Her brain didn’t decipher everything that the doctor had been saying. The only words Donna had actually heard were, “You won’t be able to wear contact lenses for at least a month. Your cornea is going to require that long a period of time to heal.” Donna’s brain screamed “A month without wearing contacts!”
“I can’t do anything without my contacts in. I’m totally blind without them.” Donna said.
“You mean you don’t have a pair of glasses to wear?” Doctor Sajevo asked.
“I got contacts when I was 14 years old doctor. I probably still have those old glasses around somewhere, but my eyes are so much worse now they would be useless.” Donna replied.
“Yes, yes I can see that. Your first contact lens prescription was -5D for each eye, so that meant that your glasses, at age 14, would have had to be about -5.50D. According to my records you were prescribed your first glasses at age 11. They were -2D, and you got another pair the following year that had a prescription of -3.50D. Then the next year your prescription had climbed to -4.50D. So those old glasses that you have would be about -10D too weak for you.” Doctor Sajevo replied.
“I guess I will just have to wear my contacts for a few days until I can get a new pair of glasses Doctor.” Donna stated.
“Donna, you don’t understand what I have been saying. Your right cornea is badly scratched, and your left cornea is very irritated as well. You will not be leaving this office with your contacts in. And, if you even try to wear contacts before your corneas heal, you might damage your eyes so badly that you could go blind. But if you wear glasses until your eyes heal, you can likely go back to wearing contacts for 10 to 12 hours a day.” Doctor Sajevo told her.
“But doctor, I can’t see a thing.” Donna said.
“I realize that Donna. And, I am sympathetic to a point. I don’t want to lecture you, but I have often told you that you need to wear glasses in the evening, and on weekends to give your eyes a rest. If I had known that you were not doing this I would have refused to renew your contact lens prescription for you last year until you got a pair of glasses to wear. ” Doctor Sajevo replied.
“I know you told me this doctor, but my eyes never really bothered me before. What can I do now?” Donna asked.
“We do have a lens grinding facility here Donna, but usually we stay away from the higher prescriptions like yours. Your prescription requires a lot of expertise. But Tom is on duty today, and he used to work for a large optical lab where they did a lot of work with higher prescriptions, so maybe we can get him to help you out.” Doctor Sajevo replied.
The doctor led Donna out into the area where the opticians were, and all the frames were displayed. He sat her down in a chair directly opposite one of the girls.
“Cathy, can you ask Tom to come out from the lab as soon as possible. We need to talk to him about a problem prescription.” Doctor Sajevo said to a girl who was standing at a frame display. Then he spoke to the optician who was sitting across from Donna. “Linda, this is Donna. She has a very high prescription, and needs a pair of glasses immediately. She can’t see a thing, so I am hoping you can select a nice frame for her with a small eye size.”
“I think I have just the right pair to suit her face and coloring Doctor.” Linda replied as she walked over to the wall of frames and reached up to get a frame from the rack.
When Linda returned she had 3 pairs of glasses. She tried each pair on Donna and asked the doctor’s opinion of each pair. Then Cathy returned with Tom, and Linda asked Cathy and Tom for their opinions. They selected 2 frames for Donna, who could see virtually nothing unless she brought the mirror right up to her face.
“Tom, Donna doesn’t have a pair of glasses, and she can no longer wear contact lenses. Is there anything that you can do with this prescription?” Doctor Sajevo asked.
“It’s past the limits of our machinery sir. At my last job I have done lots of prescriptions that are stronger, but our machine here is only designed to do a maximum of -11D with up to -2.50D of cyl. Donna’s prescription is -14.25D x -1.50D x 90 for her right eye and -14.00D x -1.75D x 95 for her left. I really couldn’t do that properly with our equipment.” Tom replied.
“Is there not anything that you could do Tom?” Doctor Sajevo asked.
“Well, you own the place sir, and if you want me to do it, there is one thing I could try. I can use a lens blank with a -3D base curve. If I flip it around, then I only have to grind a prescription of -11.25D x -1.50D x 90 in the one blank and a prescription of -11.00D x -1.75D x 95 for the other. The chance of breakage or of ruining a lens is pretty high. Also, the lenses will be pretty thick, because I can only do this in the regular plastic, instead of the high index that this prescription really should have.” Tom replied.
