Written on a first time prescription, for constant wear usually means a fairly strong prescription, and that is what I had on mine. My Mom is very nearsighted, having worn glasses almost from birth for a condition called congenital myopia. I think that her prescription is now around -20. When I was born, because of my mothers vision problems, I began visiting eye doctors at a very early age. Fortunately, until I was 10, my annual August visits returned favorable verdicts. And, as I got older, and had started school, I was very pleased with this. My Mom's glasses, which were just a normal part of her to me, detracted from her great figure, and obvious good looks. She had gotten contact lenses at an early age, and I can't remember ever seeing her leave the house with her glasses on. My best friend had gotten glasses a couple of years back, and it seemed to be such a nuisance for her to wear them that I really was glad that my eyes were O.K..
But, with my 10th birthday, all that was to change. Shortly after my birthday at the end of April until my eye test in August, I remember thinking that things didn't look as clear as they used to. When my eyes were examined, the doctor told my mom that I was starting to show the beginning stages of myopia, but that at -0.50 in each eye there was no real need to have me start wearing glasses yet. Mom was advised to keep an eye on me, and get me back for another appointment if I noticed any further vision deterioration. School started, and with the beginning of school came our yearly vision exam by the school nurse. I had memorized the eye chart that the school used, and, even though I could still see fairly well, I easily passed the test. By Christmas time of that year, I remember that the Christmas lights on the houses had turned into a blur, and that there was no way, even squinting as hard as I could that I could recognize any of my friends in the distance. Carrie, my best friend, had noticed that I was having problems, and suggested that I try her glasses on. I did so reluctantly, and noticed that a lot of the blur disappeared. Out of curiosity, I asked Carrie what her prescription was, and was surprised when she told me that she was -3.50. I knew I must be more than that.
The next year was a total blur. I told no one that my vision was terrible, and I became very adept at hiding my problem. When it reached the point that I could no longer make out the blur on the TV, rather than move any closer I stopped watching TV, except for the shows I really wanted to see, which I watched on a small portable in my room, with my nose glued to the screen. I couldn't see to ride my bike anywhere, so I quit riding my bike. I was terrified that my annual eye exam would reveal to the world that my vision was by now practically non existent. Why I wouldn't give in and accept the fact that I was now seriously nearsighted still remains a mystery to me, as my Mom, with even worse eyesight, with contact lenses lived a very active and normal life. My Dad was suddenly called to another plant in another city, and I was elated, as he decided to take my Mom, and I along with him. My eye exam was canceled. I don't know how I managed to spend two weeks with my parents, visiting museums, and other points of interest without revealing to them that I had not been able to see a thing, but I did. We returned home, and I had to start school the next day. We always have the school eye exam within the first week of school, and this year was no exception. The only difference this year was that the nurse in her white uniform, against a white wall was totally invisible to me. And the eye chart was non existent. I listened to her voice, and could hear her slap the pointer against the chart on the wall. I reeled off the letters that I had committed to memory, and was relieved to hear her say that my eyes were fine again this year. When my parents asked how my eye test went, I told them I had passed, and my Mom said that we could skip the doctors visit this year.
I had gotten some books for Christmas, and was really shocked that the print was so tiny that I couldn't read them without almost putting my nose to the page, and closing one eye. I snuck into my parents room, and found my Mom's old glasses. She had saved every pair she had ever worn. One pair worked fairly well, although I had to slide them way down my nose. They were kind of a neat pair. They were blue, and they looked like the glasses that I had seen in old pictures that were called cats eyes glasses. Things went on this way for a couple more months, and finally my best friend Carrie, who I had been using as my eyes, rebelled, and told me if I didn't tell my parents about my vision problem, she would tell her Mom, who of course would tell my Mom. So, the time had come, and I was about to face the inevitable. That day, after class, my teacher asked me to stay for a minute. I went up to her desk as everyone else was leaving, and she handed me a note. She said that she had noticed that my grades were slipping, and that I didn't seem to be able to see very well, so she had written a note for me to take home to my Mom, and have it signed and returned. Everyone was ganging up on me now.
Now here I was, sitting in the eye doctors office a week before my 12th birthday. He looked through a bunch of instruments at my eyes, and then brought the machine with all the lenses in front of my face. I heard a whole lot of clicks, and then he asked me to read the letters on the wall. I couldn't, so there were a few more clicks, and the letters started to become clear. Soon he started into the routine of which was better, and finally I could see everything again. We went back out to see my Mom, and she and the doctor had a bit of a private conversation. I knew what it was all about, as I could hear a few of the words my Mom said. I wasn't even surprised when I heard the doctor tell her that this was the strongest first prescription he had ever seen. I think my Mom was upset with me for not telling her sooner that I was having problems, as she was strangely silent on our way to the mall. I asked her where we were going, and all she said was that the doctor had told her to get me a pair of glasses today, so we were off to the one hour optical at the mall. When we arrived at the optical shop, I remember the girl saying that this was quite a strong prescription, and that the lenses would be pretty thick, so we would have to choose the frame very carefully. With her help I chose a small eye size in a plastic frame that had the ear pieces set back from the front so that they would close over the thick lenses. With all the talk about thick lenses, I still had no idea what my prescription was, so after the glasses were ordered, and we were waiting, I asked mom just how strong my prescription was. She simply said that I was over -8.50, with little bit of astigmatism.
