Join Early Retirement Today
Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread Display Modes
A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 12:56 PM   #1
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
A rant for the presbyopic

Martha's comment about the presbyoterian church struck a nerve. But, no, this isn't a religious thread. Those of you in your mid-40s know what I'm talkin' about.

Born with a "wandering eye" and a bit nearsighted, I got my first pair of glasses when I was three years old. Since then I was that guy who looked like Buddy Holly (later like Roy Orbison) in everyone's yearbooks wearing a half-pound of plastic or metal on his face. The high point in my high school was the lenses that used to change from clear to dark in sunlight. (Which is the basis for a separate rant about sucky high school life, but I regress digress.) The lighter scratch-resistant plastic lenses of the late '70s were a breakthrough for sore noses & acne scars.

In the Navy I was told that I couldn't join the submarine force because of my glasses. Appeals to logic-- the periscope has an adjustable focus and submariners have special glasses to fit the eyecup-- were no use. Fortunately the Navy optometrists neglected to change the letters on the eye chart and I'd developed an exceptional short-term memory. My sudden dramatic improvement must have seemed miraculous but it saved me from a lifetime sentence to an aircraft carrier's nuclear plant.

Glasses had a few practical applications. I used to carry two or three pair around and leave one set on my work desk. It's better than a steaming cup of coffee-- the boss would see them and figure that I must still be hard at it, hours after I'd already gone home. On the other hand there are some things that really should be strapped tightly to your face when you enter a sanitary tank.

The real miracle occurred in my mid-30s when my eyes began to go long. At first I noticed that I didn't need glasses to see some displays on the submarine conn. Then I realized that I could read letters and some books without them. Within another year I was reading newspaper classified ads & engineering logs completely naked. There were times when I'd cackle with glee! But after three decades of lensed bondage, I had no idea what my apparent emancipation was setting me up for.

I na´vely thought that I'd be glasses-free for the rest of my life, but many of you already know how this story turns out. At first my computer monitor was out of focus. Then I was having trouble seeing the contrast between light & dark on the printed page. Next my arms got too short. When I kept turning things toward the light and laying them on the ground to read them, my father-in-law took me aside and sympathetically informed me that it was time.

It's been tough on the family too. My kid kept trying to show me papers by thrusting them in my face, only to have her hands knocked aside by a swift reflex outside block. My spouse thought the whole thing was funny because she's worn contact lenses for decades. (I'll have the last laugh-- she's starting to turn her book pages toward the light already.) Everyone has learned to pause after saying "Hey, look at this!" to allow me to fumble my glasses onto my nose.

I thought I'd be enslaved by a new prescription, but it turns out that presbyopia is a multi-year process. Your eyes gradually lengthen out to 1.75-2.50 diopters, not necessarily in both eyes, not necessarily at the same time or at the same pace, and not necessarily the same for everyone. So I started shopping at a whole new section of the store that formerly existed only for old fogies-- the reading glasses aisle. I've accumulated a variety of $12 pairs between 1.75 (working around the house, reading the computer screen) to 2.00 (in my recliner with a book). I especially like the half-lenses that allow me to look down to read and look up to catch Candice Olson on HGTV without having to miss a single refocusing second. It's hard to sit up in bed and get the glasses on your nose just right to read a book in your lap, but luckily I've diverted my attention to other bedtime distractions that don't require such visual acuity.

One unexpected advantage of presbyopia is better tae kwon do sparring. It's extremely easy to look at an opponent in gestalt without focusing on any particular part-- because I can't. I don't flinch when a head shot comes my way, either, since it's just a big blur. My avoidance reflex has become very fast and I can block a punch without effort or snatch mosquitoes out of the air in front of my nose. The reading glasses have also been a handy face shield when I'm fixing plumbing under the sink.

But it's still a process. My eyes just passed the point where I can focus on my dinner plate, and I'm beginning to think that I'll need to try a pair of those sexy 2.25s next time I'm at the store. I'm starting to look for prescription safety glasses for yardwork and prescription snorkel lenses. I refuse to wear bifocals or trifocals just to handle a tiny fraction of the total distance that my eyeballs can cover, but I don't want to think about what's going to happen when I have trouble focusing on the car's dashboard display.

It's such a demoralizing process that I've even considered LASIK or PRK. However there's no evidence that it stops (or even slows down) presbyopia, and for me the surgical risks far outweigh the putative awards. My only remaining hope is that if I someday develop cataracts, the lens replacement will make me a 20/20 reader in at least one eye again.

