Monday, August 2, 2010



Peter Hutchinson has a lot to answer for.  I purposefully spectacularly flunked my first sight test all because of him. 
My poor Ma, oh, the guilt she carried.  Talk about neglect, for shame, how could she have missed her middle child walking around in that half-blind state for so long?
A devious and certainly mis-guided child, I had no qualms at all in faking the necessary headaches to achieve my goal.  There’s nothing like a two week concentrated bout of thumping migraine to scare the bejesus out of your parent. 
Not that Old Dr. Heaps was that impressed.  His answer to every childhood ailment lay at the door of bacterial ear-infection.  Well, either that or tonsillitis. But being as how my tonsils had already been whipped out, the latter was easily eliminated.   No matter what my Ma dragged me in to his surgery to see him about, I came out with my ears freshly syringed and singing,  clutching a bottle of Penicillin.  

Diarrhea?   Could be ear-related.  

A hacking cough?  A definite sign those ears need checking.  

Nasty rash?  Best to syringe the ears out, and just to be on the safe side, follow through on a dose of antibiotics.     

So hardly surprisingly, when I am wheeled before him presenting with headaches,  we’re told there’s quite an epidemic of that around right now, and that I should definitely have my waxes checked out.  Thus reassured that a quick syringe, together with a full course of antibiotics, would surely shift my problem, Ma gratefully relaxed and sat back for the medicine to kick in.  
When it didn’t, I finally achieved my sought-after appointment with the optician.  I shamelessly lied my way through the charts, with not a care in the world.  My heart had set itself to obtaining those much longed for pink, plastic, National Health Service glasses.
They worked, too.  My headaches instantly vanished.
After experiencing the odd headache, Peter Hutchinson had started wearing a set of blue, plastic, National Health Service glasses.  Now I had the same (except for the pink).  Everyone liked Peter, especially me, and he looked sooo dead, dead cool in those groovy spec’s.  
So that’s the story of how I came to fuck up my eyesight, or at least I think it is.  I can’t be altogether sure, of course, maybe I was destined to have crappy vision, who knows?  I do know the shine of wearing those pink, plastic NHS bottle-tops soon wore off.  For one thing, I saw bugger-all with them on, and secondly, most importantly, I couldn’t seem to pull off that dead, dead, cool pose in the same way Peter did.  

I had yet to realise there are certain kids who are just born cool, it doesn’t even matter what they wear, or how they look, whatever they choose to do or say, it invariably  comes out right.    They are simply easy with who they are, don’t feel the need to go against, or with, the crowd.  Confident without being cocky, people liked Peter because, with or without his specs, he had this way of making those around him feel comfortable and at ease in his presence.
A couple of years later I moved away to a different school, but although I soon lost all thoughts of Peter Hutchinson, his lasting legacy of my self-inflicted lousy vision continued on.
Too vain to wear (the now correct prescription) glasses, I largely managed to squint my way through most of my teenage years, only resorting to donning my specs in the privacy of home.  When I joined the workplace, this had to change.  Selling insurance involves a lot of small print, tons of form-filling, and a good deal of required reading.  No longer able to bluff or fumble my way through, I had to bite the bullet.
Contact lens were still pretty new fangled at this point, and extremely expensive to boot.  Not that I cared,  I would have happily mortgaged my soul if it meant losing the glasses. See, they didn't have those condensed, thinner lens options back then, I wore the original freaky version, the kind that magnify your eyeballs x 100, transforming them into two wet goldfish gliding behind the murky depth.  Ugh, how I hated that!           
Hard lens were the only option at the time. Oh Lord, they hurt. I spent most of my days looking as though I'd cried myself to sleep every night. On a good day, my eyes were only bloodshot, on a bad one I became the devil-child, all the whites turned red. 

It scared the shit out of folk.  

Until I caught myself in the mirror, I happily ran through the day looking like this crazed zombie, unless someone plucked up the courage to tell me. 

Jeez, it's nothing short of a pure miracle I'm not blind.

Later came the softer and almost bearable to wear contacts. I say almost, I had to put drops in every five mins to resist ripping my eyeballs out by the nails. They itched and irritated, often chipped, and frequently tore my retina.  This cloudy build up of calcium would often appear, giving me the fetching appearance of sporting cataracts in both eyes.  