The doctor had told Mom to get me cheap plastic lenses with no bells or whistles, as it was his experience that the first prescription would get a bit stronger over the next six months. When they were ready, I saw that everyone was right. They were pretty thick. The edge of the lens was just under 1/2". When I put them on, and my blurry world disappeared, I wondered why I had been so stupid, and stubborn. I had gone around in a total blur for over a year, and had still ended up wearing glasses. And, I knew that all my friends were aware that I was blind as a bat.
When Mom and I got home it was too late to go back to school that day, so as soon as I thought that Carrie would be home I jumped on my bike for the first time in over a year, and rode over to her house. "Oh my gosh" she started to say, and I knew the next words were going to be are they ever thick, but she recovered well and " no wonder you couldn't see a thing." came out instead. Of course she wanted to try them on, and she was amazed at how strong they were. Even when she slid them down to the tip of her nose she couldn't quite see clearly through my lenses.
The next day at school everyone expressed amazement at how bad my eyes were. The thickness of the lenses were a dead giveaway. But, I was gradually accepting the fact that I was going to need glasses or contacts for the rest of my life, and it was only when I looked in the mirror that I noticed that the glasses looked thick. From behind the lenses they looked just right to my weak eyes. And I was so surprised at how much different that everything looked when I could see it clearly that I knew that wearing glasses wasn't nearly as bad as not wearing them had been.
By the end of my second day as a glasses wearer I started to notice that my face was all red and itchy across the top of my nose and behind my ears. I was constantly taking my glasses off to rub the itchy spots. By that evening some of the area that was itchy had started to bleed, and when I got up the next morning there were a lot of tiny scabs. I could hardly put my glasses on, and when I showed my Mom, she kept me home from school, and we went to the doctor. The doctor thought that I was probably allergic to plastic, so he advised my Mom that I should not wear my glasses anymore until I was tested for allergies. A week ago I would have loved the idea of not being allowed to wear glasses, but now after only two days, I was horrified at the thought of not being able to see a thing. We went home, and we were surprised to see my Dad still home. He had taken the day off, and when he heard of my predicament he called a few friends in the plastic business to see if there was anything they could suggest. Out came some of Mom's clear fingernail polish, and the plastic where my glasses met my face was enameled over. The ear pieces were enameled as well. I had to stay home the rest of the day, and since the next day was weekend I was able to lie around in bed waiting for my face to heal a bit more. By lunch time I felt brave enough to try the newly enameled glasses. I pulled them down a bit from where they felt the most comfortable, and I let the ear pieces ride up above my ears. It was wonderful to be able to see again. The enamel seemed to work, and by Monday I was ready to go back to school. When I got home Monday night my Dad had taken an old croakie, and had cut just the part that goes over the ear pieces off. He slipped them onto my glasses, and made sure that the enamel was still all right around the nose area. These glasses were not the most comfortable to wear this way, but I didn't have the option of not wearing them. And, Mom and I had gone back to the mall to see if there were any glasses that didn't have any plastic on them. The closest we could find was a pair of silver wire frames with metal cable temples. They came with plastic nose pads, but the optician said we could change them to silicone, which was more a rubber than a plastic. We ordered new lenses, but since they had to be glass, it was going to be a week or so until they came in.
When we picked them up I was pleased that we had gotten them. The plastic glasses were all right the way they were, but the new ones looked much thinner, and nicer. At least that is what I thought until I wore them for a day. Boy were they heavy. After being tested for allergies, it was discovered that I was highly allergic to plastic, and mildly allergic to rubber, and dust, and cats hair, and a whole lot of other little things. I now knew what that was going to mean to me. Any hope of wearing contact lenses was out of the question.
By the time that my normal August vision exam came around I knew I needed stronger glasses. In only 5 months everything had again become a blur. Even the doctor wasn't surprised when he checked me out and prescribed -10.50 x -0.50 x 105 right and - 10.25 x -0.75 x 90 left. I knew these glasses would be a whole lot heavier, and I was right. We ordered an identical frame to my other frame, and my Dad suggested that we have my old glasses fitted with the new prescription as well. The next couple of years were a combination of ever stronger glasses, and a blur. It didn't seem to take any time at all before my glasses were no longer strong enough, and I couldn't wait for my bi annual exam. The doctor was so worried about my progression that he fitted me with bifocals to see if it made any difference. It didn't, and I hated the bifocals. After a few weeks I couldn't see well enough to even read out of the bifocal part, much less anything at a distance through the distance part. So after a couple of tries at bifocals, the doctor gave up. I was now 14, and my prescription was just over -15. My doctor had researched all the different types of contact lenses, and had ordered some for me to try. With most of them, a couple of hours of wear was enough to create a severe case of red itchy eyes, but there were a couple of types that I could get 5 or 6 hours of wear from them. So, at least I could wear contacts for special occasions. Not that it was going to help. I really wanted a cute guy in the next grade to ask me out, so I got a couple of my friends to suggest that he ask me out, but the jerk told them that there was no way he would go out with a girl wearing coke bottles.
