and my prism had stayed the same, so now I was wearing -12.00D with 6 degrees of prism. I hated it that I had required another increase, but Sarah was thrilled with her new appearance. I did find out that Sheila had not given Sarah any more contacts, so I asked Sarah if she was still wearing Sheilaís old contacts under her glasses. She told me that she hadnít been doing this for a while, because her last pair of Sheilaís contacts had ripped a couple of months ago, and now she wouldnít do it anymore because she really liked the appearance of her glasses now.
I had a couple more increases in my prescription before I graduated from high school, but Sarah didnít need any. My increases were small ones though, and when I graduated my own prescription was still lower than Sarahís. Now I was only -13.00D. I still hated to wear glasses, but I had no choice if I wanted to be able to see anything, so I reluctantly put them on every morning when I got out of bed, and they didnít leave my face until I was back in bed that night.