This summer will mark five years since I’ve had to wear eyeglasses.
I know what you’re thinking: “You must have had that Lasik thing, right?”
Nope. Never gonna happen. There is no way I could possibly sit still — unless they completely put me under — knowing that a laser beam was cutting into my eyeball.
And I’m not wearing contacts, either. I tried that route while I was still in high school. I hated them because I never got used to the idea of the little things sitting on my eye.
So how did my vision magically right itself? Therein hangs a strange tale.
It began about seven or eight years ago in Richmond where I was living at the time. My eyeglasses had been treated with a UV coating which had begun to break up. This resulted in what looked like lots of scratches on the lenses, and eventually it became far too annoying for me to deal with.
I scheduled an eye exam with the idea that I’d buy new glasses, since I was sure there was nothing they could do about the damaged UV coating. I was right about that, incidentally.
If you’ve ever had an eye exam, you know that once you’re seated, the optometrist will slide a giant viewfinder device in front of you, and you look through that at the eye chart. As you’re trying to read the lines, he’ll switch back and forth between different lens selections, two at a time, asking you to choose “A” or “B” for whichever one brings the letters into sharpest focus.
This guy must have had a hot lunch date, because he went really quickly with the “A,” “B” bit.
And apparently, in his rush, and in my confusion, I must have selected the wrong one.
Fast forward a few years. I’m in Richmond, and the arm of my glasses has cracked. So I’m back at the eye doctor for a replacement pair. He sits me down and has me do the eyechart routine. After dialing in the proper selection, he gives me a funny look. He then asks for my glasses, which he places into this strange-looking device that shoots lasers through the lens.
I later learned that this reads the prescription so that he knows exactly what I’m already looking through. Another funny look.
We go through the viewfinder bit again. With the third funny look, I asked what was wrong.
“Well, your prescription was too strong. Didn’t you get headaches?”
No. Eyestrain once in a while, maybe, but no headaches. Then again, I added, I work in television. Headaches are a normal part of the day, so maybe I just didn’t notice anything all that different.
He chuckled. (I always go for the laugh.)
“Here’s the thing: since your prescription was too strong for your vision, your eyes have been having to overcompensate. And in doing so, they’ve gotten stronger, and so now you really don’t need glasses. You’re seeing 20/20.”
Before you get too eager to book your own appointment at the optometrist, I should point out that might left eye was close to normal to begin with, and my right eye was only at about 20/40…so it’s not like I couldn’t see where I was going without glasses.
Still, my vision had improved to the point that I didn’t need glasses. That meant no $300 eyeglasses bill. Yeah, I’ll take that.
While he said it’s not a style of treatment he’d ever recommend, he explained that the eyes contain muscles that focus the lens as we view things, and like other muscles, when they’re worked, they get stronger.
Who’d have thought?
I’m hoping that my eyes got enough of a workout to last for life. But if they ever start going sloppy again, I might ask for one prescription too strong again.
I liked the way that turned out.