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.