It had been a very satisfactory day. I had started out putting slightly higher plus contacts in so that I could wear a pair of much thicker, but only a diopter or so stronger glasses than my regular hi index -18's. I had then visited a couple of optical shops checking on their recommendations for a new pair of glasses. Much to my surprise I had found an optician with a lot of knowledge about high myopia, and the resultant problems. After leaving the optical shop in the mall, and not wanting to change back to my lower power contacts I had just put on my regular hi index unisex -18 glasses, which I had found I could wear quite satisfactorily if I jammed them tight into my nose. I had changed glasses just in case I ran into someone I knew, and the other thick lensed glasses would have been a dead giveaway. So far, luck had been with me and my little hobby.
As I drove across town, I noticed a new ice cream store, and I had the urge for a cone. So, I pulled in to a parking spot and went inside. The first thing that caught my eye was a young lady who I guessed to be about 5 years old. She was licking on a cone, and I noticed the rather strong pair of minus lensed glasses that she had. Probably about -12 or -13 I thought. Then I noticed her brother, who was a bit younger, and was wearing a pair of glasses in a similar prescription. I had glanced at the mother first from a distance, but I had not seen the glasses until I got close enough to notice that she also wore a very nice pair of oval rimless with the anti reflective coating in about a -6 prescription. I remarked to her that it looked as though the kids had the same vision problems as I did, and she replied that they did indeed have very poor eyesight.
"Congenital Myopia. " she added " Just like my mother and my younger sister."
I thought that she had pointed at the girl behind the counter, who was face down into an ice cream container making another cone. I have never been too sure of what consists of a double take, but if there is such a thing, I did a double take. The young lady making the cones was wearing glasses that were at least an inch thick at the edges, and with every scoop she took, the glasses slid lower and lower down her nose. Just when I thought that they were going to fall off into the ice cream she took the hand holding the cone and pushed them back into place. She finished the one cone and stood up to give it to the boy, who happily started licking it.
I was able to get a good look at her glasses, and with my practiced eye I noticed that the front of the lenses were not curved in. The rear curvature of the lens went right to the edge of the small frames she had on, so I knew that she was only about a -16 or so. She then went about making a cone for the lady that I thought must be her sister. It was a joy for a glasses lover like myself to watch. The ice cream must have been fairly hard, as she had to really jab at it with the scoop. And, as I mentioned before, every jab caused her glasses to slide a little lower on her nose, until at the last minute she would push them back up. I hated to see the cone finished, but it was, and the lady left the store with the 2 young myopes in tow.
I asked for a double scoop. I never get a double scoop, but I just couldn't help myself. And sure enough, the process was repeated. Just as she was finishing the second scoop she had to push her glasses up again, but this time either the edge of the frame was too slippery from the many times she had pushed, or she caught the glasses wrong, cause off they went, down among the ice cream tubs, falling to the bottom of the freezer. There was a moment of absolute silence. I knew that she couldn't see a thing, and that she was probably in a panic hoping that they had not broken.
"They're all right." I said.
"Can you help me find them mister." she spoke, with panic in her voice.
"I'll let you have my glasses so that you can see yours, and fish them out without doing any damage." I reassured her.
"My eyes are too bad mister. There is no way I can see out of your glasses." was her reply.
I told her that she might be surprised, that in fact my glasses might be more powerful than hers, and I took them off and handed them to her across the counter. She put them on, and I told her to slide them up her nose starting at the tip until she reached a point where she could see. And, as I suspected, she was about half an inch from the bridge of her nose when she told me with surprise in her voice that she could see.
The glasses came safely up from the bottom of the freezer, and she took mine off, handed them back to me, and put hers on. They immediately froze up, and she could see nothing through the frosted lenses, but after a minute of so in the warmth of the store, small circles started to clear in the very center of the lenses. I suggested that she head for the washroom to clean her lenses, and she went off to do so.
When she returned I noticed that she had also fixed herself up a bit - fresh lipstick, combed hair and of course clean glasses. She was about 18, and very pretty, although a bit on the heavy side.
"I never ever saw anyone with glasses that were stronger than mine mister." she said. " How come they are so much thinner than mine."
I told her about the high index lenses, and after chatting for a few minutes about lenses and vision problems I suggested that she come and sit at a table with me. She said she would if I could wait a few minutes, as her relief was due in a few minutes. So, I slipped out to the car, and brought in my bag of similar prescription glasses. I sat and waited a few more minutes, and sure enough her assistant arrived, and my myopic girl came to sit with me. I got out a pair if biconcave oval -18's, put them on, and handed her the glasses she had used to fish her own from the ice cream tubs. She examined them closely, and I explained that they were plastic, hi index lenses with an anti reflection coating in a small oval frame. The edges of the lenses were just about a half inch thick at the thickest point. After examining them, she took her own glasses off, and put mine on. She adjusted them for the best distance vision, and then asked me if she could go look at herself in a mirror. When she returned she was very excited at how nice they looked on her - and she was right. She looked fantastic wearing them. I had slipped my other glasses off, and had tried hers on while she was gone. I figured I was pretty close with my original guess of about -16 - maybe a bit of astigmatism, but not a lot. She was full of questions about the lenses, and I answered her as well as I could - being fairly sure of what was available in her area thanks to my conversation with the knowledgeable optician back at the mall.
I was extremely anxious to ask her a few personal questions, and after a bit I had done as much informing as I could, so I gradually steered the conversation into the personal side. She had been born with congenital myopia, inherited from her mother, who's eyes were in around the same range as hers were. It was her older sister, with the two myopic children that had been in the store when I arrived, and both the children also had inherited the congenital myopia. Unusual, but not unheard of. And, she told me that both children had started out with a similar prescription to hers when she first got glasses. I remarked that it looked as though the boy's eyes were worse than his sisters, and she confirmed that the boy was waiting to get a new pair of glasses with even a stronger prescription. But, it was her eyesight that I was interested in, so I steered the conversation back to her.
She had worn glasses from the age of about 8 months, staring out with about a -10. Throughout school her eyes had gotten worse every year, until at around 14 her doctor had put her in contact lenses. From that point on she had not worn glasses, except to find her way to bed, and back . No one had even seen her in glasses until about a week ago, when unfortunately, she had developed a bad eye infection. She had gone for a few days only wearing one contact lens, and somehow her other eye had gotten infected also. I suspected GPC, but she didn't know what conjunctivitis even meant. All she knew was that her doctor had told her that she had damaged her eyes, and probably would never be able to wear contacts again.
I felt like cheering, as I have been having a hard time lately finding attractive ladies with strong prescriptions to look at. Everyone seems to either be wearing contacts, or they have had eye surgery. But, she was so young, and attractive, that I felt sorry for her. She told me that she was working to try to save money for college, and that she would never be able to save enough for new thin lensed glasses as well. I knew her first name was Lynn from her name tag, and I asked her if she minded telling me her last name. She gave me a puzzled look, but told me her name. I jotted it down in a notebook. I then wrote down my name, and a mailing address I use, and I told her that she would find an account in her name with the optical store in the mall that had the knowledgeable optician. Once she had her new glasses, all I asked in return was that she send me her old ones, and if she wished, a picture of her wearing her new glasses.
I wished her good-bye, and good luck, and left the store. I returned to the mall, searched out my friendly optician, explained what I wanted, and left there a lot poorer, but more satisfied that I had helped out someone that actually needed it, rather than buying myself another pair of unnecessary glasses