“If we can do the thicker lenses immediately for around $100.00 for the pair I think we had better go ahead. Donna is functionally blind without a pair of glasses” Doctor Sajevo replied.
“I am pretty sure I can do that Doctor, but it will probably take me a couple of hours. Do you want me to get started?” Tom asked.
“What do you think Donna?” Doctor Sajevo asked.
“I don’t have any choice Doctor. I have to be able to see. I can’t miss any classes or I might loose my scholarship.” Donna replied.
“Well then, go ahead and get started Tom. Which frame will work best for you?” Doctor Sajevo asked.
“It doesn’t matter Doctor. Either frame will work equally as well. Which do you prefer Donna?” Tom asked.
“I can’t see either one of them properly. You choose.” Dona replied.
Tom took both frames back to the lab with him. Linda led Donna to a chair in the waiting room, and sat her down. Everything was a blur to Donna, and she was starting to get a headache, so she sat there with her head in her hands and her elbows on her knees, silently crying to herself. A few minutes later someone tapped her on her shoulder.
“Here Donna, try these on. Here is a pair of -10D display glasses that we use to show customers the difference between a high index -10D lens and a regular plastic -10D lens. I know they are way too weak for you, but you might be able to read with them.” Linda said.
Donna put the glasses on. Linda was correct; she could see well enough to read if she brought the magazine up fairly close to her face. So for the next hour or so Donna sat reading a magazine, wondering how she was going to show her face around her friends and classmates. Donna just knew her glasses would be thick and ugly looking. She thought her glasses were thick and ugly when she got her contact lenses, and she was never so happy in her life as to be rid of her glasses. Now, at age 21 her prescription was so much stronger than it had been at age 14 she could hardly imagine how terrible her glasses would look. For weeks she had been trying to attract the attention of Paul, one of the guys in her biology class. He hadn’t shown any interest in her so far, and she just knew that he would not even look at her twice if she was wearing her glasses.
“They are ready.” Linda said, and she held out Donna’s new glasses.
Donna took the display glasses off, and put her own glasses on her nose. She looked through the lenses, and she was amazed at how clear and black everything looked. But everything was so tiny. And when she moved her head from side to side straight lines went all wavy as she moved the lines through the lenses. She followed Linda over to the fitting table, and as she sat there Linda adjusted the way the glasses fit around her ears. Tom had waited to see what the glasses looked like on Donna’s face.
“I am sorry that I had to make your lenses that way Miss. If we had a couple of weeks I could have gotten you much nicer looking lenses. I had to use a -4D base curve and grind the rest of your prescription in the back. And, I didn’t have a thick enough lens blank, so you have ended up with an area around the lens that has no power, much like a myodisc.” Tom said.
“Well, I can see through them so that is the main thing. Thank you very much.” Donna replied.
Tom left, and Donna took a look at herself wearing her new glasses in the mirror. She gasped when she saw what she looked like, and she almost blurted out, “ I can’t wear these f……..n things.” But before she opened her mouth she realized that she had no choice but to wear these glasses, so there was no sense antagonizing these nice people who had gone out of their way to help her. She couldn’t blame them for the fact that her eyesight was practically non existent without correction. If anyone was to blame it was her father, who had also been nearsighted. But her father’s eyes were nowhere near as bad as Donna’s, so maybe she had to blame herself for all the reading she did with her book held right up to the tip of her nose when she was younger.
Donna looked at the image she saw in the mirror again. Her normally large eyes looked small and tiny behind the powerful lenses. Linda handed her a card with printing on it, and asked her to read the smallest letters she could. Donna had to move the card up quite close to her glasses, but she could see everything except for the very bottom line. Then Linda took her over to read an eye chart on the wall. Donna read down to the 20/20 line, although she had a little trouble with it. She paid Linda $159.95 for her glasses, and when Linda suggested that she might want to order a pair of much thinner hi index lenses so that they would be available for her to wear in a couple of weeks it took all of Donna’s resolve not to tell Linda that there was no way that she was going to be needing an expensive pair of glasses to wear. After all, the doctor had told her that she could go back to contact lenses in a month.
