From the time we were all 3 years old, and we met at junior playschool, Morgan, Valerie and myself were inseparable. As we grew older, we were thrilled that we could pass as sisters. And, often, when someone would ask if we were triplets, when our answer was no, then the person would often say that two of us must at least be twins. It was amazing that 3 girls from different parents should be so much alike in appearance, posture and size. Our parents were all similar in appearance as well. Morgan’s mom, and my mom often were mistaken as sisters, and Morgan’s dad, and Valerie’s dad were mistakenly thought to be brothers on more than one occasion. My hair was more of an ash blond than the other two. Valerie had a slightly reddish tinge to her blond hair, and Morgan was a honey blond. As we grew into our teens we found that if we all colored our hair the same shade, and dressed in identical clothing, we could confuse everyone even more than we normally did.
Things changed the summer we all turned 12. For most of the summer Morgan had been complaining that she couldn’t see any of the guys at the beach when Valerie and I pointed out a cute one. And when we all went to the movies, Valerie and I had to let Morgan choose where we could sit so that she could see the screen properly. So, when it came time to return to school in the fall, Valerie and I were not surprised when Morgan turned up one day wearing a black plastic framed pair of glasses.
"Oh, they look really good on you Morgan." Valerie exclaimed. "Can I try them on?"
Val looked as nice as Morgan did wearing glasses. " Come on Ashley, you try them on too. Lets see what you look like." Morgan and Val insisted in unison.
So, I tried Morgan’s glasses on. They felt all right, and after a couple of minutes I could see through the lenses, but I really didn’t want to wear glasses, so I took them off and returned them to Morgan.
I suppose that the lenses, at –1.50D, were just strong enough that Morgan found it much easier to wear them all the time. But now the 3 of us were no longer identical in appearance. Morgan had also gotten a pair of prescription sunglasses, and Valerie and I had also gotten sunglasses with identical frames, so now when we were wearing sunglasses, we still looked alike. But, you can’t wear sunglasses all the time, so as the end of that first year of Morgan wearing glasses approached, Morgan was convinced that when she needed new glasses, she was going to talk her parents into getting her contact lenses.
That summer Valerie would often borrow Morgan’s glasses to look at something in the distance. I suspected that maybe Val would need glasses when we went back to school, and I was right. But, Valerie didn’t get glasses. Instead she and Morgan used each other to convince their parents that since Morgan was getting contact lenses, then maybe Valerie’s parents should also buy Valerie contact lenses. And since Valerie was getting contact lenses instead of glasses, then maybe Morgan’s parents should buy Morgan contact lenses instead of glasses. This worked, because both Morgan and Valerie were now wearing contact lenses on their return to school.
It started innocently enough. Morgan and Valerie had also gotten glasses along with their contact lenses, and sometimes on Saturdays they would want to wear their glasses to the mall, or to the show. I think that Morgan’s second prescription was around –2.25D, and I remember that Valerie had a prescription of –1.75D for her first pair of glasses. I remember this because I was surprised that Valerie could see almost perfectly with Morgan’s new glasses, but Morgan found everything quite blurry with Valerie’s glasses. I then started wearing Morgan’s original glasses on the days when the other two had their glasses days, and it only took me a minute or so to get accustomed to seeing through the glasses. The effort of adapting to the lenses was a bit of a funny feeling. It was sort of like pulling my eyes back into my head. I could then see perfectly through the –1.50D lenses. And, when I took them off, my eyes relaxed, and I could see without glasses. And, when I tried Valerie’s glasses on, I could see just as well with them on.
I don’t know who came up with the idea, but since I could see well with or without glasses, it was suggested that I should also try to wear Valerie’s contact lenses. Morgan and Valerie showed me how to insert the contacts, and after the initial moment of discomfort, I found I could tolerate contacts very well. Morgan and Valerie were wearing daily disposable lenses, so for the first while Valerie and I wore our lenses for 2 days. But then Valerie started complaining that she couldn’t see properly, so she tried Morgan’s contacts, and I then got the balance of Valerie’s 3-month supply. Valerie and Morgan then each wore their contacts for 2 days.
