Glasses From An Airport:
A few years ago my 8 year old daughter and I were in the airport in Copenhagen waiting for our flight to England. We had arrived at the airport in plenty of time so we were just casually looking around the shops. I was looking for a book to read, when all of a sudden my daughter came up to me and asked if I would buy her something.
I looked to see what she wanted, and saw that she was wearing a very attractive pair of glasses. I looked at them closely, and I could see that they were prescription lenses, very weak compared to the glasses I need to see anything past the tip of my nose, but still a low prescription.
“Where did you get those?” I asked.
“From that stand right over there.” Grace pointed at a rack containing glasses.
“Well, put them right back.” I said sharply.
“But mommy, I can see things with them.” Grace said.
I took her hand and marched her right back to the rack with the glasses. I took the glasses off her face, and looked at them. They were marked -1.50. I went to put them back on the rack, and I noticed that the minus selection went from -0.50 up to -3.00 in 0.50D steps. I had not realized that minus glasses were available over the counter like this. Grace was now putting up quite a fuss, and it made me stop and think. She was only 8, but she was an avid reader. I am severely myopic, and at the time had worn contact lenses for the last 10 years since I turned 22, and my glasses prescription reached -16.50D. So maybe it was possible that Grace actually needed those -1.50D glasses.
“Try these ones on Grace.” I handed her a pair of the weakest -0.50D glasses.
“I can’t see as good with these glasses mommy.” Grace replied.
“How about this pair?” I handed her a pair of -1.00D glasses.
“The ones I had before looked better mommy.” Grace replied.
“Try these ones Grace.” I gave her a pair of -2.00D glasses.
“No, they are too much mommy. The other ones were just right. I tried them all before.” Grace replied.
So, I gave her back the pair she had originally chosen. We paid for her new glasses, and my book, and we walked to the waiting area for our plane. I was going to have a hard time getting used to seeing Grace wearing glasses, although I had always known that this was a possibility. My own eyesight was pretty lousy, and I was very dependant on my contact lenses, which I wore almost exclusively. My ex husband was going to love this, and I meant this literally, as according to him my refusal to wear glasses anymore was why he was now my ex, so he would be thrilled to see Grace wearing glasses.
Mark and I started going out together when I was 16. Back then the prescription in my glasses was only around -4.50D. This was a strong enough prescription that I needed to wear them all the time, but at that time I could still take them off to read, and I could walk around the house without them. I had been planning to get contacts when I started going out with Mark, but he told me that as far as he was concerned I looked great wearing glasses, and he would like it better if I didn’t get contacts. So, at the time I didn’t.
After I started going out with Mark he would take me to the eye doctors for an eye exam about once every three months. I kept telling him that he didn’t have to do this, because before this I had only had exams every 2 years since I got my first glasses at age 10. Once, when I was 15 I had to go in between scheduled exams because my eyes got worse and I couldn’t see the board in school, so I got new lenses between my normal eye examinations. Now, every time Mark took me in for an eye exam I needed a prescription increase. I really hadn’t seemed to notice that my eyes had gotten any worse. I thought I could see everything I needed to see. But, usually every three months on a Thursday in the late afternoon we would end up together at my eye doctors. And, every time we went, I ended up needing a new prescription. Just before my 17th birthday my glasses had reached a power of -6D, and now I actually needed them not just for distance, but even to see to read.
When I turned 18 I had gone through 4 more small increases. Now my prescription was -8D, and my lenses were getting pretty darned thick. I asked my doctor about coming in so often, and questioned him as to whether this was why my eyes were getting worse so fast. He told me that it was better for my eyes to be properly corrected all the time than it was to go for a long period of time with a lower correction than I needed. He also told me that the -2.00D increase that I had that year might have been higher if I had waited longer between examinations. So, I believed him, because he was the expert.
By my 20th birthday I had reached a prescription of -12D. I hated my glasses because they were so thick and strong looking now. But Mark kept insisting that I shouldn’t get contact lenses. The following year I turned 21 and I had gained a further -2D, and my glasses now had to be -14D. This is when Mark asked me to marry him. I was graduating from college the next spring as an executive secretary, so we planned our wedding for a week after my graduation.
