My eyes are going.
Oh, not in any immediately alarming sense. I’m not talking diseases or growths or rapid degenerative conditions.
They’re just getting on a bit, and the strain is starting to tell. Reading is getting to be hard work, especially at night or after hours in front of a screen – which describes virtually all of my reading. The words aren’t blurry, not yet. It’s just not as easy as it used to be to take in whole paragraphs of text in a few sweeping blinks.
In searching out a simple explanation for some mild health issues, I took an eye test this week. Sure enough, I need prescription reading glasses. A mild prescription, to be sure, but for the first time ever, I can’t boast about having 20/20 vision.
(Actually, I’m not familiar enough with the grading system to be sure about that – it’s about being able to see what you’re supposed to see at 20 feet or 6-ish meters. Well, I can still do that, so perhaps I can still claim 20/20. But I need glasses, so it feels like a bit of a cheat to keep insisting I’m as sharp as I ever was).
The only weird thing about this is that it didn’t happen years ago. I’ve lived for decades with the expectation that being a glasses-wearer was in my imminent future. Every time I’ve passed a sight test with flying colours, it’s been a shock. “What? But I never stop reading. Surely by now I’ve worn them out?”
I’m dreading this new phase, surely a more definitive a sign of the transition middle age than the greying at my temples that started when I was about thirty.
I’m not scared for the usual reasons of vanity or encroaching mortality though. What bothers me is how much time I’m going to spend hunting for lost glasses or grieving for broken ones.
I have an almost comical record of destruction when it comes to sunglasses: I misplace them all the time. I’ve dropped them off my face and stepped on them on more than one occasion. I once destroyed a pair with a precision cricket ball throw from sixty metres, scoring a direct hit on the stump I’d put them behind for safety and cutting the glasses neatly in half when said stump dropped on them like falling timber.
(You should have seen it. It was like a ludicrously improbable death scene from one of the Final Destination movies, only for a pair of cheap servo sunnies).
I’m picking out frames next week sometime. It’s kind of a watershed moment, this enforced personal style update. Square-ish? Oval-ish? That nigh-invisible frameless type? My wife gets the casting vote because unlike me she has to look at them, but she’s been busy this week. The extent of my thinking so far is to wave a vague hand and hope that I don’t take the absolute first suggestion the optometry staff makes.
But there’s a plus side to this. I really need to get an author photo taken soon, and glasses will, by my absolutely scientifical calculonometry, make me look at least 30 or 40 per cent more bookish and distinguished. Score!