I've read somewhere that reading glasses are considered one of the most important inventions of the second millennium because they allowed us 40-somethings to keep our grip on our environment and our lifestyle. I remember being surprised at the emotional intensity of that essay, but now I completely understand. And I'm darn glad that I don't need reading glasses for surfing...

Thanks for listening. I hope you 30-somethings have learned more than I knew at your age. And for you 50-somethings, please tell me when it gets better!
__________________

__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Join the #1 Early Retirement and Financial Independence Forum Today - It's Totally Free!

Are you planning to be financially independent as early as possible so you can live life on your own terms? Discuss successful investing strategies, asset allocation models, tax strategies and other related topics in our online forum community. Our members range from young folks just starting their journey to financial independence, military retirees and even multimillionaires. No matter where you fit in you'll find that Early-Retirement.org is a great community to join. Best of all it's totally FREE!

You are currently viewing our boards as a guest so you have limited access to our community. Please take the time to register and you will gain a lot of great new features including; the ability to participate in discussions, network with our members, see fewer ads, upload photographs, create a retirement blog, send private messages and so much, much more!

Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 01:09 PM   #2
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

I feel your pain Nords. Everything made for kids is written for parents that are in their 20's. Even with a magnifying glass I have trouble reading some of it. :P
__________________

__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 01:12 PM   #3
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso) Give me a forum ...
REWahoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Location: Texas Hill Country
Posts: 42,078
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Nords
And for you 50-somethings, please tell me when it gets better!
It doesn't. Get over it. :P

__________________
Numbers is hard

When I hit 70, it hit back

Retired in 2005 at age 58, no pension
REWahoo is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 01:16 PM   #4
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: No. California
Posts: 1,600
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

It doesn't get better. You just start buying the glasses in bulk at Costco or Sam's. 3 or 4 packs.

I have a bunch of glasses in a few different strengths lying around all over the house and in my purse. Next time I upgrade, I'll donate the lowest strength to people with better vision that mine. I prefer to eat with my reading glasses on these days. That's really sad

__________________
KB is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 01:22 PM   #5
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Outtahere's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Posts: 1,677
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

I'm in the same boat as you KB, glasses everywhere, buy in bulk all strenghts and I really enjoy seeing what I'm eating.


Nords, I wore glasses my whole life too, I couldn't even wear contacts until they came out with the soft version. I now wear my contacts and use reading glasses.
__________________

Dogs aren't our whole lives, but they make our lives whole. - Roger Caras
Outtahere is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 01:23 PM   #6
Recycles dryer sheets
 
Join Date: Dec 2005
Posts: 388
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Really, get over it! *Sooner or later you will simply have to get glasses and put them on for good. *Some of the following may be a clue:

1. *You need glasses to find where you left your glasses.
2. *The dollar store doesn't have enough pairs in stock to supply all the places you need to leave a pair, just in case.
3. *You brush your teeth with something that ain't toothpaste. *(Warning: put the Preparation H in another part of the house.)
4. *You can't find the peas at the grocery store
and you left your "cheaters" in the car,
5. *You discover you are reading something upside down.

And the list goes on...

Been there, done them all. *Wear them if you got them.

setab
__________________
I told you I'd taunt you a second time.
setab is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 01:35 PM   #7
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

I wonder what preparations A-G are for...
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 01:35 PM   #8
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
HFWR's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2005
Location: Lawn chair in Texas
Posts: 12,964
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Near-sighted as heck, plus 1.75 bifocals, and still look over/under the glasses for extremely close/delicate work. What I hate is working, say, under the sink, where the only way to see wtf your doing is crane your neck into a contorted position, so the bi-f kick in...

And light is darker than it used to be... *
__________________
Have Funds, Will Retire

...not doing anything of true substance...
HFWR is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 02:40 PM   #9
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
Jay_Gatsby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2004
Posts: 1,719
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Anyone had LASIK?
__________________
He had one of those rare smiles with a quality of eternal reassurance in it . . . It faced, or seemed to face, the whole external world for an instant and then concentrated on you with an irresistible prejudice in your favor. -- The Great Gatsby, F. Scott Fitzgerald
Jay_Gatsby is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 03:05 PM   #10
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 4,005
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Jay_Gatsby
Anyone had LASIK?
I just had it done 2 months ago. Good results so far. Left eye is pretty good - 20/20 daytime and just a little blurry at night. Right eye 20/30 and moderately blurry at night. I'm probably going to need a tune up on the right eye soon to get it better. Daytime vision with both eyes is what I would subjectively describe as "perfect". Nighttime is a little worse, but I can drive easily. Reading street signs at night is a little hard from a distance.

