Inez reflected back on her life. Where had it gone? What had she accomplished? With that she chuckled. "Nothing much," was her answer to herself, but there were a few young ladies out there that had her to thank for the way they saw the world.
Inez had been born to a very poor farmer and his wife in the mountain ranges of Mexico. She was the oldest of 4 children, and when 2 more girls had been born with no son in sight, her father had breathed a sigh of relief when the 4th child was a son. Where they lived, there was no mechanical means of farming, it was all manpower, and the girls were just not as strong as the boys were.
In the village there was a school, a one-roomed school where a nun from the church taught the children the basics of reading and writing. And, since the nun was American, she also taught the children a bit of English. Inez was a willing student, and when she learned to read, she could not get her hands on enough of the English language books that the nun loaned her. These books were on every subject imaginable. There were murder mysteries, biographies, and even romance novels. Inez would loose herself for hours in a good romance.
If Inez had been born in the USA, she would have been a top scholar. It also would have probably been discovered that Inez was an extremely nearsighted young lady. By the time Inez was 14, she knew that there was something wrong with her eyes. She was unable to see anything more than a few feet away from her with any clarity. But, Inez was a poor Mexican girl, so there were to be no glasses for Inez.
Don Pedro was "the Man". Every year he selected some of the girls from the village to take into Mexico City. There he would find them work, and the money that they earned would be returned to their family to buy them food and clothing. At 14, Inez was ready to leave her family.
The job in Mexico City was a sewing job, and for months on end Inez slaved away, her eyes coming closer and closer to her work as she became more and more nearsighted. Finally her supervisor Jose discovered that Inez was making more mistakes than the other girls. Instead of taking her to have her eyes examined, and getting her glasses, they fired her, and she was out on the street.
One of the older ladies that Inez worked with was also quite nearsighted, and she had let Inez look through her glasses. Inez didn’t know it before this time, but after wearing the other ladies glasses for a few minutes, she realized that her vision could be fixed with a pair of glasses. So, once Inez was on the street, she resorted to selling her body, and she took all the money she earned and purchased herself a pair of glasses. The doctor had told Inez that –12D was a very powerful prescription, but Inez didn’t care. She could see. It was wonderful.
Inez thought about going back to the seamstress job, but another girl from her village had come to work there, and she had told Inez that her family had all been killed during the rains, when a mudslide had destroyed their house a few months previously. Don Pedro had never said a word about this to Inez. He had just gone on collecting her wages, which were supposed to be sent back home to her parents, and giving her a meager allowance to live on. So, Inez knew that she had to get away from Mexico City. She tried to sell her body again for a while, but she discovered that the rich tourists were not interested in a little girl with thick glasses. But, now that Inez had become accustomed to wearing glasses, she found it impossible to take them off. This was a classical catch 22 situation, one that Inez had to solve.
Inez saw an advertisement for young Mexican girls to come to the USA on a work permit program to become nannies to rich pampered American children. Since one of the requirements was a working ability to speak, read and write English, Inez knew that she had a chance. She took, and passed the tests with high marks.
Soon Inez was living in a doctor’s house in an affluent Los Angeles suburb. Inez was pretty upset that there was so much waste. This was far different from what she had been accustomed to. But, she had a nice room over the garage, with a little kitchenette. She had 2 children to look after, girls, one age 2 and the other age 4. They were really darling children, and Inez was enjoying herself immensely. She also had access to the family computer, and once Inez had earned enough money she purchased her own computer for her little apartment. She did a lot of research on her own vision problems, and she discovered that myopia was quite common, even admired in the technological world that she was now living in.
Inez had learned that a lot of reading from an early age, along with a diet of refined foods, and a lot of sugar were thought to be key factors in the development of childhood myopia. And, it also helped a lot if the parents were also myopic. Inez knew that the doctor was quite nearsighted, because he had commented to Inez that they both had a similar prescription one day. One day when Inez was in the master bedroom, she looked in the bedside table and noticed that her mistress’s glasses were in a case. She took them out, and tried them on. They were not as strong as her own glasses, but they were pretty strong.