I suppose I had been wearing contact lenses continuously for around 4 or 5 months when I began to notice that I couldn’t see very clearly when I first took out my contact lenses. After 6 months the blur in the distance was there all the time when my lenses were out.
So, I convinced my parents to take me for an eye exam. I was prescribed –1.50D glasses, the same as Morgan’s first prescription had been. I pressured my parents into buying me contact lenses, so now all 3 of us wore prescribed correction.
Morgan and Valerie went back at the end of the summer for another eye examination. I had just gotten my contacts, so I didn’t have to go. When Morgan left the doctor’s office she was now prescribed –3.00D contacts. Valerie was given exactly the same prescription. Morgan had quite a few boxes of her –2.25D contacts left. I think Val was the one who suggested that I should start wearing the stronger contacts so that I could catch up with them. So, I agreed, on one condition. My condition was that if my eyes got any worse than theirs did because I was wearing contact lenses that were too powerful for me, they would both wear my stronger contact lenses, so that our eyes would all stay the same prescription.
It took me a couple of months to go through the supply of –2.25D lenses. But, I couldn’t return to my –1.50D contacts. My eyes had adapted to the stronger minus prescription. So, since we all wore exactly the same brand and size of lenses, Morgan and Valerie shared their –3.00D lenses with me. Before long, I knew that my eyes had adapted to this prescription perfectly.
Again Morgan and Valerie went for their annual vision exam. This year I accompanied them. When we all left the doctor’s office we compared prescriptions. Valerie had the strongest one. Her prescription was now –3.75. Morgan and I both required –3.50D. My mom had expressed her concern to the doctor that my prescription had jumped from –1.50D all the way up to –3.50 in just over a year, but the doctor reassured her that this often happens with simple myopia, and it was not an abnormal prescription for a 15-year-old girl, so she was satisfied.
Morgan and Valerie and I took Valerie’s prescription to one of 3 optical stores that we were going to use. When we left there, we had a 3-month supply for Valerie. At the next optical store, using Valerie’s name and prescription, Morgan got her 3-month supply. I did the same at the third store. Now we were all wearing identical prescriptions. We were really the triplets again. We had also all gotten identical glasses – using Valerie’s prescription of course.
It probably was less than 3 or 4 months later when all 3 of us started to notice that our vision wasn’t as good as it had been. I still had a number of boxes of my original –1.50D contact lenses, so just for fun one Saturday morning we all put in these contacts and put on our glasses over them. We were all surprised that we could see so much better this way.
When we went to tell our respective parent’s that we needed new glasses already, the news was not accepted well. My mom was really upset, and when we were finished with my eye exam, and she saw my new prescription of –5.25D she spent a lot of time talking with the doctor to see if anything could be done to stop my vision from deteriorating even further. If only she had known the truth. She would have killed me.
This time Morgan had the strongest correction of the 3 of us. She had jumped up to –6.00D. So, Valerie and I went along with Morgan, and we repeated the same trick we had used before, only at 3 different optical stores. I was surprised. –6.00D glasses looked pretty strong. There was a lot of cut in, and quite a number of power rings in the lenses when you looked at them side on. And, we questioned the optician when we found out that for –6.00D glasses the prescription is only –5.50D for the contacts, but she explained that as the prescription of the glasses got higher, the contact lens prescription got lower, because of the difference in distance between the contacts and the eyes.
I suppose it probably was all the reading that I did that caused my next increase. Of the 3 of us, I was always the one to have my nose buried in a book. I hadn’t really noticed the slow deterioration of my vision. I had been overcorrected in the beginning by about –0.75D anyway. But, when my Dad took me to the DMV after I turned 16 so that I could get my beginner’s permit, I did not pass the vision exam. I was worried about going to the eye doctor. The doctor always had his nurse check my glasses first, as soon as I walked in. And, I was afraid that he would notice that my contacts were too strong in comparison to what he had prescribed only 5 months earlier. So, I left my glasses at home, and when I got to the doctor’s office, I went to the bathroom, and removed my contacts. I sat there in the waiting room with my dad, unable to see much more than a blur of colors.