I was not going to go for a job interview wearing my extremely thick and strong, now -15D glasses. Nor did I want to get married wearing glasses. So, without asking Mark, I ordered a pair of contact lenses from the doctor. It was not very hard to get accustomed to them and once I was used to popping them in and out, I loved them. I no longer felt that people were staring at me because I was wearing such thick and strong glasses. Mark’s reaction was not good. He was quite upset with me and it took me a while before I finally got him to understand my position. I felt a lot more confidence in myself when I went for my job interviews, and I was damned if I was going to spend my wedding day going around blind much of the time as I whipped off my glasses for picture after picture.
We didn’t have any problems for the first 2 years. I usually came home from work and took out my lenses first thing. Then we would have supper, and sit around in the evening watching the television, or reading, and I was quite comfortable wearing my glasses. But then I needed another small increase, and now my glasses were too weak. I didn’t buy new glasses and soon I started wearing my contact lenses more and more in the evenings. I could tell that Mark wasn’t happy about this, but then I got pregnant with Grace, so I ordered a new pair of glasses as I needed to be able to see when I got up in the night. My routine of wearing glasses around the house went back to the point where it was again acceptable to Mark.
When Grace was 3, our situation changed. Jeff, my boss, and the owner of the company had a heart attack. He was unable to return to work for 6 months, and he placed me in charge of the firm. I was the logical person for this job since I had been in on every decision he had made over the past 7 years. I suppose I did a pretty good job, because when Jeff came back to work he made me CEO permanently, and he no longer showed up on a daily basis.
I don’t know if it was the stress of the job, or if it was all the extra reading I was doing that caused another increase in my myopia. Why it increased doesn’t matter and I found myself at my eye doctor again, getting another pair of new contacts. Maybe if I had also been willing to spend the money on new glasses as well, things might have turned out differently, but when I had gotten the last pair of glasses I had a lot of trouble getting adjusted to wearing them every night after work. I mentioned this to my doctor, and he told me that my glasses were so strong that they distorted and minimized everything far more than my contacts did, and that my brain naturally had a hard time switching between glasses and contacts. Again I didn’t get new glasses. And again, my vision with my old glasses just wasn’t good enough to allow me to see the television properly, so I soon was wearing my contacts from when I got up until the time I went to bed.
After 3 years of fighting with Mark over me no longer wearing glasses for him I had enough. I told Mark that if he didn’t like me well enough wearing my contacts then he could get out. A couple of weeks later I came home and found that he had moved all his clothing out, and had left me a note telling me that if I wasn’t willing to wear my glasses for him he no longer wanted to be married to me. That was a bit of a blow to my psyche, but over the next year I pretty well got over it. I saw Mark frequently, as we agreed to let Grace go to his place every second weekend. It became a bit of a joke, because every time he came by to get Grace he would tell me that he could see that I still wasn’t willing to wear my glasses for him, so he could tell that I didn’t want him back. I just couldn’t believe that it was my glasses that made me so attractive to him, and I felt that if it was I didn’t want him around anyway.
When Grace and I got off the plane and took the cab from Heathrow to our hotel I looked carefully at Grace. Her eyes were flashing with interest as she looked at all the different things there were to see around us, and I was happy that I had bought her the glasses so that she could see well enough to enjoy the trip, but I was also sad that this meant that she would never again be without glasses or contact lenses.
London, Paris and Hamburg were our main destinations, and we enjoyed every minute of the trip. For the most part this was a business trip, so all I had to pay was the portion of the trip that it cost for Grace. After the month was over we returned home, and my first call was to my eye doctor to set up an appointment for Grace to have an eye examination.
For some reason we again ended up with the last appointment on my usual Thursday afternoon a couple of days later. I had been having a bit of trouble with one of my contacts while we were on the continent, so I had decided that, even though the idea was abhorrent to me, I was going to get a pair of glasses in my correct prescription that I could wear once in a while. I told the doctor what had occurred in the airport in Denmark, and that Grace hadn’t gone a waking minute without her glasses since I had paid for them and she put them back on at the cash register almost 5 weeks ago. So he gave her a very thorough examination.
“She is quite nearsighted, and she should be wearing an even stronger prescription than those glasses are. She really needs a prescription of -2.50D right now,” he told me.
“Are those frames a good enough quality that you could put new lenses in them for her?” I asked.
“Yes, they appear to be. Would you like our optical department to do that while you wait?” asked the doctor.
I replied that that would be best, so he took Grace’s glasses out to the lab. He asked me to remove my contacts while he was gone, so I did that and I was so blind I had to have Grace guide me to the chair to wait for him to come back. He asked me if I was driving, and when I told him I wasn’t he told me that he would dilate my eyes so he could do a very thorough examination. I was in the chair that day for what seemed like an hour.