I guess I was wearing my misery like an open book, cause at supper that evening both my parents asked me what was wrong. Of course I couldn't tell them, but later that evening my Mom came into my room. My figure was filling out nicely, and I was as pretty as my Mom. I had long blondish hair, which I wore loose most of the time. The thick glasses were the only drawback in my appearance, and my Mom knew that this was the root of my miserable state. She proceeded to tell me, even without me telling her about the guy that rejected me, that there were all sorts of guys in this world, and that the right one would come along who would like me just as I was. Of course I had to ask her about how she and Dad met, and to my surprise she told me that he had never even noticed her until she had had to wear glasses to school for a week or so while a minor eye infection cleared up. During that week, and for ever after he had hung around her like glue, and they had gotten married soon after they graduated from the community college. I was most surprised when she told me that she sort of thought Dad had a thing for girls with thick glasses. And, I was even more shocked when she told me that he always wanted her to wear glasses while making love, but I realized that she probably wanted to anyway, as she was even blinder than me..
Soon I was 15, and my eyes had gotten even worse. By the time my 16th birthday rolled around, my prescription had climbed to -18.00 x 0.50 x 105 and -17.75 x -0.75 x 90. The astigmatism had not changed at all over the years, but the other numbers more than made up for it. It was getting harder and harder to find glasses with no plastic anywhere on them. Even the new cable temples were mostly covered in plastic. And my original 3 pairs were starting to wear out. The frame with my plastic myodiscs, which I wore swimming at the pool, and to shower in wouldn't stand another prescription change. Even my newest pair were starting to look a bit askew on my face. And my backup pair had had the screw holding the lens in place replaced with a special nut and bolt. Mom and I searched through optical catalogue after catalogue to see if we could find a frame that would work. One day, after the quest had become very depressing - I mean what kind of God would give a girl such lousy eyesight and then make her allergic to the material that they make glasses from - my Dad came home with a couple of old antique pairs of glasses from the fifties. Both pairs looked a bit gross, but they were just what I needed. The nosepieces were ivory. The one pair had aluminum temples - no plastic, just aluminum that was formed to fit around the ears. And, since it was aluminum, it was pliable enough that it was bendable for comfort. The other pair had the same ivory nose pads, but they had real old time stainless steel cable temples. Did I want to wear them? Not in my lifetime, but it was beginning to look as though I had run out of options. We got my new glass lenses fitted in the aluminum temple pair, and the new plastic myodiscs went in the other pair. If I could have seen anything other than a complete blur without glasses I would not have worn them. But, it wasn't quite as bad as I thought. The glass lensed ones had a pretty small eye size, so they were a bit lighter than I had expected. At school all the other kids complimented me on my funky glasses, so I gradually accepted the fifties look that had been forced on me.
A few weeks later my Dad came home from a trip to another city. He unpacked, and came downstairs holding a couple of pairs of glasses he had found in a thrift shop. One pair was almost identical to the pair I was wearing, but the other pair made me squeal with delight. They were almost an oval eye shape, but they squared off a bit where the temple fastened on. They were wire, and the temples were the only ones I had ever seen like this. They were a very fine wire, and at the end of the temple there was a little blob of a gold type metal to make the wire safe. They had a very weak bifocal prescription in them, and they hardly looked worn at all. I wanted to have new glass lenses put in right away, but Dad said that we would have to wait for this pair until I made it through a second eye exam without any major change in my prescription, as these were special glasses, and they needed extra special lenses. I didn't know what he meant, but after I came home from my next eye exam with no change in my prescription, I was to find out.
Armed with the glasses and my prescription, Dad took off on a business trip to Canada. He was back a few days later, and when I asked about my glasses he told me to be patient, they would take a while. Three weeks had gone by when I arrived home from school to find a package addressed to me waiting with the mail. I opened it, and there were my glasses. They had the thinnest lenses imaginable. The thickest point was just barely over a quarter inch. I really couldn't believe that I could see through such thin, lovely looking lenses, but when I slipped them on my vision was great. I was ecstatic.
When Dad got home later that evening he was pleased that I was so happy. He told me that the lenses were made in Germany by Zeiss, and that they wouldn't pass the safety requirements in the US, so he had ordered them in Canada for me. I asked if they were really expensive, and was not surprised when he told me that they were not cheap, and that I had to take very good care of them. I loved them, and they looked great, so I told him I would, and I thanked him a whole lot.
And then I said" Bye the way Dad - Mom thinks you are attracted to ladies that wear thick glasses. Is she right? "
A bit flustered he said "'She is honey, but I never wanted you to have thick glasses. "