"Well, that is quite an increase Ashley. Your new glasses will be –7.50D. I think I will move you into a plano base. You might as well get used to this base now, as your myopia is progressing fairly rapidly, and you will have to get used to the plano base soon anyway." Doctor Lee told me
I didn’t know what he meant by plano base, but the optician at the store my Dad took me to explained that it was a flat front on the lens, and that it would make the lens thinner. When I saw my new glasses I was glad that they were thinner, because they looked pretty thick to me. I also got my new contacts. They were only –7.00D.
When Morgan tried on my glasses, she loved them. She felt that they made everything look much clearer for her. So, it was easy to convince Morgan to order herself new contacts and glasses with my new stronger prescription. Valerie was harder to convince. She felt that my new glasses were much too strong for her. And, if her eyes had not caught up to the increase that she and I had gotten when we started wearing Morgan’s prescription a few months ago, she was probably right. But, both Morgan and I reminded Val that she had promised that she would wear my prescription if my eyes ever got worse than hers. So, I think she did. She bought the contacts anyway.
About 6 months after this I noticed that my distance vision had started to deteriorate again. I knew I should go back for another eye examination, and that I would be prescribed even stronger glasses and contacts once again. But, I also knew that Valerie would not be able to wear them, and maybe Morgan would not want to wear stronger lenses again. So I kept my mouth shut, and struggled for the next 4 months. Morgan then announced one day that she was having problems seeing things in the distance, and that maybe she should have an eye test. So, Morgan went for her vision examination.
Her prescription now was –8.00D for her contacts, and –9.00 for her glasses.
This time Valerie refused to get herself the new glasses and contacts. I got the new contacts from Morgan’s prescription, but the minute that I put them in I knew that these contacts were too weak for my eyes. They definitely were a lot better than the –7D ones were, but I knew I had left even –8D behind a few months ago. Morgan was very upset with Valerie for not even trying to wear the new prescription for her contacts. She wanted nothing more to do with Valerie, and I had to talk some sense into her. Finally she accepted that it wasn’t Valerie’s fault that her eyes would not accept the stronger prescription, although I perceived a bit of coolness on Morgan’s attitude towards Valerie.
Three months, that was all that I could take of wearing the –8D contacts. I had my mom book me in for another eye exam. She took me to the optometrist’s office, and when I came out with my new prescription, she took one look at it and almost fainted.
"Baby, your eyes are terrible! How could they possibly have gotten so bad?" Mom said.
"I don’t know mom, but this is what I need according to Dr. Lee." I told her.
We went off to an optical store that I had previously used for my –7D contacts. The optician took one look at my new prescription, and told me that she didn’t think that they had any –10D contact lenses in stock in the type of daily wear lenses that I had always worn. But she went back to look, and she came out with a box containing a 30-day supply. Once I put a pair of lenses in it was a relief to be able to see clearly again. I ordered a new pair of glasses. Now my glasses were going to be –11.50D, and the cost for the new high index lenses were quite prohibitive, so I ordered just plain old regular plastic lenses. The optician warned me that even with the small eye size that I had chosen, I was going to have a pretty substantial lens thickness.
I have to give Morgan credit. When I showed her my new prescription she gasped at the strength, but she went ahead and ordered new contact lenses, and a new pair of identical glasses as well. Valerie didn’t even bother to try my glasses on.