“Well young lady, it’s going to be glasses only for you for at least 6 months,” he told me.
“What do you mean?” I asked.
“You have a number of broken blood vessels in your eyes, and you have a bad scratch on one of your corneas. You have been wearing your contacts far too much, and you need to wear glasses for a while to allow your corneas and those blood vessels heal. Maybe after 6 months you can wear contacts again, but you will have to restrict your contact wear to only about 10 or 12 hours a day,” he said.
“I don’t even have a pair of glasses I can wear right now doctor,” I replied.
With that he told me that he was afraid that I would tell him just that. Finally he allowed me to put my contacts back in. providing I ordered a pair of glasses that day before I left his office. He also told me that he would not give me my new contact lens prescription until he was certain my eyes had healed properly. So, with my contacts back in, and able to see again I went to see his optician.
The girl was quite helpful. She seemed to know instinctively what my fears about wearing glasses were. We picked out a rather attractive looking frame, and they had the new wide temples that were just coming onto the market. I had never seen them before, but she assured me that everyone was buying them. The lens shape was pretty much rectangular, and the hinge was set far enough back from the face of the frame that the temples would closed, even with my thick lenses. Lucy, the optician, discussed my lens options. My prescription now was -18.50D for both eyes, and I could get a high index plastic lens that was going to be about a third thinner than the lenses I was used to. But then Lucy showed me a new type of lens. This was a glass lens, and she called it a myodisc. I had seen myodisc lenses before, but this lens was different. The circle was still evident, but it didn’t stand right out and shout at you. It was more discrete, and Lucy explained that this was because the edge was blended slightly into the carrier. Also the lens itself was a minus carrier rather than the normal ugly plus carriers that I had seen before. Since I was going to have to wear these glasses for at least 6 months, I decided I would spend the extra money, so I ordered them.
We paid for Grace’s new lenses, which were quite reasonable, and I paid for my new glasses, which were not very reasonable at all. It is very expensive to have really bad eyes if you are vain like I am. My glasses were going to take a week or two to come in, since they were a special order, but Lucy assured me that she would place the order as a rush order, and hopefully they would come in a little faster.
Mark had not seen Grace wearing glasses, and I wondered what he would say this Saturday morning when he came to pick her up. It was also going to be interesting to see his reaction to my wearing glasses again, because I knew that no matter how badly I saw with my old glasses, I was not going to wear my contacts at all this weekend. So when the doorbell rang I answered it wearing my jeans, a tank top and my glasses. I could see well enough to see the expression on Mark’s face when he saw me wearing glasses. And the look he gave Grace when he saw her wearing glasses was priceless.
“So princess, when did you get glasses?”Mark asked
“In Denmark daddy.I just got new lenses the day before yesterday though.” Grace told him.
“You better come in and I’ll make you a coffee Mark. I can tell you all about our trip, and Grace’s new glasses.” I said.
So, Mark came in, and I told him about Grace finding a pair of glasses at the airport in Copenhagen, and that she refused to leave unless I bought them for her. I also told him about trying weaker glasses as well as stronger glasses on her, but she wanted the ones she had selected. Then I told him that I had immediately contacted my eye doctor on our return so that Grace could have a proper eye examination. Mark was not surprised to hear that Grace had needed a slight increase after we returned home, and his explanation of that was that Grace’s eyes had gotten accustomed to the lenses and they didn’t have to work as hard, so once they relaxed some latent myopia showed up. This was basically what the doctor had told me.
“And you? What’s up with you wearing your old glasses? I know they are a lot too weak for you so why are you wearing them?” Mark asked.
So, I explained my contact lens problem to him, and told him that the doctor had refused to let me wear contacts until my eyes healed, which could take up to 6 months. He gave me the old told you so, but didn’t press it, so I kept my mouth shut. His coffee was finished, and Grace was packed so they left. I was waiting for the usual question, and if it came I didn’t know how I would answer it, but he surprised me.
“And after the 6 months is over, will you go back to contacts full time?” Mark asked.
“I don’t know yet. I might. But I know now I need to give my eyes a rest, so I will be wearing glasses a lot more. I might even wear them to work once in a while.” I replied.
Mark didn’t say anything further and he and Grace left for the weekend. When he brought her back Sunday night he dropped her off and didn’t even come to the door. I wondered about that, as he normally brought her in.
