Monday, July 26, 2010

Eye-Eye

Eric MorecambeSo after a few collisions with the exuberant head of the 2 and a half year old my faithful spectacles had finally lost their innate ability to grip my face the way they were designed to do. The slightest head movement from yours truly and people were wandering it I was doing a bad Eric Morecambe impression.

It was time to venture back through the myopic portals of my family’s favourite optician, Charnley’s.

Me and Charnley’s go way back, right to when I was first diagnosed with astigmatism and was given my first pair of glasses (NHS style – long before Jarvis Cocker ever made them moderately cool) when I was 5 years old. At one time in my pre-teen years I held the town record for the sheer number of spectacle breakages. I was averaging about 7 times a year at one point and though my mum never believed me none of them were ever my fault. During one memorable incident one of the Dugglin boys went for a high ball during the lunchtime footie match and managed a kick worthy of the Moulin Rouge. Unfortunately his Clarkes managed to hoof my spectacles off my face and dislodge the lens which was later found (thanks to the direction of the headmaster) by the entire school being made to form a police line and march the full length of the playing field until we found it. Ah, those were the days.

But those times are long behind me now. It had been 7 years since I’d last graced Charnley’s with my presence and not only new glasses but an eye test was also long overdue.

I was fearing the worst. My dad developed glaucoma a few years back so there’s now a family history (though on the bright side I’m now eligible for free eye tests); I’ve been getting migraine “drop outs” in my eyes when I’m very tired. And removing my glasses in the opticians made me do something I rarely do at home: actually try and look at stuff with the naked eye alone. I was appalled. If I’d been around before glasses were invented I’d have stuck no chance in life at all. I’d’ve been a crap servant and frankly a liability as a farmhand – I can guarantee nobody would have wanted to stand next to me when it came to harvest time. A scythe is a nasty weapon in the wrong hands. Or with the wrong eyes.

So I underwent all the tests. It’s all very high tech now. Computerized. They test eye pressure and depth of field – not just “what’s the smallest row of letters you can read”? Some of the gizmos they use give you the feeling of being plugged into a virtual reality machine or a game station. I was tempted to ask my optician if I’d made it through to the boss level.

She – the optician – was very professional. Opticians are always very quiet and have soothing voices in my experience. It’s probably the result of the enforced intimacy. There’s nothing like having someone’s face so close to your own you can feel their breath on your eyelashes to make you whisper softly. Mind you, the ruddy great super-trooper she was bouncing of my retina spoiled the atmosphere somewhat. Any stronger and she would have scorched a hole through the back of my cranium.

Still, I can’t fault her thoroughness. My sight was put through an army assault course of tests.

At the end of it I was genuinely blinded with exhaustion. And fear.

I felt sure my eyes had deteriorated. I was turning into Mr Magoo. I’d need lenses thicker than Corona bottles. I’m going blind, aren’t I, doc, tell me straight?

*sob*

How wrong could I have been?

My eyes have actually improved! I didn’t know that was even possible. I’m less short sighted than I was. Because – and here’s the clincher – I’m becoming more long sighted. Apparently that’s very common once you hit your 40’s. I’ll have a few years of improvement before the long sightedness fouls up my ability to read a book close-up and then my eyes will be buggered every which way but loose and I’ll need completely different lenses.

Ah well. In the meantime at least I can still try for the work’s darts team.

A new pair of glasses are now on order with – for the time being – weaker lenses to suit my vision. The frames I chose are as close to the ones I have now as I could find – I hate changing my facial furniture. I was tempted by the Dame Edna pink side wings but, frankly, I don’t have the cheek bones to pull it off.

Besides, when did you ever see Eric Morecambe wearing pink glasses?


25 comments:

Being Me said...

Oh, but surely the 'tache would balance the Dame wings perfectly? What an interesting turn of events for you then. Is there going to be a moment some time in the future where you can see perfectly for exactly one hour?? (when short and long even out in some sort of parallel universe moment?)

Steve said...

Being Me: I'd have to grow a handlebar to get the balance just right... As for my eyes, I think I'll have a week in 2013 when I'll have perfect 20/20 vision and will be able to read the price of a postage stamp at half a mile away. After that I'll be walking around with a white stick.

Nota Bene said...

You don't know how pleased I am to read this particular post...I used to wear glasses, then contact lenses then glasses, but stopped when I felt I could see properly again...as proved by the optician saying (jokingly I hope) "You're the sort of customer we don't like" Five years later and I'm beginning to feel the need for glasses again...

Of course, no one ever believed that I needed glasses in the first place..."Eyes don't get better at your age" they would say....so now I'm just going to print this off and show them all!

the fly in the web said...

What happened to headmasters like that? The sort to turn your backbone to jelly just by materialising when least expected...


Mr Fly wanted a driving license in Costa Rica, and, finding the opthalmic equivalent of a backstreet abortionist, trotted in.

