The Eyes Have It … Aging Is Not For Sissies


I still remember the moment I put on my first pair of glasses when I was 9 years old.  I looked across the street, and was pleasantly surprised I could see the leaves on the trees. I didn’t realize that was normal.

When I got to be 16, hard contacts were popular, and like most teens, I wanted to lose the glasses.  So I learned to put little hard disks in my eyes and blink 100 times to dislodge a speck of dust that felt like a large piece of sharp glass.  

I remember one of the basketball players at my school used to lose his contact lens during every game,  and they had to stop the clock while he crawled on the floor looking for it.  

Thankfully, soft contacts were soon invented and life was good for many years to come.  

Until the onset of middle age … when the adventure of the bifocal, the trifocal, the progressive lens,  “cheaters,” half glasses, and those lovely strings to hang your glasses on so you don’t lose them … begins.  

I got my first bifocals at 40, before I noticed a need for them.  My eye doctor insisted it was time, and said I’d regret it if I waited any longer.  As soon as I left the building, I made a spectacle of myself by stumbling as the sidewalk appeared to fly up and nearly hit me in the face.

But I adjusted, and life was good again for a few years.  

Until styles changed and frames became smaller.  I learned along with my tribe of aging cronies, the progressive lens needs room to, well … progress.  I found myself ripping my little wire rims off my face and squinting, after tilting my head this way and that, trying to find the right spot in the bifocal to read the small print on the bottle of painkillers I needed for the headache I got from not being able to see in the first place.

So the next pair of glasses was a bit bigger.  Now I am sitting at my computer, with my chair as close as possible, sans glasses, trying to see once again. At least I can still see close up without correction under the right circumstances.  

It’s important at this age to hang out with friends who have the opposite vision impairment, so we can balance each other out.  I can read the menu, if you can drive.  Deal?

Of course, there’s always Lasik surgery.  I know several people who have been very happy with the results.  I have not been interested in trying it, however.  I’ll just wait a few years until it’s time for cataract surgery — I hear it’s a two-for-one kind of deal.

Until then, I read hipsters are sporting monocles these days. It might be time to give one a try. They do make you look smart! 

Image courtesy of Mister GC at

4 Responses

  1. Carol

    …and once you get old enough to need cataract surgery you’ll not only see all of the leaves on the trees – you’ll see wrinkles and brown spots on your face that you didn’t know you had. At least you will if you follow the pattern of your elders:) Terrific essay as always!

    1. bethdiane

      Thanks, Carol!
      Yes, sometimes we are better off not seeing it all — but we are not getting older, we’re getting better! I’m pretty sure I heard that from a very credible source — long before it made sense 😉

  2. Deb

    I’m going to do LASIK this year. It used to scare me, but it’s so common place now. Tired of bifocals after three years of no contacts.

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