So, Inez decided that she would attempt to make the 2 girls, both nearsighted. The girls loved the fact that they got to eat more junk food, and drink more soda. Inez made sure that they both sat quite close to the television screen, and Inez also made sure that the girls both spent a lot of time reading during the day. And, when she took them outside, she made sure that they both wore dark sunglasses, and didn’t stay long in the outside environment.
The older girl was now 5 and was going to school. When she came home Inez made sure that she spent a lot more time doing homework. The younger girl was quite content to stay inside with Inez throughout the day, doing close work such as coloring, and watching Disney videos. By Christmas time the 5 year old was sent home from school with a note suggesting that she have her eyes examined during the holidays. Since their mother was working, she let Inez make the appointment, and Inez made one for the younger girl as well.
It didn’t surprise Inez, whose name had now been shortened to Ina by the family, when it was discovered that both girls were nearsighted. And Ina was pleased to see that the younger girl, with a prescription of –1.75D was –0.75D more myopic than her sister. So Ina reported back to the doctor and his wife. Again they were busy, and Ina was told to take the girls to the local one-hour optical store for their glasses. The girls were both happy to have their new glasses, and the resulting improvement in vision.
Ina didn’t let up. She made sure that the 2 girls had lots of junk food whenever they wanted, and she made sure that they spent all of their time reading and doing close work. Ina had read that sleeping with a night-light on could also increase myopia in young children, so Ina got the girls a night-light, which they really liked, because they could see to go to the washroom in the middle of the night. The girls had each gotten 2 identical pairs of glasses, and Ina had made sure that they both got glasses with exactly the same frame sizes. Then every 6 months she would take the girls back to the eye doctor, and tell him that she had noticed them squinting, and having a hard time seeing things clearly. Of course the doctor was only too happy to give each girl an increase, because in reality he worked for the optical store, and his profits were based on the sales of glasses. By the end of the second year the younger girl was wearing lenses that were –3.75D, and her older sister was wearing –3.50D. The parent’s hadn’t noticed a thing, as they were too busy with their own world.
It seemed that as the girls grew older, and their glasses got stronger the increases every 6 months got larger. By the time 2 more years had passed the 9 year old was wearing –7.50D. Her younger sister was wearing –7.75D, and the increasing thickness was getting a bit hard to hide from the girl’s parents. And, Ina, who’s own prescription was now –15D, knew that soon the girls would be wearing plano fronts for their lenses. So, when she took them in for their eye exam, she knew that this was likely the end. She had gone as far as she could go.
Ina was thrilled with the results of the girl’s examinations. The older girl had not only adapted to every increase the doctor had pushed on her, but had also increased another –1.25D. Now she was –8.75D. Her younger sister had only jumped 0.75D, and the roles were reversed. Knowing that there would never be another chance Ina couldn’t help herself. She added another –0.50D to each of the girl’s new glasses by changing the prescription the doctor had given the girls. Ina also added –0.75D to her own prescription, and got herself a new pair of –15.75D glasses. And, Ina knew she was correct in her thinking that she would no longer be able to increase the girl’s prescriptions by going back every three months as she had been doing. So, when the girls decided on completely different frame choices, Ina went along with their choice.
When the girls showed up in their newest pair of glasses, both the doctor and his wife appeared shocked at how strong a prescription their daughter’s had needed. Ina knew that she had accomplished all she could do. After 6 more months had passed, Ina felt that she should move on. She started looking for another family that she could be a nanny for. Her requirements were simple. She wanted to look after girls, she needed her own apartment, and she wanted one or both parents to be nearsighted. Also, the youngest had to be out of diapers, with the older one being only 18 months to 2 years older.
Ina found a family that seemed to suit her requirements. She gave the doctor and his wife 2 months notice. Just before it was time to leave, Ina made a couple more prescriptions for the girls, and went off to the same optical store they had last used. Using her own money she purchased identical glasses to the ones the girls now wore. She switched the glasses late at night, and the girls both remarked the following day on how much better they could see that morning. So, Ina knew then that she had accomplished what she set out to do. The 10 year old was now wearing a –9.75D prescription, and her younger sister was wearing –9.50D.
