Posts Tagged ‘glasses’

I happen to like edges. As a child, the black crayon was always the first to be worn to a stub because THINGS NEEDED OUTLINES. (Illustrations of people also NEEDED NOSTRILS, but that is a different story.)

I got over that, but not the desire to see clear distinctions between This and That. After those were established, for whatever reason, I then felt perfectly free to ignore those boundaries, but I wanted to see them.

In grad school, it took me several years to find an opthalmologist who was able to translate my repeated complaints that “things are all grey” and “things don’t have edges” into “I have astigmatism, damnit” and gave me the proper correction.


I was ecstatic. The world popped into three dimensions and I spent the next few weeks staring at EVERYTHING.

Periodically the ‘edges’ go away, the far-sightedness increases, and I need to talk with the latest opthalmologist.

But because I am used to making sense of things, and I’m really good at guessing what I’m looking at [see “dyslexia”], I am able to read eye charts. I can complain all I want about how I’m seeing three rectangles of light through the silly eye evaluation machine, but as long as I recite a plausible string of letters, I’m told my prescription is “correct”.

This time I added some numbers, which seemed to get more attention. Sure, it could have been a B, if I really imagined it carefully. And chances were good that no one has added vibrating semicircles to the eye test, so probably those were Cs. But 8s and 0s make for better statements of distress.

But even then, I needed to complain — what I think of as “a person’s face in proper focus” is apparently several levels of magnification stronger than what the glasses fitter thought was necessary.

I wonder: is this all a side effect of having machines that can assess the curvature of eyes and retinae, but completely fail at knowing what my personal ‘vision’ is really like?


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