Through Laura's Eyes
We were arguing again. Seemed that we did a lot of this.
"Come on Left, you told me that since I had the worst prescription I could be the main storyteller." I said.
"Well Right, your prescription was only –0.50D stronger than mine, so I don’t mind you acting as the main storyteller, but I want to have a chance to tell my side as well. After all, Laura is left handed, so I should have some pull." Left replied.
"Ok, I agree. Would you like to begin?" I asked.
"No, it’s fine if you go first." Left replied.
What a wuss. Here he was arguing, and in the end he was letting me go first anyway. Now I have to figure out just where the beginning was.
I suppose I really should start back around when Laura was 4. Laura was a precocious little child, and Rose, her mother didn’t really help much. Laura pretty well had Rose twisted around her finger, and things had gotten a whole lot worse since Laura’s father had left without saying a word one day. This made Laura very insecure, because deep inside she thought that she was the reason why Daddy had gone. She felt if Daddy had really loved her, he wouldn’t have left. But he had gone, and Rose was left to raise Laura on her own.
The only thing that would shut Laura up was a coloring book, and Laura would spend hours coloring. Laura was excellent at coloring. She seemed to always pick the right colors, and she never went outside the lines. Finally, when Laura was almost 5 she was tired of coloring, and she began reading a lot of books. Rose and Laura lived near a library, and Laura had her very own library card. Every other day Laura took out 3 books.
Left and I had been having problems. Laura was reading so much, with her eyes extremely close to her book that when it came time for Laura to put her book down we were often unable to see clearly for quite a while after she had finished reading. And sometimes Laura went directly from reading to watching television from a very close vantage point. We liked this better, as we found it easier to cope. We urged the cillary muscles to relax, and let us see things in the distance clearly again, but they told us that they had been cramped up for so long with the close reading that Laura was doing that it was going to take a long time, if ever, before they could relax enough to let us see clearly again. We needed some major assistance, so we pleaded with the brain to make Laura look away from her near point work frequently. Brain promised she would do her best, but her best wasn’t good enough.
Finally, Left and I had enough. After Laura spent a whole rainy weekend inside reading we found that there was nothing more that we could do. Even if we wanted to, we just couldn’t see clearly anymore. Laura was now nearsighted. It didn’t take long for Laura to discover that she couldn’t see clearly anymore, and she told Rose that everything looked blurry unless it was up close. Rose just shrugged her shoulders as if to say, " I told you that reading so much with your books too close to your face would hurt your eyes." But she didn’t say a word, and made an appointment for Laura with an eye doctor.
Left and I were not too happy about being trapped behind 2 pieces of plastic. And we discovered that Laura wouldn’t take off her glasses to read. We told Brain, and I know she tried to tell Laura, but to no avail. So, I suppose it was inevitable. After about 6 months of wearing her glasses, Left and I could no longer see things off in the distance clearly again. It was still better when Laura had her glasses on than it was when she took them off, but no matter how hard Left and I tried, we couldn’t overcome the blur. So, again it was off to the eye doctor for another eye examination. I still remember what the doctor said to Laura’s mother.
"Well Rose, I have had to double Laura’s prescription in just over 6 months. Has she been following my suggestion to only wear her glasses when she is in school, or doing things that require good vision?" the doctor asked.
"She has been wearing them all the time for everything Doctor. I tried to tell her that she didn’t have to, but she told me she didn’t like it when she couldn’t see clearly." Rose replied.
"Well, her prescription is now –2.50D for each eye. She will probably need to wear them all the time now," said the doctor.
And, as the doctor had predicted, Laura did have to wear her glasses all of the time. It took a little longer this time before this prescription became too weak for us to see clearly through. But finally the blur was just to great for us to overcome.
The doctor said, "Well Rose. Laura’s prescription has doubled again. Now in only 2 years she has gotten up to a –5D prescription. This is a pretty strong prescription for a young lady of only 8 years old. She is going to have to be careful with her eyes, and I will have to watch her closely, as she could be developing progressive myopia."
It was great to be able to see clearly again. But, as before, Laura didn’t do anything to improve, or help our situation. She still read a lot, without taking any breaks. She still held her reading material far too close to us for comfort. Every part of her visual system was screaming that they were being tortured. Brain even tried giving Laura headaches when she spent a long time reading up close, but all Laura did was take headache medication.
At her six month checkup the doctor didn’t increase Laura’s prescription. Left and I both knew that Laura needed a little stronger prescription, but we worked as hard as we could to enable Laura to see most of the 20/20 line on the eye chart, and we were thankful that the doctor did not given us even stronger lenses to see through. We were happy for the little bit of blur, because that released a bit of pressure on us.
However, by the time the next 6 month checkup rolled around Left and I could not make things clear enough to enable the doctor to leave Laura’s prescription where it was. Actually, the harder Left and I tried, the worse things got, and finally the doctor placed some special eye drops into us to paralyze the cillary muscles. This time we left the doctors office with a –7D prescription for Laura’s new glasses.
I think that it was around this time that we all gave up fighting. I do remember that for the next few exams the doctor gave Laura the drug Atropine to paralyze us so he could get a correct refraction. I also remember that every time we left his office we had an increased prescription. I won’t bore you with every prescription increase that Left and I had to suffer through, but I will tell you that by the age of 13 Laura was wearing a prescription of –14.25D for my correction. Left was a little upset, because he only required –14D at this time. We were unsure as to why there was now a slight difference in our prescriptions, and the only answer we could come up with was that Laura was left handed, and when she was writing she brought her right side of her head lower to the desk. This naturally brought me closer to her work.