The following 5 years that she spent with the next family found Ina repeating her experiment step for step, with almost identical results. The only difference in this second experiment was that the younger daughter seemed to thrive on the increased prescriptions, and by the time Ina was ready to move on the younger daughter was wearing –13.00D glasses at only 8 years of age. Her older sister had been a success as well, although at age 10 she was only wearing –10.50D.
Ina kept in contact with her original charges, and the older girl, now almost 16, was wearing –15D contact lenses. Her younger sister was still wearing glasses, and had a prescription of around –17.00D, slightly stronger than the –16.50D that Ina wore.
Ina couldn’t understand why she felt she had to do this. She even considered going to seek out professional help, as it seemed to be a real compulsion to her to help make the girls all very nearsighted. It was almost as if she was trying to punish them for her own myopia.
She found another family to work for. Again the requirements had all been met. However, this time it wasn’t going to be quite as easy. The mother had some pretty strict rules on what the children were to be allowed to eat and drink, and sugars, and refined foods were not allowed. Ina almost considered quitting, but she decided that it wouldn’t hurt her to tough this out.
It took Ina a while to figure out what to do. She simply made sure that the children did a lot of reading and close work, frequently in poor lighting conditions. She very seldom let the children go outside, and made sure that they watched movies and television when they were not reading. After about a year of this, she was pleased to see the girls starting to squint at things in the distance. Ina didn’t say anything to the parents, but soon the older girl was sent home from school with a note from her teacher suggesting a vision exam. So, both girls were prescribed glasses for –2.00D of myopia. Then Ina began taking the children to the doctor for eye examinations every 3 months as she had done with her other charges.
After 5 years, Ina had been successful, but she was disappointed, because the girls only wore prescriptions in the –8.00D range. So, Ina left the family, even though she had not lined up another job. During this 5 year period Ina had written herself a couple of stronger prescriptions and had managed to push her own prescription upwards by a couple of diopters, so now Ina herself was wearing a pair of hi index lensed glasses with a –19.50D prescription. And while living with this family Ina had met a nice man who was the groundskeeper for the family, and they had decided to get married.
So, Ina no longer had the freedom to pick and choose a family to live with. Sure, she could still be a Nanny, but along with her other requirements she also had to find a home that needed a gardener. But Juan was a pretty darned good maintenance man, so after a few months of searching Ina found a home that met her requirements. Juan and Ina set up housekeeping in a lovely little apartment above the garage.
One of the things that had initially attracted Ina to this family was that the oldest daughter wore myodisc lenses in her glasses at the age of 4 ½. Ina knew that myodiscs were only prescribed when a person’s prescription had reached over –20D, and this young girl had a prescription of –21.50D. Ina wondered if she was going to be able to do anything about creating a significant amount of myopia in the younger girl, since she would not have the ability to take both children to the eye doctor as easily as she had done with the other families. But, Ina loved the challenge. The 3 year old seemed to have fairly good eyesight, and the only way that Ina thought she could do anything to create myopia was to use her tried and true method of promoting a lot of close work. But this posed a problem as the older girl also wanted to do a lot of reading and coloring. However, the parents had told Ina to change the older girl’s myodiscs for a pair of older myodiscs with a prescription of –20.00D that she still had, and Ina made sure she did this every time the older girl did a lot of reading. It took about 6 months of very close near point work before Ina began to notice her youngest charge starting to scrunch her eyes up to look at the television. So, Ina mentioned this fact to the girl’s parents, and again Ina was given the responsibility to take both girls for a visit to the specialist that looked after the oldest girls eyes.
Ina wasn’t too surprised when the younger girl was given a prescription of –1.50D. The specialist wasn’t either. And Ina enjoyed talking with this specialist a lot. Most eye doctors had commented on Ina’s strong prescription, but Ina’s prescription, to this specialist in pediatric high myopia, was just a run of the mill strong prescription. Ina liked this doctor and she enjoyed listening to him tell stories about different patients he had. Ina especially liked hearing the story about the young girl who had both eyes that turned out, and required a prescription of +6D with prism at the age of 3. By age 4 this child had an operation to make her eyes focus properly, and her +6 had dropped to +4. Then the plus prescription had been eliminated by age 5, but a year later, by age 6 the young lady now required a –4D prescription. Then by age 7 the –4D had jumped to –7.50, and by age 8 she was a –12D. A couple of years later she required a prescription of –16.75D in both eyes. Ina would have loved to meet this young lady.