He was invited to study the vast degree certificate behind the desk of the optician cum doctor cum local bank...street traders kept running in and out for change...and on reading aloud 'University of Costa Rica'was informed that he passed the eye test.

He is in a pretty poor state of health generally, so we were delighted to read that he was in perfect working order...all the boxes ticked....and were sorely tempted to try to get medical insurance on the strength of this document, but they took it away at the driving licence centre...alas.

All this for fifteen quid.

I too had NHS specs as a child...I put my warped personality down to the baleful effect they had on my peers.

Suzanne said...

I get free eye tests too as my dad had glaucoma, and also then developed cataracts on both his eyes, which he had removed by laser (makes me think of Dr. Evil in Austin Powers - laser - sorry very random). Optician tests these days are somewhat sci-fi.Glad your sight has improved, that's good news.

Steve said...

Nota Bene: well when they said my eyesight has improved what they meant was the pendulum is now swinging the other way...

The fly in the web: that reminds me of Egypt for some reason and driving licenses. There to pass a driving license test all you have to do is go forward, then backwards and be able to read the registration plate of the bullock in front of you. Do that and you can officially drive whatever the hell you like.

Suzanne: scifi indeed. The consulting room was like the control room of the death star. Thankfully the optician didn't try and heavy breathing... I think I'd've panicked given the close quarters.

Kelloggsville said...

I'm exactly the same and I have also been going to the same opticians since I was 5. My mum and grandma have/had Glaucoma so I too sponge off the state for my eye tests. My eyes are still 'improving' and I'm thinking of running a tote on when I get 20-20 before it all goes down hill again! Did you ever hear Billy Connolly do "Prescription Window Screens"? Sheer Genius :0)

Steve said...

Kelloggsville: Prescription Window Screens? Must have missed that one but it sounds a hoot... in fact I may have to head over to YouTube and see if some scallywag has pirated it and placed it online for my viewing pleasure (I shall view it in a week's time with my new glasses and see if there's any difference).

MOTHER OF MANY said...

So no sheepdog shearing?

Mark said...

I so hate needing glasses to read. Had to wear a patch as a kid but it did no good so only one eye works properly anyway.

The Crow said...

Maybe thw wings are a bit much, but pink is definitely your color, doll!

:0}

Vicky said...

I just got new glasses and what freaked me out about the test was when they blew air or something into your eyes, I think I whacked my head on the rest your head machine LOL

Wanderlust said...

Well now I'm feeling quite robbed.
Because I've been near-sighted for years and it's gotten progressively worse and then when I hit 40 I started needed reading glasses to see up close. But my near-sightedness didn't get any better. They just gave me bifocals! I feel like someone's granny. So unfair.

Wanderlust said...

But at least I'm in a store window.

Steve said...

Ally: can't run fast enough to catch the buggers anyway!

Mark: an eye patch? That sounds hard going. I didn't like my NHS glasses but I'm counting my blessings.

The Crow: true, and it goes so well with my slingbacks...

Vicky: ah the eye pressure test. Still I'd rather they did it that way than by emulating kicking a tyre...!

Wanderlust: ah but bifocals are so professorial! That's bound to add a few more dollars to your price tag!

The Sagittarian said...

You mean Jarvis Cocker copied Those Scottish Twins???
Mate, you just need to grow your arms longer and all will be well with the world.

Steve said...

Amanda: it would certainly make touching my toes a lot easier...!

vegemitevix said...

I hate my glasses they're old fashioned and after wearing contact lenses for so long, feel awkward on my face. Very impressed your eyesight has improved. Does this mean we become more long-sighted figuratively, as well as literally, in our forties?

Steve said...

Vegemitevix: I'd like to think so but, alas, my forward planning skills don't have the benefit of 20/20 vision anymore than my eyesight does!

Tenon_Saw said...

My eyes are also showing signs of age; I currently have 3 pairs of glass as varifocals will not suit me I am told and I do not wish to fork out £300 to discover this myself.
[Mrs TS has glaucoma in her family too.]

Steve said...

Tenon_Saw: the new glasses I have gone for are so out of fashion (apparently) that they have only set me back £50. That's the least amount of money a trip to the optician has ever cost me.

LöstJimmy said...

I can't see a damned thing without my glasses / contact lenses. I was warned that over indulgence was the cause of my shortsightedness, that and hairy palms...and to think I thought it was an urban myth!

Steve said...

LöstJimmy: urban myth? Sadly not. I have to take my hands to the barbers at least twice a week...

Selina Kingston said...

Oh, I've just been catching up - I didn't realise I had missed so much !!
I've had to start wearing glasses in the last year or so for reading. I'm very naughty though as I'm too vain to wear them in front of others so I look a right sight in meetings where I have to squint to follow any written matter - very attractive!
By the way, congratulations to you and Karen - that was a lovely post

Steve said...

Selina: wear your glasses with pride. The right pair can look sexy and can add an intriguing layer of mystery and perceived intelligence to the wearer's face. Or at least, that's what I've always told myself...