As technology improved I moved on to daily disposables, but by then I’d developed “dry-eye”, forcing me to limit their use to a piddling couple of hours a day.

I now find the ones designed to sleep in, for continuous use of up to three months, are the only ones I can tolerate, and even so, they tend to irritate and hurt if I dare to wear them beyond more than an hour or two.

Which is why I’ve been checking out corrective surgery.  The ad’s look brilliant, don’t they? 

Ha, dream on!  

It’s a simple enough procedure for most near-sighted mortals I’m told, but it turns out someone like me requires a far more radical remedy. 


Because of the nature of my long-sightedness, and to the degree I am afflicted, it appears I would first require a surgery similar to that used in cataract removal, to have an artificial lens permanently inserted behind (or under, or above, I kind of lost focus mid-way through this part of the consultation, tuning out the icky-ucky nuts and bolts of what I am NOT, no way, ever allowing to happen to) my eyes.  This involves a two day hospital stay, and a couple of weeks for recovery – THEN, and only then, would I be considered suitable for any laser correction.  

Oh, and this type of "correction" also costs thousands upon thousands of more pounds, far, far more than the bog-standard fees which the all-too-good-to-be-true adverts so love to boast, of course. 

Pah, I say!  Peter Hutchinson, I lay curses upon your coolness.


Joe Cap said...

All I can say is...I would NEVER wear contacts...but easy for me to say, I only need to wear glasses for reading small print in bad light.

Akelamalu said...

There's no way I could put a contact lens in my eye! My eyes water at the very thought. :0

mrsnesbitt said...

I have my "teaching" appointment on Wednesday for my first trial with contact lenses so this was really good to read! I am open -minded and going into the whole experiment with my eyes wide open! (smile)

Saz said...

interesting..l went for a laser correction consultation, the guy was rude and arrogant and even asked me if l really wanted it done, just for vanity!! That l wouldnt be able to see close up without specs afterwards...and hadnt even looked at my prescription....I left and complained later in writing...

all in a small darkened room, without my specs on...l could barely see...and was very uncomfortable...

l would never go back to them..

l do so hope this works well for you...

l wold love to have 10/20 vision instead of my varifocal myopia!

SJ said...

I used to have short sight too and my my college days - awful timing or what - I was wearing those very goldfish lenses. Then finally I got laser surgery done and life has been cool at least when it comes to sight since then!

jinksy said...

You've just reminded me my galsses are pinching my nose something cruel! Ouch! LOL :)

Kit Courteney said...

Love that last ^^ comment!

Sometimes I wish I were a fly on your would be such fun!

Jeaux said...

There is no such thing as a free cool.

The Urban Cowboy said...

I'm too paranoid to let someone perform any kind of surgery on my eyes, unless I absolutely needed it, of course.

RA said...

Hilarious! I had the same sort of buts and ifs when I turned 45 and my eyes... well... started getting old. Can you imagine specs with the word "old" glued to them? No Peter Hutchinson needed to have nightmares.... :D

The Blue Zoo said...

I wear contacts and have for years. I love them! But Im way too scared to let them do anything surgical to my eyes!!

secret agent woman said...

I had to get my first glasses a year or so ago, and I still resist wearing them. Even though my longs will soon not be long enough to hold a menu a sufficient distance to be able to read it!

Pat Tillett said...

Good post! my story is somewhat the same. I grew up on the public dole, and there was no way I was ever going to wear those UGLY and embarrasing glasses they gave me.
So I learned to do without. I wish I could wear contacts, but when I tried it always felt like I was putting dirt in my eyes. It never went away, so I stopped wearing them. Now I just wear glasses...

Like you, I'm sure I damaged my eyes by refusing to wear those ugly things...

Parabolic Muse said...

Never wore contacts and never will! I have had glasses on every day all day since I was 8 ! HA!

I remember how shocked I was when I could actually see things further than five feet in front of me. It was shocking!

brokenbiro said...

Hi! Just bumbled over here from Jinksy's place! I've worn glasses since I was about 11 (miracle! first time I could see the blackboard or the numbers on the bus!). Tried contacts but kept getting cysts under my eyelids so quit and dutifully wore my glasses... still got worse, but don't even think about them anymore - they're just part of me.