Chelsea got her fist pair of glasses, with the –1.50D prescription, and Ina made sure that Chelsea wore them all the time. After 6 months had gone by Ina took Chelsea back tot he doctor, and wasn’t surprised when Chelsea had an increase to –2.50D. After all Ina had been guiding her various charges upwards on the staircase of myopia now for a good 15 years.
One day, a couple of months after Chelsea had gotten the –2.50D glasses, when the parents were at work and the oldest girl was at school, Ina walked into the girls bedroom and found the youngest girl sitting at her desk her face buried in the pages of a coloring book. Ina didn’t think anything of it until she took a second look, and she saw that the youngest girl was wearing her older sister’s old weaker myodisc lensed glasses.
"Chelsea, Are you wearing Marlin’s old glasses?" Ina asked.
As soon as Ina asked the question Chelsea went to take the glasses off.
"No, you can leave them on if you want to Chelsea. But can you see all right when you wear them?" Ina asked.
"After I wear them for a little while I can see pretty good. But when I first put them on it takes a while before I can see up close. But I see good right now." Chelsea said.
"How long have you been wearing Marlin’s old glasses?" Ina asked.
"Just for a few days now." Chelsea replied.
"Do you like wearing them?" Ina asked.
"Oh yes, I really like wearing them Ina. Can I keep wearing them all day?" Chelsea asked.
"Well, you can keep wearing them until Marlin comes home, but then you will have to take them off. We don’t want Marlin telling your mommy and daddy that you have been wearing her old glasses." Ina said.
"Oh, Marlin doesn’t care. She let me wear them. She thinks it neat that I can see with her old glasses. Everybody else tells her that she must be blind without glasses, because they can’t see with them. But I can." Chelsea replied proudly.
"All right, but you have to take them off before your parents get home." Ina said.
But quite often the girls parents didn’t get home from their jobs in the city until after the girls were in bed and asleep for the night. And the girl’s parents had been away for the previous weekend, so Chelsea had worn Marlin’s glasses for almost 2 weeks from the time she woke up until the time she went to bed. On the Saturday morning Chelsea came downstairs wearing her own –3.50D glasses. Her mom was sitting down having a coffee, and Ina was preparing breakfast.
"Mommy, I can’t see very good with my glasses anymore." Chelsea said to her mom.
"How long has it been since Chelsea got her glasses Ina?" Lorraine, the mother asked.
"I think it has been around 3 months Missus." Ina replied.
"Well, I guess you had better take her to Doctor Jones as soon as you can get an appointment Ina. How is Marlin doing with her glasses?" Lorraine asked.
Oh. Marlin seems to be doing fine Missus. But I could take her also if you wanted me to." Ina said, hoping that she could avoid doing just that.
"No, I think it will be enough to just take Chelsea." Lorraine said as she looked at Chelsea who was sitting right in front of the television set with her face almost touching the screen. "My goodness, is that how close she has to get to see? Her eyes must be almost as bad as Marlin’s."
"Well missus, we could maybe try an old pair of Marlin’s glasses on Chelsea to see if she can see any better." Ina said.
"Oh Marlin’s glasses are so strong. There is no way Chelsea’s eyes could be that bad. But, I guess we could try some of Marlin’s old glasses. It wouldn’t hurt anything. Can you find them Ina?" Lorraine asked.
Ina went up to the girl’s room, and found 3 of Marlin’s old pairs of glasses. She brought them downstairs, and called Chelsea, who got up from her position right in front of the television, and headed for Ina’s voice. Chelsea tripped over a stuffed animal on the floor, and fell to the carpet. Lorraine rushed over to her and picked her up, cuddling her and soothing her tears.
"Didn’t you see dolly honey? She was right there in front of you." Lorraine asked.
"No, I didn’t see anything mommy. I was just heading for Ina’s voice." Chelsea said.
Lorraine took Chelsea by the hand and guided her over to the kitchen table, where Ina had the 3 pairs of Marlin’s old glasses. Ina took the oldest, weakest pair, and placed them on Chelsea’s face.
