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How stuff works?

Friday, January 10, 2014

Have you ever wondered how glasses work? I mean, really. I understand the science of refraction (curving glass one way makes things look bigger, curving it another way, focuses further away), but the whole glasses thing? I’m confused.

I am not bragging about my eyes. Truth is, they’re good – if weird. But for a frank discussion to be had, I must present these things from my perspective (ha!), and it is somewhat unique.
** end of disclaimer**

I have an accommodative spasm problem with my eyes. Essentially, I am far-sighted. I see “better” far away than I do up close. I also have somewhat ridiculously good eyes (they have degenerated down to only 20/20 in the last couple of years... yeah, sorry folks. My sister has dibs, she gets to tear them out: her theory is that she’s ½ blind because I stole all the good eye genes). I also have – as many of you know – chronic headaches. So, when I called Ontario Telehealth to ask, “how much should your eyes change and how quickly? And should it happen in episodes?” they sent me immediately to an ER to make sure I didn’t have a tumour (hint: it’s not a tumour).

At the ER I waited less time than expected (only about 6 hours total, in-and-out), to be referred to an Ophthalmologist. Fortunately for me, the ER doctor only did the “visual acuity” test after speaking to me. This is important, because, since then, I have been dismissed for being unnecessarily alarmed. You see, the nurse who tested my acuity (aka measurement of being able to see) found that mid-episode of weird blurriness during which I’d been nervous driving, my vision remained 20/20.

Seriously? People drive when they can’t read the street signs from more than 20 feet away? Wow... I have been spoiled. Am I an eye snob?
**this monologue would be breaking the 3rd wall, if I was on stage**

So... I went to the Ophthalmologist. And he was... impatient with me. Nevermind I’d been having an episode on and off for 3 days, I was clearly wasting his time. After all, before putting the happy little drops in my eyes, his nurse tested me, and again, I was 20/20. So finally, after about 10 minutes of me saying, “No, there IS something wrong,” he started listing possible causes for episodic vision blurriness:

1. Blood pressure. – Nope! At 30lbs heavier, my BP registered at mid-range normal. Currently? Low end of normal: next!
2. Blood sugar. – Again, nope! Just the month before my Doc had done a fasting blood test (at my request) because I’m quite sensitive to blood sugar changes and get moody when I haven’t eaten.
3. Farsightedness. – BINGO!

My response was a bit more diplomatic: “Well, I was told a few years ago that I am farsighted, but I’ve never had glasses because I don’t need them.”

He sent me to my Optometrist, looking slightly nonplussed that the “least likely” solution was the truth, and that maybe – just maybe – I wasn’t a hypochondriac who loves hospitals. I wanted to scream at him (but didn’t, because I’m not completely impulsive all the time): “See dude! Just because my eyes are better than yours, doesn’t mean there’s no problem with them!”

So my Optometrist, who is awesome and I had seen only 4 months prior, booked me in that Friday. He told me that what I’m having is an Accommodative Spasm. Essentially, when looking at something close for a long time, your muscles get stuck in the contracted position, so when you try to see something far away, they won’t relax. If it was significantly impeding my vision, I would have been prescribed muscle-relaxing eyedrops, but the simpler option is to wear glasses for close-up work.

These spasms are pretty common with people who are farsighted and work – like I do – in an office where 90% of my day consists of looking at things within three feet of myself. So, I’ve got glasses. They’re pretty cute, too, actually (turquoise, of course, and they came with clip-on sunglasses for when I wanted to read on the roof!).

So yes, the girl with 20/20 vision is now looking at the same things, only bigger, through a pair of glasses. And she has had only one episode since: the day she forgot her glasses at home.

My problem (and purpose for telling this story) is HOW THE HECK DO THESE PREVENT MY EYES FROM CRAMPING?

I mean, really? Are these glasses fooling my eyes to think that the screen is further away, somehow? Why does making things a little (and I do mean a little) bigger make it easier for my eyes to focus, when they still have to contract to see up close anyway? I mean, sure, glasses magnify. But I always thought that that was their purpose: to make things that you see fuzzily, less fuzzy. How is making the print bigger with glasses different from making the print bigger on my screen? I certainly don’t get the same effect when I merely make the font larger and forget my glasses. So what makes this a good way to keep my eyes from getting a charlie horse?

If anyone knows, let me know: otherwise on my next annual visit to the Optometrist I’ll be regaling him with questions.
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Member Comments About This Blog Post
  • KONRAD695
    You do realize that you shouldn't spend half your days looking at pictures of me. This way only 45% of your day would be on a computer, and therefore, your eyes would stop hurting.

    The spasms are from my image. Just like you shouldn't look at the sun with unprotected eyes.

    Actually, you should consider yourself lucky. Many a Lady has passed out from a direct dose of my beauty.
    1767 days ago
    No idea! But cute glasses! emoticon
    1773 days ago
    I have no idea how they work for something like that.....BUT I do love your glasses.

    I have major issues with glasses because my head is as round as a bowling ball. I have to wear men's glasses or glasses made for wide heads. My next pair is going to be from a brand called fatheadz! Seriously, that's how bad my head is. I have a little dimples on the side of my head, behind my ears, where the ear pieces have pressed themselves into. I actually get headaches from wearing them too often because despite getting the widest pair, they are still too tight on me.

    Oh well. Glad you like your pair, and good luck with them! Keep them clean and safe!
    1776 days ago
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