It was a struggle for Morgan to adapt her eyes to my stronger prescription. But, at age 17, a person’s eyes are still fairly flexible, so after a few months Morgan was quite comfortable wearing –10D contact lenses. I wish I could have said the same thing. I was again noticing deterioration in my distance vision. I knew that there was no way that Morgan would ever really catch up with my worsening eyesight, so when I felt that I couldn’t stand the blur any longer I went back to Dr. Lee. This time my new contact lenses were only –1.50D stronger. And, I discovered that I was almost to the end of the prescription range for daily disposables. My brand went to –12D, and it was the brand that had the highest powers. If I needed stronger contacts than –12D the next time, I was going to have to change the type of lenses that I wore. Now my new glasses were going to be –13.50D. I had never even heard of anyone having a prescription this strong. I was absolutely helpless without my glasses or contact lenses. I could barely even read without my glasses. My focal point was somewhere around 3 inches away from my eyeball, and I had to close one eye, and bring the paper right up to the 3" point before I could read the words.
Morgan tried my new contacts. This time she told me that there was no way that she could wear my prescription. She had just begun to feel comfortable wearing my old prescription. So, I accepted that. I still remained friendly with Valerie, but Morgan and I had been doing a lot more together, with the exclusion of Val, so Val had found herself a new boyfriend. And Morgan and I were both out looking for boyfriends, so I was pretty sure that we would also be going our separate ways.
Six months went by after my last prescription increase, and I turned 18. I had asked Doctor Lee how much more my vision would deteriorate, and he had given me an evasive answer. But, he did say that most girls had the largest increases by the time they were 18, so I was hoping that he was correct.
Morgan surprised me one day when she called me and suggested that she thought she would like to try my latest prescription. She felt that her eyes had adapted well to the prescription she was wearing, and she liked the feeling of overcorrection so much that she wanted to try my –11.50D contact lenses. So, I let her try a couple of pairs. After she tried them for 2 days, she went and ordered herself a 3-month supply. So, now Morgan and I were back wearing the same prescription.
It had been a year now since Valerie had been unwilling to try the stronger lenses. Morgan and I were both wearing –11.50D contact lenses, and I still felt that this prescription was quite adequate for me. And Morgan had also adapted quite well to this prescription. Morgan and I went off to the same college, and Valerie went to University, so we definitely were separated now.
Fortunately, this was the last major prescription increase either Morgan or I had. Oh, every once in a while one of us would increase by –0.50D, which meant that both of us had increased our prescription to it’s present –15D, but the large prescription jumps of previous years had stopped, and we were both thankful for that. After college I became a receptionist for a dentist, and Morgan went on to become a nurse. We both dated, and we both ended up getting married. Morgan had a baby boy, who was now a cute 3 year old. I had a daughter who was only 18 months, and was just a bundle of joy. We were both 28 now, and our 10th anniversary of our graduation from high school was being held that summer. For the afternoon picnic we both decided we would go wearing our identical plastic framed –15.00D glasses.
Morgan and I were chatting with some old friends we hadn’t seen in a while, when all of a sudden there came a tap on my shoulder. I swung around to see who had tapped me. There stood a gorgeous looking blond, wearing glasses that were every bit as strong as the ones Morgan and I were wearing. As well, the frame style looked almost identical to ours.
"Valerie!" I shouted, "Oh my gosh, you look great."
Morgan and I hugged Valerie, and for the rest of the afternoon we were again the triplets. It was almost like we had never separated. Valerie had taken an optician’s course at university, had married, and had 2 children, a boy and a girl. When Morgan and I questioned Valerie as to how her glasses had gotten as strong as ours she told us that she had developed quite a bit more myopia with the birth of each child. Valerie and her husband had recently separated, and Valerie had moved back here to work at, and possibly even purchase one of our town’s 2 optical stores.
After a few hours of catching up, one of us asked Valerie if we could try her glasses on.
I think it was Morgan, because I remember her saying that she felt that they were stronger, but she could see fairly well with them. When I tried them on I couldn’t just see fairly well, I could see fantastically. Then I knew I needed to get a new prescription for myself. I told both of them that, and Morgan told me that if I did it, she would as well.
"How strong are your glasses Val?" I asked.
"They are –16D for both eyes." Valerie said.
"Well girl, order me a pair. I could see great with them." I said.
"I want a pair as well Val." Morgan said.
When our new glasses arrived a couple of weeks later, the triplets were all wearing the identical prescription again.