So don't blame yourself!

But they can do super-thin lenses now and some people aren't happy with surgery (I'd had friends who have a corona effect - not beer-related!- and problems driving). So weigh your options with care...

Leslie: said...

Sounds as though your eye history is like mine (minus the Peter). My father wouldn't accept that I couldn't see and I finally got my Mom to take me the optomotrist the summer before I started university. When I stepped outside, I couldn't believe what I'd been missing all those years. However, at age 18, it was NOT cool to wear know, girls who wear glasses don't get kisses or passes! So like you I wore them in private to watch TV or to drive. At a movie I'd just squint. Now many years later and after trying EVERYTHING like you did, I have had to succumb to progressive lenses so that I could see not only the kids at the back of the classroom trying to act up, but also at the same time be able to read what was right in front of me! *sigh* Just wear some really cool frames and change them every couple of years and you'll look and see just fine!

TechnoBabe said...

Yay for you, don't mess with your eyesight. You were probably way cooler than Peter back then but you didn't have the inner vision.

laughingwolf said...

i'd get the surgery, IF i had the $$$

since i don't, it's eyeglasses; new pair sometime this week...

Charlene said...

I wore ever thickening glasses until I was 54. All that time my eyes were also developing cataracts. Then these were removed and lenses inserted. Six hours after surgery, I could read the clock across the room without glasses.

It is FABULOUS!!!!

I wear glasses for reading but sometimes when my arms are especially long, I don't have to do that.

Fen said...

oh I so need to get my eyes retested. My left eye is worse than my right, I haven't got them on now and I'm squinting at the screen! Mind you they're so scratched I'm not sure if they do any good anyway! Glasses are expensive here, so they're gonna have to wait a tad longer.

Shrinky said...

Hmmmn, you are a lucky man, Joe (see the envious glint in my eye?)

Haha, Akelamalu, hubby used to say the same, up until he tried them - he kinada' to them after that..

Oh my, Denise, there's a coincidence, eh? Good luck hon, hope they feel right for you!

Jeez Saz, what an arrogant little prick! I'm glad you complained, it might save the next one after you from going through the same. It's a pity you had such a bad experience, but I can understand why you've decided it's not for you.

Oh SJ, I'll bet it's made a world of difference, and the bonus is, you are also young enough to reap the maximum benefits from it, too. Thanks for telling me, it's good to hear such a positive feedback.

Ha, yeah Jinksy, and that's another thing, eh?

Hmn, I dunno' Kit, I think I might swap "interesting" in place of "fun", but at least it's rarely boring (wink)..!

Hi Jeaux, how lovely of you to stop by, and um, yes, I have come to realise there is wisdom to what you say (smile).

Hello Urban Cowboy, it certainly isn't for everyone, that's for sure.

Oh RA, sadly, being in the same boat, I tend to think you may have a point!

Hi Blue Zoo, if your lens are comfortable, you'd be mad to go for surgery, why take the risk? I'd stick with what you've got, too. If it 'ain't broke, why fix it, eh?

Ah, that doesn't sound too bad, Secret Agent, I think you can happily settle for that, you can still mostly get by.

Hi five, Pat! I am sure there a lot of us like that around (rolling eyes).

Hello Chris, oh yeah, isn't it wonderful to just SEE?? I can think of nothing worse than to lose my sight. maybe I should just settle for what I have, and be grateful, eh?

Hey BrokenBiro (great name btw), I am so glad you popped by (smile). Aw, the jury would still be out, even if I COULD afford the surgery - which I can't, so it's all just supposition now, anyway..

Oh Leslie, I can really feel for that 18yr old girl, it sure is a double edged sword at that age, isn't it? I am kinda' stuck in a time warp with my frames, although I change them now and then, they tend to usually be a clone of my previous pair. Maybe I should go wild and try something different next time around..?

TechnoBabe, I may have been a lot of things through life, but cool has NEVER been my strong point!! I've learned to settle for clutz, after all, it comes so easy (grin).