The drive home was strange. Everything looked so tiny compared to what Donna was used to seeing. But finally she arrived at her apartment, and went upstairs. Her roommate Susan was there cooking supper, and Donna could see Susan’s expression when she got a look at Donna wearing her glasses.
“Girl, that’s a major pair of glasses that you have on. I didn’t realize that your eyes were that much worse than mine.” Susan said.
“I don’t think my eyes are really that much worse than yours are. The numbers on my contacts are -12.50D and yours are -10.50D. I just think that these glasses look so strong because they had to make them in ordinary plastic instead of hi index.” Donna replied.
“Oh, I suppose that could be it. When I was younger my mom used to have to wear biconcave myodiscs that looked just like yours, and her eyes were around -20D. Now she has hi index lenses and her glasses look a lot better.” Susan replied.
“I have to wear these glasses for at least a month. I scratched my corneas.” Donna said.
“That’s too bad. But I told you that you should wear glasses sometimes to rest your eyes.” Susan replied.
“I know you did. Everyone did, but I didn’t listen. Now I have to pay the price. I was hoping to get Paul to ask me to the dance next weekend, but he sure won’t give me a second look now.” Donna told her.
Donna woke up the next morning and groped for her glasses on the nightstand. She found them and put them on. “Hey, it is nice to be able to see my way to the washroom” she thought to herself. She washed her face, and got ready for class. Usually Donna would have put in her contacts, done her eye makeup, and made herself look pretty, but she just didn’t feel pretty wearing these clunky thick glasses, so she skipped her makeup. As a result she was ready for her lecture in plenty of time. She strolled leisurely across the campus to the lecture hall, arriving early for a change. The doors were open, so she went inside and made her way to one of the seats closer to the front. She took out her book, and was engrossed in reading, holding it much closer to her face than she normally did when she felt someone sit in the seat next to her. She glanced over, and almost died. It was Paul. Why today of all days did he have to sit next to her?
“Hi Donna. Hey, I didn’t know you wore glasses. You picked an attractive pair of frames. They look good on you.” Paul said.
“They look like major coke bottles. How can you say they look good on me?” Donna replied sharply.
“Whoa girl, don’t bite my head off. I said the frames look good on you. The lenses do look quite strong, but while you get to pick the frames, which actually do look good on you, you have no control over the lenses that you require to see. Your prescription must be somewhere between -18D and -20D judging by the appearance of your lenses.” Paul replied.
“Well, they are not quite that strong yet. But I had to have a pair of glasses right away, because I had scratched my cornea. So they had to make my lenses from material that they had available, and could work with on their machine. My doctor refused to let me wear contacts until I could get a pair of glasses with nicer lenses. So, this is what I have to wear for about a month, or at least until my scratched cornea heals.” Donna replied.
“That’s understandable, and it is fortunate that you could get a pair of glasses right away. Have you any plans for next weekend? It is the homecoming dance, and if you were available I would love to take you?” Paul asked.
Donna couldn’t believe her ears. Here she was, wearing no makeup, and a pair of the thickest ugliest glasses imaginable, and the guy who hadn’t previously noticed her attempts to be friendly was now asking her to a dance. What was up with this?
“You haven’t even noticed me over the past 6 weeks since classes started. Now all of a sudden, the day I show up wearing glasses, you are interested in me. What is going on here?” Donna asked.
“Two things are going on. The first thing is that I find that I am more attracted to girls who wear glasses. To me a pair of glasses on a pretty girl is like a girl wearing jewelry. The second thing is that I have a policy to not ask out any girl who wears contact lenses until I first see them wearing glasses. I was attracted to you, but I have learned that it is better for me to wait until I see you wearing glasses so that I can determine if I am still attracted.” Paul replied.
“And now that you have seen me wearing glasses you are willing to ask me to a dance?” Donna questioned.
“Sure. You are a pretty girl, with or without glasses. But to me I find that you are more special wearing glasses.” Paul replied.
