Reading Glasses in the Kent Free Library

In all my 46 years of life, I’ve never had a full-fledged optician’s office eye examination… until this week. I have to do the quickfire eye exam at the Bureau of Motor Vehicles every five years. But my vision has been sharp enough that I’ve never really felt the need to get my eyes examined. In the last couple of years, however, I’ve started to wonder… And with today’s full-fledged optician’s office eye examination, it appears that I’m soon going to be joining the ranks of the bespectacled.

It happens to a lot of people in their forties. Aging prompts presbyopia (literally “old man eyes,” transliterated from the Greek!). And for me, over the last couple of years, I’ve started to notice more and more difficulty reading small print, especially in low-light conditions. It’s been manageable. Still, it’s been getting more and more annoying. A few times, I’ve tried on friends’ reading glasses, and I’ve been shocked to see how much easier it is to read with just the little bit of extra magnification and sharper definition that comes with these corrective lenses.

So, I finally made an appointment with the eye doctor. And honestly, it was worth the “price of admission” just to observe the technology and methodology used in examining one’s eyes! So many sophisticated machines! So many measurements! It was fascinating to participate in that process and watch them dial in my prescription. The doctor said that I should always be able to see pretty well past the arms-extended end of my fingertips. No need for glasses while I drive, for instance. Within the range of my arms, however, it will be increasingly helpful to have the assistance of corrective lenses.

Spectacles Side-by-Side

So the doctor encouraged me to buy a number of cheap “readers” from Target or Walmart or Amazon. He said that either 1.25 or 1.50 should do the trick. But he also advised me to get a custom prescription for glasses that could help slightly for distance vision (reducing glare, etc.) while in effect also keeping readers on my face for the things within that arm’s length radius. That is, I won’t have to take the glasses off to transition between seeing things up close and seeing things farther away. It may be easiest to just be bespectacled all the time.

So even though I recognized that there was a bit of salesmanship to the optician’s recommendation, I decided to order the custom lenses. And I’m actually pretty excited about the new glasses! My family helped me to select the middle set of frames from the above side-by-side comparison shots. They feel pretty comfortable. And I think they might even help me to look somewhat distinguished. I’ve never been all that afraid of gray hair or laugh lines. So why should I resist a sign of aging that will actually help me?!?

It really does seem like glasses help me to see better. When looking at the pages of my Bible or my journal, for instance, it seems like gray text shifts to black text when I put the glasses on. Pink text becomes red. It definitely becomes sharper and clearer, too. But I think it’s interesting that the first level of processing in my brain is color.

We’ll see in two or three weeks how the bespectacled life suits me. Maybe I’ll still prefer to use them sparingly. But I’m excited to see for myself.

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