Thursday, April 24, 2008

The Trapezoidal, Slightly Flattened World

I have taken the car out for a few more trips, primarily to force myself to get accustomed to her. But I'm really having trouble getting accustomed to something else: my glasses.

In the past my decision has been to wear the glasses only for distance vision, and nobody has given me a good reason for why I shouldn't do so (besides a few silly, teasing comments in this blog). It seems to me that if I don't need the glasses for everyday life I probably shouldn't wear them, partly to avoid wear and tear on them, but also because there are times when I won't WANT to wear them, and I don't want to be blind at those times because my eyes EXPECT the glasses then.

But the thing is, even after ninety minutes of wearing my glasses at a stretch the world still looks and feels funny. The ground is never where it's supposed to be, my reach is slightly off, round objects are slightly ovoid, and reality REALLY warps when I pay attention to the way it hits the frames.

So I've begun to wonder if I NEED to wear them constantly, otherwise I'll never get used to them. Maybe after a certain amount of cumulative exposure my brain will know how to adjust to them faster when I put them on. For that reason I'm still wearing them as I type this, which is why the browser window is a disconcerting trapezoidal shape (maybe it always was and I just never noticed?)

I've done Google searches for "get accustomed to glasses," but I've found no information about how people actually do so. Is there a support group? Can I join a class where we learn to see things again?

Is this a problem with my prescription, I wonder? Is it my glasses that need fixing, or is it my head?


Anonymous said...


I was in a very similar position to you about a year ago. I simply could not get used to my new glasses.

Anyway, I kept on going back to the optical shop and complaining. In the end, someone in the shop advised me to "give them a chance" and wear them all the time for a couple of weeks.

I did exactly that and in about a week I found they worked perfectly. I guess the unintended consequence was that I now wear them pretty much all the time, but that's OK because I see so much better.

Hope this helps. I'd be interested in knowing how you get on.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

Thanks! That's exactly what they just told me on the phone: that even though I don't need them in all situations, I'll need to wear them all the time, and that it could take about a week for the world to look normal again.

This means that next time you see me dancing, or on stage at a drag show, I'll be PARTICULARLY blind. Sigh.

The only other option is to decide never to wear them at all, which is probably a bad idea.

Anonymous said...

At first I thought they were just trying to get rid of me, but it really worked.

Another piece of advice that seemed to help was to do things where that are enjoyable that you need glasses for. For example, go to a movie,a show, or a sports event. The glasses start working for you, and you forget that you are wearing them!

Syd Midnight said...

You have a third choice.. I don't know how drag shows work, but work glasses into your act? I suppose it wouldn't always be an option, but go shopping for frames like you'd go shopping for clothes, expensive, but settle on a few different pairs of glasses for a few different looks?

Sounds like you're nearsighted but not terribly. Everything looks different with glasses, foreshortened. You may need to take them off for close-up work like reading or the internet. I can't see 6 inches but I still take mine off sometimes when enjoying a good book close up... nearsight glasses make things small and sharp, and if you can deal without them (and don't squint too much), godspeed.

I got my first pair of glasses before I can remember, they're not thick but I'm blur city without them. When I get a new prescription every 6 years or so there's a breaking-in period where everything just looks too.. hi-def. Too small and sharp. I stagger across the mall feeling like I'm on some drug. You get used to it quickly, but only if you keep at it. It's amazing what your brain can get used to in a few days.

You absolutely need glasses when driving. If the shift is tough to get used to, another option is to shop around and buy a few good, sexy pairs of glasses you can use on stage at least sometimes. I dunno about contacts, I simply can't stand touching my eyeball, if you can then there's a good option.

Never underestimate the power of a nice pair of glasses. I looked horrid for 2 years because I wore a pair of big thick plastic "child molester" frames, so I saved up specially to buy a pair of thin, round, sexy "John Lennon" wire frames. Money well spent.

Wish I could be more helpful, you get used to glasses very quickly, but if you need to take them off often every day, and it's a problem, then you probably should get contacts.

Good luck, and it IS something your brain will get used too, it just takes time because the experience of wearing glasses is psychedelic at first. You're seeing TOO much TOO sharp.

Anonymous said...

I agree with syd midnight.

I used to be horribly self-conscious about having to wear glasses and spend my teenage years in a blur.

Finally, I got a really good looking pair -- that turned my life around. I got used to the sharp vision like syd says and my new glasses are now an essential part of my wardrobe.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I really do like my glasses -- I think they look great -- so my objection to wearing them isn't an aesthetic one: it's whether I want to become dependent on them for situations other than just driving (or seeing a show or navigating an airport).

The problem with wearing them during a drag show or while dancing at a bar is that they'd just go flying off my head, and also my REGULAR eyelashes brush the lenses...FALSE eyelashes would just make my glasses look like cages for aggressive spiders.

I would certainly choose to only wear them when necessary EXCEPT that the optician said that wearing them reduces eyestrain and prolongs the life of my eyes. This could be true, though I'm wearing them here at work and my eyes naturally want to DEFOCUS while staring at the screen.

And yes, the world becomes almost disturbingly sharp when I'm wearing them, especially close-up; book text is almost uncomfortable to look at.

Anonymous said...

Everything I have ever read suggests that wearing glasses does not really make you dependent on them.

The only thing that happens is that people sometimes find they prefer to see well so they start wearing their glasses more often.

I found that after I started wearing my glasses all the time, my life turned around. I became happier, more self confident, and just enjoyed my life more -- and I figured out how to dance pretty energetically without taking them off!

Anonymous said...

I am wearing glasses for the first time in a long time cos I got an eye infection. I just cant get used to them. It's like I keep seeing the edges of the frame. Hopefully I can go back to my contacts in a week or two.

Muffy St. Bernard said...

I've made an updated post about these things.

As for the frames, oh, I know. My biggest problem comes when I'm sitting down and reading with my head down, then looking up to stare at something.

With my head down the glasses move down my nose slightly. When I look up, half the world is in the frame and the other half out of it. I can't see a darn thing!

Anonymous said...

If glasses bother you, have you considered contacts? They work for me!


Syd Midnight said...

I'll stop, going backwards in time to respond now, but..

Wearing or now wearing your glasses will not make you dependent, nor hurt your vision. At worst, squinting and straining makes your eyeballs tired.. give them a rest and focus on a far-off object for a few moments, every hour.

Glasses won't hurt, but there is no "cure" for the weirdness between seeing too sharp with glasses and seeing all fuzzy without.

Just get some nice frames, so you can wear them when needed.. and maybe at the glasses store ask about the floor model frames, because you might want a great pair of frames for your show, without the lenses!