Friday, August 6

Tunnel vision

A couple of months ago I got a pair of eyeglasses with no-line bifocals. Not that I’m vain and want to conceal my vanishing youth, but because I had tried a pair of lined bifocals and it drove me nuts, especially since I didn’t agree with the optometrist as to what magnification I wanted for reading. She would have me hold things about a foot from my face; I’d rather read about a foot-and-a-half away.

The eyeglasses people told me I should try no-line, progressive lenses. They go from your normal distant vision at the top of the lens, then progress downward to the magnification you need at the bottom, making a gradual transition. One problem, though; they do it with tunnel vision. In order to read a page, I have to move my head left to right because words are out of focus on either side of center. Also, in order to find the magnification I want I have to bob my head like one of those goofy dipping drinking birds that bob up and down over a glass of water. It can make you dizzy.

I have excellent distance vision, and need only slight magnification (+1.5 diopters) for reading, so why bother with full-time glasses? The reason is that I am constantly looking from close to far away all day long, and am repeatedly donning and doffing my readers. (Donning and doffing—when’s the last time, if ever, you heard anyone say that?) When I take the reading glasses off, I usually put them in a shirt pocket. If I lean over, as I did atop the water tank last week, the glasses slide out and quickly sink through eight feet of water, joining a very old roll of plumbing tape and a broken pipe adapter ring, probably never to be recovered. Or they get crunched under the drive wheels of the road grader. Or they fall into wet concrete. Or I sit on them. Or a pesky leprechaun grabs them and disappears down a rabbit hole. That’s why.

So I figure if I keep my full-range-progressive glasses on, they’ll last longer. But the tunnel vision is going to take some getting used to. The sellers told me to give it time. I will if I don’t get woozy and fall into some wet concrete myself.

Or disappear down a rabbit hole. “Oh, hello, Alice. Fancy meeting you here.”