I'd do it all over in spite of my less than perfect right eye.

The procedure itself was painless. Uncomfortable at times during the procedure, but it only lasts a few minutes total (including 20 seconds burn time per eye).

Recovery is quick. For a few hours after the procedure, I felt like someone had built a sand castle in my eyes and I couldn't get it out. Luckily by the next morning I was feeling fine.

Doc says I should be glasses free till I convert to presbyopyism in 15 or so years.

I occasionally have slightly dry eyes, but a drop of lube fixes it right up. 100 times less irritation than when I had contacts.

__________________
justin is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 03:17 PM   #11
Early-Retirement.org Founder
Developer of FIRECalc
dory36's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 1,826
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Look into "monovision" -- that is wearing a contact in one eye for distance vision, and a contact in the other eye for reading. (Or just wearing one, for reading, if you don't need distance correction.)* Usually the reading lens goes in the eye opposite the hand you write with, so your writing hand doesn't obscure the stroke of your pen when writing -- but if you don't write that much, it probably doesn't matter.

It sounded weird to me too when I first heard of it, but that was over 10 years ago -- the time that DW and I have been wearing a reading lens in one eye.

Your brain adapts to this in minutes when you first start, switching the dominant eye depending on the distance of the object you are looking at. The other eye isn't focused well, if you were to close the dominant eye, but it is plenty sufficient for ordinary depth perception. Unless you close the dominant eye, you don't notice the lack of sharp focus in the other eye at all. It just gets filtered out.

I've done this for computer work full time, and had no problem driving or boating -- in fact, especially in driving and boating, it was much better than glasses, at least for me. I would say that they were fine for flying also, but I think that is prohibited by the FAA and I don't know what the statute of limitations might be...*

Everything -- maps, instruments, and horizon -- always seemed in focus -- I didn't have to shift my head to make sure the glasses were positioned to see what I wanted to see.

Some vision professionals tried to talk us out of this approach (and into much more profitable surgery, I think), while others said this process was perfectly fine. American Optometric Association has just a little to say: http://www.aoa.org/x1823.xml
__________________
Often uninformed, seldom undecided.

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover. Mark Twain
dory36 is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 05:23 PM   #12
 
Posts: n/a
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Good story, Nords, but something's not right.

Eyesight works like this: when relaxed, you can focus on things that are distant. When you look at something close up, the muscles around the lens in your eye alter it's shape making it a "stronger" lens, and focusing an image of the now closer object on your retina.

In general, if you are nearsighted, your eye is too long, so distant objects are not in focus.

As you age, your eye doesn't change shape, but the lens gets harder and less flexible (muscles change too). Distant objects are still in focus, but it's harder to squish the lens and focus on close objects.

The way you've presented your story is as one gradual progression from from being nearsighted to being farsighted, but what I suspect happened is that you had some fortunate changes in your physiology that improved your vision, and now you're experiencing the aging of the lens that we all are suffering through.

-------------

Presbyopia is caused by an age-related process. This is different from astigmatism, nearsightedness and farsightedness, which are related to the shape of the eyeball and caused by genetic factors, disease, or trauma. Presbyopia is generally believed to stem from a gradual loss of flexibility in the natural lens inside your eye.

The eye's lens stiffens with age, so it is less able to focus when you view something up close. The result is blurred near vision. (Illustration: Varilux)

These age-related changes occur within the proteins in the lens, making the lens harder and less elastic with the years. Age-related changes also take place in the muscle fibers surrounding the lens. With less elasticity, the eye has a harder time focusing up close.
__________________
  Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 05:37 PM   #13
Moderator Emeritus
Nords's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Oahu
Posts: 26,616
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Quote:
Originally Posted by TromboneAl
Good story, Nords, but something's not right.
... but what I suspect happened is that you had some fortunate changes in your physiology that improved your vision, and now you're experiencing the aging of the lens that we all are suffering through.
As for the eyeball change, could be. Add in a little ionizing radiation and who knows what caused it.

I was thrilled to be without glasses for the first time in three decades and I thought I was all done. I felt even more betrayed by my body when presbyopism started.

I like the contact lens idea, Dory.
__________________
*
*

The book written on E-R.org, "The Military Guide to Financial Independence and Retirement", on sale now! For more info see "About Me" in my profile.
I don't spend much time here anymore, so please send me a PM. Thanks.
Nords is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 05:55 PM   #14
Dryer sheet aficionado
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 31
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

I wear variable focus lenses. The first pair I put on made me decide that they solved the problem by making me unable to see anything. Gradually I adjusted (good progress after a week to not noticing they were there after a month).

