The glasses wore heavily into my nose, and I wanted very badly to reach up, and remove them for a few minutes. However this was impossible, as I was standing in front of my grade 11 history class, and if I removed my glasses I wouldnít have been able to see a thing. I did adjust them, and for a while they didnít feel quite so heavy. As soon as the class ended and the kids filed out on their way to the next class I sat at my desk and removed my glasses. It felt good to rub my nose and massage the area where my heavy glasses sat. I held my glasses in one hand, about 6 inches away from my eyes, and all I could see clearly was the tips of the earpieces that were only about an inch away. The circles in the lenses were visible, but I could see nothing through them, so I gradually brought the glasses closer and closer to the bridge of my nose, looking in wonderment as the powerful lenses gradually brought everything into focus. For the 37 years that I had worn glasses, I still had a feeling of excitement every time I did this.
In 1963, when I was 13 years old I found a very strong pair of minus glasses on a bus. Any other kid would have turned them into lost and found, but I couldnít bring myself to do that. Ever since I was old enough to know what glasses were I had been enthralled with them. I had wished many times that I could wear glasses, but every time I had my eyesight checked by the school nurse I could read all of the lines that I needed to on the eye chart. To find those glasses on the bus that day was almost like a message from above. I was meant to have them. At least, that is what I told myself, and that was how I justified keeping them.
When I got to my house with my prize I went directly to my room, where I removed the glasses from their case, and put them on my nose. I was disappointed that I couldnít see a thing through the lenses, but I was also thrilled to possess these very strong glasses. I wondered how the owner could possibly have left them on the bus, and the only thing I could think of was that he had been wearing sunglasses, and these glasses had fallen from his pocket. I watched the ads in the local newspaper for a few weeks to see if anyone advertised for them, but nothing appeared. And I sure wasnít going to attempt to return them to their rightful owner unless they placed an ad. I wanted those glasses, even though I couldnít possibly wear them. But at night, in the privacy of my own room I was able to remove the glasses from their case, and examine them carefully, to the point where I could describe them in minute detail.
In 1962 my uncle Harold had been posted to an air force base in Germany. He had taken his family with him, and while in they were in Germany my cousin Billy was fitted with a pair of soft contact lenses, which had just been invented in Czechoslovakia a couple of years previously, but were not yet approved for use in the USA. Billy had been born with aphakia, which means that his eye had no inner lenses, and almost from birth Billy had worn very thick glasses that made his eyes look like fishbowls. Since they could not yet buy these contacts back home, when my uncle and his family returned to the US, they brought a supply of these contact lenses home with them. It was a sad coincidence that shortly after their return my parents were killed in a car crash, and I ended up going to live with Uncle Harold and Aunt Sue when I was almost 15. But since I now shared a room with Billy, I was able to observe firsthand how he inserted and removed and cared for these 2 little pieces of plastic that he wore in his eyes.
I donít remember exactly when I first decided to try to put an old pair of Billyís contact lenses in my eyes. But I do remember that I inserted the right lens first. I remember then closing my left eye, and I was amazed at the blur that Billyís lens created. I also remember that I had a little problem removing the lens from my eye, but I didnít panic, and it eventually slipped right out. The second time I tried this, I got out my treasured glasses, and when I put Billyís contact lens in my right eye I put the glasses on over the contact. I was surprised to see that I could now almost see through the lens of the glasses. I didnít know enough about optics at this time to know that if I pulled the lens of the glasses away from my eye, and my vision got even blurrier, the contact lens was too strong for the glasses, but I did realize now that a plus contact lens of the correct prescription would cancel out a minus lens. So, I began doing a lot of experimenting. The first thing I did was take ďmy fatherísĒ glasses to have the prescription duplicated into a new pair for him, and that is how I discovered that the prescription in the glasses I had found was -18.50D in both eyes, with a very small amount of astigmatism. After a great deal of research I figured that I would need a contact lens with a prescription of +12 to offset the glasses prescription. But I had no idea how I could acquire the proper contact lenses
The summer of 1967, when I was 17, found me hitchhiking through Canada. I was amazed to discover that soft contact lenses were available in Vancouver, and I could just go in and tell the optician what prescription I needed. I had worn Billyís contact lenses enough to know that I required a base curve of 8.7, and a diameter of 14, so it was a simple task to give the numbers I wanted to the optician. They had to order the contacts, and it was going to take a couple of days, so I stayed in a hostel nearby. I hadnít brought my glasses, so when the contacts arrived I packed the glass vials carefully away in my backpack, and continued my journey.
The following year was my senior year in high school and I was able to try out my glasses and contacts on a number of occasions; however I was not able to find enough privacy to allow me to wear them for any more than a few hours. But, when I was 18, and graduated from high school I received a scholarship to a university that was quite a distance from Aunt Sue and Uncle Haroldís place. I knew I was going to become a full time wearer of strong glasses, so I was pretty sure that I would not be visiting them often, even though I was invited to return for Thanksgiving. The first day I showed up at the university was the day I started full time wear of my glasses and contact lenses combination.
I did have to return to my aunt and uncles for Christmas that year, but over the holidays I informed them that I was now working whenever I wasnít at school, and I would not be coming back for the summer. That was the last time I went without glasses, and I resolved never to do it again. I loved wearing my glasses.
My Aunt and Uncle wanted to come out for my graduation, but I advised them that I would be teaching in Europe that summer under a teacherís exchange program, so I didnít even go to my own graduation. I stayed in England teaching for the next 5 years, and when I came back I managed to obtain the position I have held ever since.