"How is that sweetheart? Can you see better now?" Lorraine asked.
"Everything is still blurry mommy." Chelsea said.
"Oh they are probably way too strong for you, and that is why things are not clear." Lorraine said.
"Let’s try the next pair." Ina said, and she changed glasses for Chelsea.
"Oh Ina, she won’t be able to see a thing. Can you see anything Chelsea?" Lorraine asked.
"It is a lot better mommy. Everything is only a little bit blurry now." Chelsea said.
"Here, try this pair child." Ina held out Marlin’s old myodiscs.
"Oh, these are perfect. I can see everything again!" Chelsea exclaimed.
"I can’t believe it. Just a few months ago Chelsea could see everything perfectly. Now both my girls have to wear those ugly myodiscs." Lorraine said with a great deal of disappointment in her voice. "Well, I guess if she can see wearing them we had better let her wear them. But make an appointment as soon as possible for her with Dr. Jones."
"I will Mrs. Lorraine." Ina said.
Ina made sure to tell Lorraine that Dr. Jones was booked for a couple of weeks, and that she had an appointment for him to see Chelsea on the Thursday of that second week. Actually, when Ina phoned the doctor’s office on the Monday the doctor could have seen Chelsea the following day, but Ina wanted Chelsea to wear the strong myodiscs for a while longer before she actually had a real eye examination.
Chelsea’s eye exam was scheduled after lunch, and Ina and Chelsea were sitting in the waiting room. The nurse looked at Chelsea’s chart, and then looked at the strong myodisc glasses that Chelsea was wearing.
"There is something wrong here. According to our chart this child has a prescription of –1.50D. Why is she wearing myodiscs?" Bonnie the nurse asked.
"She wore the other glasses for a few weeks, and then she couldn’t see anything. Just last weekend her mother tried some of her older sister’s old glasses on her, and Chelsea could see perfectly with Marlin’s old myodiscs. So we let her wear them, because she was bumping into things and tripping over everything." Ina said.
The nurse took Chelsea by the hand and led her over to the auto refractor. Ina knew that the nurse had found that Chelsea actually required the prescription that she was wearing because when Chelsea and Bonnie came back out to the waiting room Chelsea still had the myodiscs on. Of course Bonnie didn’t say anything about her findings.
"The doctor will be with you shortly." Bonnie said, and she disappeared into the rear of the office with the file.
A few minutes later Dr. Jones came out.
"Well young lady, my assistant tells me that you have become extremely nearsighted in a very short period of time." Dr. Jones said to Chelsea.
"I guess so." Chelsea mumbled.
"Well, come with me, and we will see exactly how nearsighted you are now." Dr. Jones said.
"May I come also?" Ina asked.
"Certainly you can. Maybe if you want to we can examine your eyes again as well." Dr. Jones said.
Ina wasn’t sure if she was still a little overcorrected, but since it had been quite a while since she had moved herself up to the –19.50D glasses she was wearing she felt that an eye exam wouldn’t hurt. And from the way the doctor had phrased it, it was going to just be a fast exam, at no charge.
"Yes, that would be nice. But I don’t have insurance, and I don’t have a lot of money." Ina said.
"Oh, don’t worry about that. I am a pediatric ophthalmologist, but I am interested in seeing the eyes of long time highly myopic adults from time to time. I will examine you for free. " Dr. Jones said.
So the doctor examined Chelsea’s eyes. When he was finished with Chelsea he put Ina in the chair, and examined her eyes very carefully. Ina noticed that he seemed to increase her prescription a few clicks, and she knew that her vision was much clearer with a stronger prescription.
"Well, this is one for the record books. In only 3 months Chelsea has jumped from –2.50D of myopia all the way up to –20.00D. Her sister’s old glasses are the perfect prescription for her. I have never before seen anyone who has developed –17.50D of myopia in such a short period of time. And I have measured her eyes. They are shaped like a football they are so elongated. We will have to watch her carefully to make sure she doesn’t have a detached retina. Her retina’s look very good right now, but she is very much at risk." Dr. Jones told Ina.
"I know what to watch for Doctor. I am also at great risk of a retinal detachment, and the doctors have told me to be very careful." Ina replied.