At work on Monday I wore my contacts, but I made sure I told everyone that I had been having a problem with my eyes, and my doctor had told me that I needed to go back to glasses to give my eyes a chance to heal. All that week I took out my contacts the minute I got home, and it was rather hard going from almost perfect correction back to glasses that were around -2D weaker than what I needed. The only advantage was that I found I could read a little easier with the weaker glasses. When I got a call at work on Friday from Lucy I was very pleased that it had only taken a week for my new glasses to come in. I was sick and tired of having such poor vision in the evenings when I was wearing my old glasses. I didn’t even dare to drive to the market after I had taken my lenses out, and it amazed me how often I had found that little trip convenient.
I left work an hour early that afternoon, making sure that I told everyone that my new glasses had arrived, and that I would be very happy to get them to rest eyes from wearing my contacts. I had mentioned to a number of colleagues that I had terrible eyesight, and had to wear a strong prescription, so I was hopeful that I had paved the way to an easy transition to glasses on Monday.
I loved my new glasses. They did take a little getting used to, as I had never before had to restrict myself to looking through the direct center of the lens. Oh, I suppose I had done this to a certain extent with my old glasses, because I had known that my vision wasn’t very clear unless I did look through the dead center, but now I had no choice, as I had no useful vision if my eyes strayed away from the bowl. And it did seem a little strange to have the weight of a pair of glasses on my nose again, but these glasses were very light compared to my old glasses. Lucy adjusted them so that they fit very tight to the bridge of my nose, and she explained that I needed to keep them there as the bowl was more visible to me if my glasses slipped down. I felt very good about myself and my appearance as I left the office.
When I got home I picked Grace up at the sitters. The lady who looks after Grace wears fairly strong glasses, and she took a look at mine and told me that they were a lovely looking pair. Grace saw me in my glasses and told me that I looked beautiful, but who believes a daughter anyway. Still, it made me feel better.
That evening it was quite a relief to be able to see the television clearly. And it was almost a pleasure to be able to get into bed, turn off the lights and take my glasses off rather than go through the routine of taking out my lenses and hoping that I hadn’t left anything on the floor that would trip me as I blindly found my way from the bathroom to my bed.
Mark wasn’t having Grace this weekend, so on Saturday Grace and I went to the mall. She needed a new dress for school, and I am a bit of a clothes horse, so I am always ready to buy a new pant suit, or a blouse, or anything else that catches my eye. All I found to buy for myself was a new novel by one of my favorite authors, and while I normally wait for the book to be available at the library, I just couldn’t resist buying it. The day was dark and it looked like rain, so hibernating for the rest of the weekend with a novel would be a good way to spend the weekend between cleaning and laundry. I was a bit self conscious walking around the mall. After all it had been about 11 years since I had been seen in public wearing glasses. We ran into a friend of Mark’s and his wife, and they both complimented me on my new glasses. And I had not felt that anyone was staring at me, so I was adapting to being a full time glasses wearer again. I did feel a bit sad that I no longer had a choice, but I realized that I had caused this problem myself, so it was a good thing that I was starting to feel better about my glasses.
Grace was having her 9th birthday the following Tuesday. Thursday evening Mark called, and asked me if I would like to join him and Grace for a celebration of her birthday on Saturday night. I am not a fan of the restaurant that Grace wanted her dad to take her to, but I agreed to meet them at the restaurant. This was the first time that Mark had asked me to go anywhere with him since we had separated, and I was wondering if the reason was because he knew I would now be wearing glasses again. It was a hard position to be placed in. I still had feelings for the man, but he had left me, so that indicated that he didn’t love me as much as I had loved him.
Friday night Mark came by and picked up Grace. I met him at the door, and when he looked at me he whistled, and told me that I looked hot in my new glasses. Nothing more was said though, and he and Grace drove away. The following evening I met them at the appointed time for a small birthday celebration for Grace. Neither Mark, nor Grace had said a word to me about Grace inviting a few of her friends along, but there she was, with 6 of her school friends. The evening went well, and Mark and I parted company in a friendlier mood than we had been for quite a while.
The next week Mark phoned me one evening and asked if I would like to go to a show with him on the weekend. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to have him back in my life, but I did still like the man. I had not pried into his life during the period we had been separated, but I was pretty sure that he had not done any dating. Grace had never mentioned a girlfriend being in the picture, and none of our mutual friends had said anything about seeing Mark with another woman. I was reticent about it, but I did accept his invitation. After the show Mark dropped me at the door, and made no move to attempt to kiss, or touch me. I wondered about this, but in a way I was also pleased that I wasn’t being forced into a decision, which quite frankly I wasn’t prepared to make.