By the time Laura turned 16 she had just been prescribed –17.50D for me, and –17.00D for Left. She wanted contact lenses in the worst way, but Rose wouldn’t buy Laura new glasses and contact lenses both at the same time. Even though Laura’s eye doctor had fitted Laura with a trial pair of contact lenses. Rose wouldn’t budge. I think the reason that Rose put her foot down was because she realized that Laura wasn’t any raving beauty or anything, and that buying Laura contact lenses instead of glasses would not magically transform Laura into a guy magnet.
Laura had saved up some of her own money. When the doctor had let her try on the contact lenses she had made careful note as to the base curve and the diameter, along with the brand on the vial of lenses. She knew that her lenses had to be 8.6, with a 14.5 diameter, and she knew that the lenses that the doctor fitted her with were Johnson lenses. So, it was a simple thing for Laura to go to one of the online lens suppliers, and order herself contact lenses. But, what Laura didn’t realize was that the contact lenses, which she had ordered from her glasses prescription, were going to be much too strong for us to possibly wear. Laura required a maximum prescription for me of - 15.00D for contact lenses, and it was most likely that her doctor would have tried her with a –14.50D lens first. Left could probably have gotten away with a –14.00D lens. But, now Laura had her contact lenses, which were –17.50D and –17.00D. These lenses corresponded with a glasses prescription of about –23.00D for me, and around –22.50D for Left. When the contact lenses arrived in the mail Laura opened the vials, carefully took out the lenses, removed her glasses and proceeded to pop in the contacts. When I opened my lids I saw everything with a gigantic blur. I asked Left how he was doing, and he told me he couldn’t see much of anything. We figured that Laura would realize that there was something drastically wrong, and take out the lenses. We prayed that Laura would take out the lenses and switch back to glasses. We knew Laura was stubborn, but we hadn’t realized that she was so stubborn that she would try to overcome a blur roughly equivalent to –6D of correction. It took more than a few days of intense focusing pressure on the part of Left and myself, along with the help of the cillary muscles. Even the Left and Right retina’s did the best they could to help us. Finally, after a couple of weeks had gone by, left and I had managed to elongate ourselves enough so that we could now see fairly well through these contact lenses.
Laura liked wearing contact lenses, and she never returned to wearing her glasses. As Left and I became more comfortable with our new, extremely elongated position Laura went back to reading as vicariously as she had previously. She insisted on putting more pressure on us, and of course the inevitable happened. Finally the massive overcorrection that Laura had forced on us matched the actual prescription that we had. And, of course, after that it didn’t take too long before things off in the distance were quite blurry again.
Laura had left school at age 18, and had gotten a job in a bookstore in a mall. This time she chose to go to an optometrist who practiced at the mall.
"Well young lady, I think you are the most nearsighted patient I have ever examined." Doctor Nye said.
"What is my prescription now Doctor?" Laura asked.
"Well, for contact lenses, you will require –18D and –17.50D. However your glasses will now have to be –24.00D and –23.50D. That is really quite a strong prescription." Doctor Nye said.
"What do you mean by that. Are my glasses and my contact lenses not the same prescription?" Laura questioned the doctor.
"Oh no, because your contact lenses are placed directly over your cornea they have to be much weaker than your glasses prescription." Doctor Nye informed Laura.
Laura didn’t say anything further to the doctor. Left and I figured that Laura had just realized that she had forced her own eyes to get a whole lot worse. Laura again refused to purchase a pair of glasses, so Left and I knew that we were going to get pushed even more, as Laura didn’t seem to be able to stop herself from reading.
During the next 4 years Laura didn’t make things easy for Left and I. By the time Laura was 22 years old her contact lens prescription was around –28D, and her glasses prescription was –43D for me, and –42.50D for Left. Laura had misused her contact lenses as badly as she had misused us, and finally Doctor Nye told Laura that he could no longer prescribe contact lenses for her. So, Laura ended up with a pair of clear myodiscs, and a pair of myodiscs that were darkly tinted into sunglasses. She didn’t have very good vision with her glasses, and she could barely see more than a few feet in front of her. But she still read as much as ever.
Finally, when Laura was 30, the retinas couldn’t take the stretching any longer. As much as Left and I begged them to hang on, they found it impossible to do so, and one day both left and right retina tore loose from us. Now Laura was blind. Rose rushed Laura to the hospital, and the doctor operated to attempt to reattach the retinas. But Left and I were so misshapen, and the retinas were so stretched that it was impossible. As hard as the doctor tried, he had no success.
Since Left and I are totally on our own, we cannot keep ourselves in the middle of the socket. So, Left might be looking at the floor, and I might be looking around the next corner. Rose has told Laura what we are doing, and Laura doesn’t like the idea that we are just wandering around the socket on our own. So, often when Left and I are lucky Laura will put on her old glasses because Rose has told her that she looks better with us minified and hidden behind the strong lenses. Even though the retina’s do not carry what we see to the brain, Left and I are at least able to look around and see what we have been missing. Sometimes when Laura and Rose go shopping, Laura will put on her prescription sunglasses. Rose will let Laura push the cart around the store, guiding Laura around every turn and corner. Left and I are able to see just fine, but with the retina’s hanging loose behind us, we are unable to transmit any messages to Brain. Both Left and I hope that Laura will continue to do this, and we both hope that Laura doesn’t break her old glasses. When Laura doesn’t put her glasses on, it is just impossible for Left and I to overcome 43D of myopia to see anything.