"Yes, and I have also examined your retina’s Ina. You do not seem to have any problem. Your eyes are extremely elongated as well. Do you drive?" Dr. Jones asked Ina.
"Yes, I do Doctor. I drove over here today. Is there a problem?" Ina asked.
"No, no real problem. I find that you need a slight increase in your prescription, but I was going to suggest that you not do anything about getting stronger glasses unless you were driving." Dr. Jones said.
"How much stronger Doctor Jones?" Ina asked.
Well, your present glasses are –19.50D in both eyes. To bring you up to 20/20 again we would need to increase you a minimum of –0.75D in each eye. That would make your new prescription –20.25D for each eye. I will write you a prescription for that now." Dr. Jones said.
The doctor wrote out a new prescription for Chelsea, as well as one for Ina. They left the doctor’s office, and drove home. Ina was anxious to get her new glasses ordered; She always felt a sexual urge whenever she was prescribed new glasses. She left the kids with Lorraine, and after telling Lorraine that Chelsea really needed the glasses that she was wearing Ina headed for her apartment over the garage. Juan was there, and she enticed Juan into the bedroom, where she willingly had sex with Juan. She knew that the sex would continue for a few days, maybe even a few weeks, until long after she had picked up her new glasses.
Ina had used white out and photocopied her prescription. The next morning she used the copier in the house to make some blank prescriptions. She added –1.50D to her own prescription, and now her prescription read –21.75D. Now she was going to order herself a pair of myodiscs. She had been very envious of Marlin when she first met her because Ina had always wanted to wear myodiscs, but hadn’t had a strong enough prescription before. Then, later that day Ina and Chelsea headed for the optician’s to order new glasses.
The optician tried to sell Ina a new pair of glasses with very high index biconcave plastic lenses. But Ina was adamant that both she and Chelsea should have myodiscs. Finally that was what was ordered. Two weeks later when Ina picked up the glasses, when she put hers on she felt wonderful. She let the optician fit Chelsea with her new glasses, and they left the store together, the nanny and the child both wearing myodiscs.
Ina was 32 years old. She was rapidly reaching the age where she either had to have a child of her own, or else forget the idea of ever having children. But she and Juan didn’t have enough money to live anywhere else but in the apartment above the garage. Getting her own myodiscs finally made Ina decide that she was going to have a child, even if it meant loosing her job.
It didn’t take long before Ina was pregnant. While she was pregnant Ina noticed that any overcorrection that she had been experiencing was gone, and in fact she was having trouble seeing clearly. So Ina wrote herself another prescription, adding another –1.75D. When the baby was born Ina noticed that now her overcorrection was a little stronger than she would have liked it, but she was determined to keep wearing her –23.50D glasses.
Lorraine didn’t dismiss Ina because Ina was having a baby. She actually took a month off work herself to look after her own kids. While Ina was nursing, and Lorraine was at home, Lorraine took Marlin and Chelsea for their eye exams. Both girls required stronger prescriptions. Now Chelsea’s new prescription was –24.00D, and was stronger than Marlin’s –23.50D prescription.
When Maria, Ina’s baby was 2 years old Ina spent a lot of her time teaching Maria how to read. Marie soon loved to read and color, and do almost any activity that could be done up close. When Maria was 3 Ina took her to see Doctor Jones, and told the doctor that Maria didn’t seem to be able to see anything that was any further away than the end of her nose. Ina was thrilled to have the doctor prescribe glasses for Maria that had a prescription of –5.00D. This was the best result that Ina could have hoped for. And, within 6 months Maria had increased to –7D. Before she was of school age Maria was wearing glasses with a prescription of –10D, and Ina would gaze lovingly at her nearsighted daughter through her own strong myodiscs, which now had a prescription of –25.00D in them
Ina and Juan continued to live in the apartment over the garage even after Marlin and Chelsea went off to university. Maria was their only child, and Ina had managed to bring Maria up to a –25.00D prescription that matched her own by the time she was 18. But Ina didn’t feel the urge to go on to induce myopia in any other children. She was satisfied now, and when Marlin and Chelsea came home from university Ina loved to look at Chelsea’s –32D myodiscs. Marlin’s were a bit weaker, and were only –30D.