<p>I believe I have already <a href="">discussed</a> how aging sucks.  One aspect of aging is the loss of visual acuity, a loss I have been experiencing lately.  </p>

<p>I am farsighted.  I can see like a friggin&#8217; hawk when focusing on objects far away, but up close, reading small type, well, this has been a growing problem for the last several years.  I&#8217;ve owned reading glasses for a few years, but they were always a convenience item.  That is to say, I could read/see without them, but after several hours, I&#8217;d be a tired man.  Since I am a &#8220;computer professional&#8221; these days, as well as an internet/media junkie, I am in front of small type placed relatively close to my peepers pretty much all day and all night.  I <strong>need</strong> to wear my glasses now.  </p>

<p>Problem is, when wearing reading/computer glasses, I cannot see a damned thing beyond five feet or so.  This is maddening at the office, when I look up from my monitor and am greeted by a blurry vision resembling my boss, and a distant wall clock that might as well be a lava lamp.  </p>

<p>Not to worry, says the happy TV man.  Have you heard of these so-called progressive lenses?  Going by the trade name &#8220;Varilux&#8221;, as well as several others, these are supposedly fantastic optical wunderkinds, capable of allowing one to see &#8220;near, far and everything in-between&#8221;, as the ad says.</p>


<p>During a recent visit to my eye doctor, I explained my lava lamp clock dilemma.  She suggested these progressive lenses.  The theory is, I get no prescription on the top part of the lens (the &#8220;far&#8221; part), and a computer distance prescription on the intermediate part of the lens (the &#8220;everything inbetween&#8221; part), and my reading prescription on the bottom part (the &#8220;near&#8221; part).  </p>

<p>Sounds reasonable, even if the goddamn price for the lenses isn&#8217;t.  I go for it.  Had them put these optical beauts in an old pair of rimless frames I had, since the lenses cost more than any pair of glasses I&#8217;d ever bought before. </p>

<p>I picked them up today.  They suck.</p>

<p>The very knowledgeable optician was all excited for me.  He too wears progressive lenses.  He helped sell me on this idea, but then again that&#8217;s his job, isn&#8217;t it.  With a little too much hand waving, he unveiled my new eye-pals.  The lenses looked great, a new shape and a new lease on life for those old frames.  I slipped them on, and could see crystal clear through the upper part, at a distance.  Eureka!  After years of torquing my pupils over the top of my eyeglass frames to see far, I could now look straight ahead through my glasses at a point far away, and even read the digits on a clock face.  </p>

<p>Then he handed me a print sample to test out the portion of the lenses that I actually need, and that&#8217;s when the love affair started to falter.  This was a bittersweet moment, because my view of small type through the portion of the lens designed for reading was so crystal clear I almost burst into tears on the spot.  But the thing is, the &#8220;near&#8221; zone of the lens is so narrow, that this crystal clarity only lasts but a handful of words on a single line of text!  I actually had to pan my head left to right to read a paragraph of text no more than four inches wide.  I mentioned this curious yet extremely annoying fact to my optician, who stammered something about how &#8220;other people have the same complaint, but I don&#8217;t notice that&#8221;.  </p>

<p>Well, I fucking do.  I notice it.  Big time.  &#8220;OK,&#8221; I say.</p>

<p>&#8220;You have to get used to them, take &#8216;em home, wear them for the weekend.  If you still have trouble, come see me Monday.&#8221;  </p>

<p>&#8220;OK,&#8221; I say again.  I walk out of the place, stepping UP, off a stoop.  </p>

<p>After actually getting nauseated on the walk back to the office, I told myself I just need to give it some time.  I&#8217;m wearing them right now.  I wore them most of the afternoon at work, except for when I took &#8216;em off for a while because my eyes felt like they were imploding.</p>

<p>The thing about these lenses is that if you move your head around enough, you eventually find a point that is just absolutely perfect; you can see things up close so clearly you feel you could open them up and perform open heart surgery on them.  But this area of acuity is so small that head panning and tilting is required to read a single line of text in a book, and navigating the desktop on my 21&#8221; monitor at the office puts unbelievable mileage on my neck muscles.  As I type this, I can see that if the &#8216;A&#8217; key is crystal clear, the &#8216;G&#8217; key is already distorted, and let&#8217;s not even talk about the &#8216;L&#8217; key.   (no, I don&#8217;t touch type).  Also, the reading portion is so close to the bottom of the lens, that I&#8217;m practically looking at the ceiling to get the &#8220;good part&#8221; of the lens on my PowerBook&#8217;s screen when it&#8217;s on my lap.  Ridiculous.</p>

<p>At this point, I can&#8217;t see how I can use these things daily.  I&#8217;d rather have crisp letters across my field of view and have to look over the top of my glasses to see my co-workers, then be forced to view my close-up world through a two inch-wide tunnel of focus.  </p>

<p>I will wear &#8216;em for the weekend, as asked.  But I think I will be &#8220;seeing&#8221; my optician on Monday&#8212;through the upper portion of my new lenses.  </p>


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Rob Guglielmetti

lighting simulationist, crossfitter, former drinker.

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