I tried near and distant contacts - for me they were worse than bifocals. I think I could have learned to adjust, however the people walking on the sidewalk disagreed.
__________________
MDW is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 07:47 PM   #15
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
haha's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Hooverville
Posts: 22,382
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

I am -1.75 nearsighted, which is fine for anything except driving or hand eye sports like tennis. For these things I wear glasses or contacts. I usually don't mess with reading glasses, except when I have to dig* a splinter out of my foot or something where I have to really see well up very close.

I have a designated place to keep them, or else I would never find them when I need them.

Ha
__________________
"As a general rule, the more dangerous or inappropriate a conversation, the more interesting it is."-Scott Adams
haha is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 07:56 PM   #16
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
2B's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Houston
Posts: 4,330
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sr. Senor Cute 'n' Fuzzy Bunny
I feel your pain Nords.* Everything made for kids is written for parents that are in their 20's.* Even with a magnifying glass I have trouble reading some of it. :P
I had to quote this to read it.....
__________________
The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane -- Marcus Aurelius
2B is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 10:51 PM   #17
Give me a museum and I'll fill it. (Picasso)
Give me a forum ...
cute fuzzy bunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Losing my whump
Posts: 22,697
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

No extra charge!

As far as multiple pairs of glasses, dont bother. I now have 8 pairs of glasses I cant find.

I looked around a week ago and found 6 of them in a heap under some papers behind the credenza on my desk to the right of the giant monitor. :P

I remember a book "Simplify your life" where the writer said she had a favorite nail file and liked it so much she bought a bunch of them. When she had one, she always knew where it was. When she had four, all four were somewhere...never to be found when needed.

When we were shopping today, I turned down some cool looking stuff over at the warehouse club and my dad said "Good idea...everything you buy is something you're going to have to figure out how to get rid of at some point".

Two wise points well taken.
__________________
Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful. Just another form of "buy low, sell high" for those who have trouble with things. This rule is not universal. Do not buy a 1973 Pinto because everyone else is afraid of it.
cute fuzzy bunny is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-28-2006, 11:11 PM   #18
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: No. California
Posts: 1,600
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

I had lasix about 6 or 7 years ago. I was mid to late 40s when I had it done.

Before Lasix, I was near sighted. After Lasix, I could see distance fine...vision changed to 20/15....except I needed reading glasses for close work. I think I started at 1.25 diopters and use either 1.75 or 2 now.

It was a good decision for me. But it doesn't prevent the old age changes where you need reading glasses unless you have the mono vision lasix. A friend of mine had the mono vision lasix and loves it.
__________________
KB is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-29-2006, 12:37 AM   #19
Thinks s/he gets paid by the post
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 2,083
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

My eyes were perfect until the age of 54 when I began to need reading glasses. I started out with 1.0 and have grduated to 1.25. It took me 2 years before I began carrying glasses with me. I buy the cheap $1 glasses and they work fine for me. I haven't considered laser surgery yet since wearing reading glasses now is not a major inconvenience yet.
__________________
I look to the present moment because that's where I live my life.
MJ is offline   Reply With Quote
Re: A rant for the presbyopic
Old 03-29-2006, 01:32 AM   #20
Full time employment: Posting here.
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Posts: 699
Re: A rant for the presbyopic

Once when I was a kid, on the way back from the optometrist's to get me glasses, my father remarked bemusedly that he had hoped that somewhere between near-sightedness and far-sightedness that he would have a period of perfect vision, but that it hadn't worked out that way; he just ended up both near-sighted and far-sighted at the same time. I myself have recently started to need to hold tiny things farther away to see them better. The circle of life, I guess.

Bpp
__________________

__________________
bpp is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply


Currently Active Users Viewing This Thread: 1 (0 members and 1 guests)
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
Home Owners Association Do-gooders (Rant) grumpy Life after FIRE 53 03-09-2007 05:16 PM
Windows Rant TromboneAl Other topics 4 11-07-2006 03:29 PM
Rant: Everyone has their hand out... Jay_Gatsby Other topics 30 11-17-2005 11:28 PM
Stupid Advertising (Rant) REWahoo Other topics 2 07-10-2005 11:08 AM
Whiny Personal Rant BigMoneyJim Other topics 5 09-07-2004 08:07 AM

 

 
All times are GMT -6. The time now is 05:33 AM.
 
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.8 Beta 1
Copyright ©2000 - 2017, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.