Ah yes, Laughingwolf, I think if cash weren't an issue, I still might be tempted to go for it - good luck with the new frames (sigh).

Charlene, oh wow, it sounds as though your eyesight was pretty close to how mine is - this is really encouraging to hear, I am so glad to hear this - oh, darn it, now I'm tempted to start saving!!

Dearest Fen, if you can get by with squinting at the screen, you are no where near as desperate as to contemplte having surgery done (besides, you have a few other bits and pieces to wade through right now, I doubt your eyesight is that much of a priority at the minute). Mind, when the time rolls round, a fresh set of spec's probably wouldn't do you any harm (smile).

tattytiara said...

If it's any consolation, Peter probably never had a clue how cool he looked in glasses, and has probably since had the surgery and wondered why the girls don't swoon over him like they used to.

Joanna Jenkins said...

If only there was a magic wand for this sort of thing.

You tell such a great story-- And I feel you pain. I need reading glasses for everything-- I even need them to eat dinner. Contacts aren't an option and I'd never do the surgery (heard to many horror stories about that) so I'm with you. Stuck with less than cool looking glasses and now clue as to how to hip myself up when wearing them. I yiyi.

Cheers, jj

Shrinky said...

Aw Tatty, I doubt Peter ever was cut out to be a Romeo, he's probably still a nice, laid back guy.. just now bald, and with a bit of a paunch!

Hi JJ, you too, huh? Well, at least in the summer we can wear our prescription sunglasses with pride, and kid ourselves no one is any the wiser, eh (grin)?

chewy said...

Old Dr. Heaps had an ear fetish, don't ya think? The thought of eye surgery makes me cringe. Anyway... you are already way cool with or without glasses.

Shrinky said...

Shucks Chewy, you always say the nicest of things (kicking my toes..). Ya' know, now I think of it, Old Dr. Heaps was deaf as a post, maybe he was over-compensating for having had an undiagnosed glue-ear problem himself, as a kid?

nothingprofound said...

Funny post. My vision only started going haywire recently, and with a spotless record of perfect seeing in the past I'm finding it hard to accept. I went out and bought ten pairs of reading glasses at a dollar store, and that's as far as I'm willing to commit right now. I can't even put drops in my eyes, so contacts would be a total nightmare. I want to thank you for dropping by Out Of Context and leaving a comment. Much appreciated. Just put up a brand new one if you're interested. Take care.

Suldog said...

I always had fantastic eyesight, better than 20/20, until a few years back. Then I found that one eye was 20/40 and the other odd in the opposite way, so I got bifocals as my first pair of glasses ever at age 47 or 48.

I hated the things. Not just glasses, mind you, as I have no problem wearing them and don't give a flying fig how cool I look or anything like that. But I could never get used to the bifocals, and always had a headache. I went back to the shop and had them make me distance glasses and reading glasses, two separate pair, and that's what I'll use until I die. I can't imagine sticking anything in my eye and being able to get used to it, and I plan never to wear bifocals again.

Sabi Sunshine said...

I dont know but i love to wear green contacts.. I always wanted to have cat eyes ..heheh

~Babs said...

Waaaah,,,I'd love the surgery,,,IF I could be guaranteed no problems. I know too many people that haven't been happy with it.
I didn't need correction until I got old,,went to glasses part time, for up close only, then to progressives. Wore contacts off and on for a few years, which I can no longer tolerate. So here I am,,,,glasses. Grateful I can see, and too old to be cool anyway.

Shrinky said...

Hello Nothingprofound, how lovely to see you in here. I guess there comes a time most of us just need to accept the need for glasses, eh? (sigh..)

Hi Jim, oh, that happened to my dad too, when he switched to bifocals. I was offered that option, but knowing how they don't agree with everyone, I decided against them, from what you say, I'm glad I did!

Bab's you will ALWAYS be cool! I think if I could afford the cash, and the recovery time, I'd be pretty easily swayed to go through with the surgery - it must be fantastic to have good vision.

Middle Child said...

Tell me is it true the old saying "boys don't make passes to girls that wear glasses" sorry i just had to ask - tee hee

PPLIC said...

Nice article. very interesting, thanks for sharing.

PPLIC said...

Nice article. very interesting, thanks for sharing.