“If you don’t mind being seen with me while I have to wear these coke bottles, then I would love to go with you to the homecoming dance.” Donna replied.
Just then the professor entered the lecture hall, and Paul quietly whispered to Donna that he would love to be seen with her.
That night Donna’s head was spinning. She still couldn’t get over the fact that Paul had asked her out, after she had given up hope that this would ever happen. She told Susan what Paul had said, but Susan was understandably skeptical. Susan had not left the apartment wearing her glasses for the same reason that Donna hadn’t gotten and worn a pair of glasses. She just couldn’t believe that there were men out there who preferred women wearing glasses.
The following day after classes ended Donna went back to the optical store to price a pair of glasses with thinner, nicer looking lenses. The lenses alone, in the frame Donna was wearing would cost her about $300.00. Linda suggested that Donna buy a complete new pair of glasses, so that Donna could have the first pair as a backup pair in case she broke a pair. The new frame that Donna chose, and lenses would cost Donna slightly more than $400.00, but Linda assured Donna that these new glasses would look a whole lot better then the glasses she now wore. But, Donna couldn’t bring herself to order that new pair of glasses. She only had a limited amount of money, and if Donna spent $400.00 more on a new pair of glasses, she would not be able to afford new contact lenses when her cornea’s healed.
Homecoming weekend was wonderful. Paul was with her the entire weekend. And Paul surprised Donna by showing her that he was a really good dancer. By the end of the weekend Donna had fallen deeply in love with Paul. On Sunday evening Paul took Donna out to dinner at one of the off campus restaurants that the students frequented. While they were at the restaurant Paul introduced Donna to a number of his friends, who were also there. Donna was amazed that her thick glasses really didn’t seem to bother Paul at all.
“I have a dilemma Paul.” Donna stated.
“What is that honey?” Paul asked.
“I can get a new pair of much nicer looking glasses for around $400.00. But I only have a little over 3 weeks before I can go back to wearing my contacts. If I spend the $400.00, then I won’t have the money for new contact lenses, so I will have to wear glasses until I can save another $200.00 for contacts. What should I do?” Donna asked.
“I am the wrong person for you to ask that question of. I would love to suggest that you get the new glasses and forget the contacts. I don’t care if you ever wear contact lenses again. But, I know that there are lots of times where you will want to wear contacts, and I know that you feel better about yourself wearing contacts.” Paul replied.
“Will you still go out with me if I wear contact lenses?” Donna asked.
“My main concern was to see if I found you attractive wearing glasses and I do. So it wouldn’t matter to me if you wanted to wear contacts sometimes. I would rather have you wearing glasses, but I can’t demand that of you. It has to be your choice.” Paul replied.
“If I do choose to get a new pair of glasses will you come with me and help me pick a nice frame?” Donna asked.
“I would love to do that. Let me know as soon as you decide.” Paul replied.
So, a couple of days later, Donna and Paul went to the optical store together. The frame that Paul liked best was even more expensive than the one that Donna and Linda had chosen, and Donna was still hesitant about spending that much money.
“What if I spend $450.00 on these new glasses and we break up?” Donna asked Paul.
“I’ll make a deal with you. If we ever break up, I will buy you a new pair of contact lenses.” Paul replied.
It was incomprehensible to Donna that she would actually ever own another pair of glasses, much less plan to wear them all the time, but with Paul’s reassurance, and his offer of purchasing her new contacts should they split up, Donna decided to go for the new glasses.
When Donna got her new glasses a couple of weeks later she was much happier with the appearance of them. The high index lenses, with the anti reflective coating actually were quite thin in the smaller eye sized frame she and Paul had chosen. And, Donna noticed that objects didn’t move as weirdly when she swung her head as they had done in her other glasses. Paul explained to Donna that she had likely learned that she had to swing her head so she could look at things through the center of her lenses, rather than move her eyes inside the lenses, but Donna didn’t really care as long as she could see well.
Donna had been a little hesitant about wearing glasses for the wedding, but by then she realized that Paul really preferred to have her wear her glasses. And last week Paul and Donna celebrated their tenth anniversary. Paul still hadn’t had to buy Donna those new contacts.