Of course I managed to purchase a selection of stronger and stronger contact lenses while I was in Europe. And there was no problem in purchasing glasses in whatever strength I wanted in Germany, so every summer during the school holidays I took a trip to Germany and returned with a few more diopters in my glasses. When I came back here I was 26 years old, and I was wearing -26D glasses over +17D contacts. I loved viewing the world through my thick, plastic lensed myodiscs.
While I had been away my uncle passed away, and when I went to visit Aunt Sue, I wore my glasses. Of course she commented on the fact that I now wore very thick glasses, but I simply told her and Billy that I had a problem with my eyes while I was at university, and they have just gotten worse and worse every year. Billy asked why I didnít wear contacts, and I told him that my eyes wouldnít accept them. Nothing further was said.
I was fortunate enough to be hired in a large senior high school out west as a history and an English teacher, and I have been at this school for the past 32 years. Not a soul in the world has any idea that the glasses that are continuously perched on my nose have to be worn over a pair of plus contacts in order for me to be able to see. And, for the past 14 years I have been wearing +20 contacts under a pair of -34D myodiscs. I took the original glasses that I found to an optical store 14 years ago, and I had new lenses put into the old frames. I have no idea who the maker of these frames was, other than it says S/OUSA on the inside of the silver bridge. They are aluminum, with a black coating, and there is a silver band that goes around the bottom of the lens to hold the lens in place. On the inner sides of the front where the temples are hinged it says 48ALUM on each side. I know this means that the lens width is 48 mm, and since it also says 22m/m on the bridge I know the frame is 118mm across. My lenses are a high index glass and my myodiscs circles measure exactly 30 mm. The fronts of my lenses are flat, as I requested, and, although I requested a flat carrier, there is a slight plus to the carrier in the rear. But I have gotten used to it, and I love glancing at myself as I walk past a mirror to see these glasses on my face. My hair is no longer blond, and what there is left of it has turned gray, as has the beard that I have worn for many years. When I look into my eyes through the myodisc circle I enjoy seeing the edge of my face inside the circles, and my eyes are small and tiny and set well back. They just scream ďreally weak eyesĒ to me every time, and I hope that others think this as well.
My life has been ruled by my glasses obsession, and while sometimes I have a regret or two, for the most part I wouldnít have had it any other way. I have dated from time to time, but have never wanted to get too close to any of the ladies I have gone out with. I could not, or should I say would not, ever have been able to give a logical explanation as to why I wore contacts under my glasses. A couple of these ladies that I went out with were quite nearsighted themselves, and when I conversed with them about glasses, once I heard them talk about how they hated their glasses, and could not understand how I could possibly wear glasses all the time, I knew they really would not be able to accept my desires.
During my career I have had 3 students who were progressive myopes. Two of them were girls, and one was a boy, and I quite enjoyed exchanging glasses stories with them. They each tried on my glasses while in my class and were amazed that my glasses were so much stronger than theirs were. I merely told them that this meant that they still had room for their eyes to get worse, but they certainly didnít like that idea.
So, I am a confirmed bachelor, completely set in my ways. Not a day goes by without me inserting my contact lenses the minute I get out of bed. I did try one day to go without my contacts and glasses, but it gave me such a headache I never tried that again. I suppose I should go somewhere where I am not known and have my eyes examined, because I have never had a proper eye exam, and I know this is not good. I donít know if I have become a little nearsighted on my own, or even if I might be farsighted without my glasses over contacts. I do know that with my glasses on I can still, at age 55, bring a printed document up to about 6 inches from my glasses and have no problem reading it. And, so far I have not had a problem passing my eye test at the DMV for my driverís license. I do know that there are a lot of people who take a second look at my glasses when I get out of my car and walk into a mall, but in the 10 years I have had this last car the only scratches on it are ones that other people have put on it in parking lots.
I have spent a lot of time over the years trying to analyze myself. I know I have a screw loose somewhere, because no one in their right mind would have done what I did 37 years ago. But every morning when I put on my glasses I feel that everything is right in my world. I have not hurt anyone by my actions, and the only person I have really hurt is myself. I have sentenced myself to a lonely existence in order that my secret will not be found out. Some days I think that when I retire next year I will remove my glasses, take out my contacts, and carry on with life. I would then have to tell people that I had my eyes operated on, but this would not be a problem, as so many people are having this done these days. But no sooner do these thoughts cross my mind than I start to shake in panic. I fear removing my glasses, as most of my life has been spent behind these lenses. The thought has even crossed my mind that I would rather be dead than to be unable to wear glasses any longer. And, of course that thought is crazy. If I could only go to a doctor to have the contact lenses permanently implanted in my eyes it would solve everything, and would be a wonderful solution. But I doubt that there would be any doctor out there that would even consider doing the operation, so there is no sense in me outing myself. I donít think I could stand the ridicule that would ensue, even if I was far away, where no one knew my name.
So, next year when I retire I will continue doing what I have done for the past 37 years. I will wake up, and without opening my eyes I will walk to the bathroom, wash my hands in the dark, turn the lights on, open my left eye contact lens case, remove the lens, use some of the multi purpose solution to rinse it off, and insert the lens in my eye. Then I will repeat the procedure with my right lens, and finally I will place my heavy, strong glasses on my nose where they belong. Then I will again be able to start another day, with my life being ruled by my glasses.