Mark sometimes picked Grace up on Friday, but mostly he waited until Saturday morning. The next weekend he came by Saturday morning and I invited him in for coffee. We sat and talked like we hadn’t talked for years. I immediately realized that there had been something missing from our marriage for a long time, and I was saddened that I had not noticed this before.
‘I know that you said that you were leaving because I would no longer wear glasses for you anymore, but I am now getting the feeling that there was more to it than that. Am I correct Mark?” I asked.
“Yes, you are. The glasses thing was only the tip of the iceberg. You had been so busy with your job that we were growing further and further apart every day. As long as you wore your glasses once in a while I was able to remain interested in you, even if our sex life had dropped off to almost nothing. But when you refused to even consider wearing glasses even once in a while for me I realized that I no longer had an integral part in your life.” Mark replied.
“I am beginning to see that now Mark and I am sorry. I still love you and I think that you know that. Maybe we would have been better to go to a marriage counselor last year.” I replied.
“Well, I still love you very much as well. I have not even attempted to go out with anyone else over the last year. Does that mean that you might consider giving it another go together?” Mark asked.
“I think I would Mark. But you must realize that things are still totally crazy at work, and you might again feel that you are being ignored.” I replied.
“I am sure that I can take that for the next 6 months. But if you do stop wearing your glasses and go back to contacts full time we might have a problem.” Mark replied.
“I will let you in on a little secret Mark. Even if I do go back to contacts, I am going to have to wear glasses a lot more now so I don’t damage my eyes permanently. And I have found over the last few weeks that I actually like wearing these glasses.” I answered.
“Well, you do look extremely attractive wearing those glasses.” Mark told me.
Mark still took Grace to his place for the rest of the day and Sunday. When he brought her back Sunday night he brought a suitcase with some of his stuff, and that night I had a man in my bed for the first time since the day he left.
After Mark had completely moved back in we got along better than we had for quite a while. And Grace loved having her dad back home. I had not realized how well that they got along together.
When the time came for my 6 month checkup to see if I cold go back to wearing contacts, Mark wanted me to take Grace along for a checkup as well.
“No Mark, I am not going to rush Grace off to the eye doctors for an eye exam every 6 months or less. I don’t know if my having such frequent eye exams made my vision get worse faster or not, but it really doesn’t matter about me. My eyesight is already very poor without correction. What is important is our daughter. Yes, I want her to have the proper correction, when she needs it. But, unlike me, I don’t want to see her rushed into stronger and stronger lenses. If she seems to be having a problem seeing things, then she will have her eyes tested, and will get stronger lenses if she requires them. Can you go along with me on this?” I asked.
“You must realize that I didn’t make you have your eyes examined every three months because I wanted you to get stronger glasses honey. I did that because you were squinting at things, and seemed to need frequent changes in your prescription. And of course I don’t want our daughter to have strong glasses. I am satisfied to only have her go for an eye exam when you feel it’s necessary.” Mark replied.
Mark said the right thing. I still think that for me he rushed me into more frequent eye examinations than I needed, but I couldn’t prove it, nor did it really matter. When I visited the doctor he wanted me to go another 3 months without contact lenses, so I did, and when I came back 3 months later I got my new contact lens prescription. And I did order new lenses, although I had gotten so accustomed to wearing my new glasses that I was in no hurry to go back to wearing contacts. I think it was just out of my stubbornness that I did wear contacts to work every once in a while for the next few months. But, I didn’t even get a rise out of Mark the days I did wear my contacts, so my wearing of contacts remained on a very limited basis.
It had been almost 18 months since Grace had gotten her proper glasses when Mark mentioned to me that he thought that Grace might need an eye exam. I watched her closely, and I decided that Mark was correct, so we made an appointment for her to have her eyes checked again. Her new prescription ended up having to be -3.50D, and this time I bought her a complete pair of glasses.
Over the next few years Grace went down the same slippery slope of myopia increases that I had gone through. Mark was very good about not rushing her in for an eye exam, but he did seem to spot her squinting at things long before I noticed it. But then again, my own eyesight was pretty lousy I had needed a few prescription increases as well, and by the time Grace was 16, she was wearing -15D lenses, and I was up to -22.50D for my own prescription.
I often wonder if there have been any other little girls who found their first glasses in an airport convenience store.