When you have a visual impairment you see the world a little differently. Even routine tasks like bathing require a few extra steps and amusement parks and water fun are handled cautiously. It’s an inconvenience and blessing all at the same time. On the one hand it’s wonderful that we can see and I am thankful that I can afford my glasses, but on the other it’s terribly inconvenient and sometimes I’m super annoyed that I ever had to start wearing them to begin with.
I remember the first time I was told that I needed glasses. I was in college and sitting in the back of the room. The board looked terribly fuzzy and I wasn’t quite sure if maybe I hadn’t got enough sleep or if the teacher just had terrible hand writing. I asked a few classmates around me if they were having trouble reading the board. A few of them mumbled something that was incomprehensible. Two of them gave a succinct “nope”. I was a back of the class kind of girl so I just toughed it out for the day, but I did actually want to see what was going on so I sat closer to the board the next time
On the drive home from class I noticed that the road signs seemed blurry. “Has it always been like this?” I started asking myself. “Is there something wrong with me?” and “Am I going to wild parties that I don’t remember?” Which was probably not true because a large potion of my college years I spent asking myself “Is everyone hanging out without me?”
This continued for a few more days with my questioning of if I really was having trouble seeing or if I was hallucinating or something else. That something else was sometimes a question of whether I had drank that day and wiped it from my memory but the answer was almost always “no” because I’ve been a prude for as long as I remember. This is probably the reason I kept asking myself where everyone was hanging out and how I didn’t know about it. I’ve gotten much more rad with age, like a fine wine or stinky cheese.
I finally made an appointment for an eye-exam and after a series of awkward tests and looking through a contraption that looked futuristic and ancient at the same time, the optometrist announced that I was in need of prescription eyewear. I was shocked. I was confused by the fact that I didn’t develop a vision problem until I was 20 years old and was surprised at how rapid the onset was. It literally felt like one day I went to sleep with 20/20 vision and the next day I work up barely able to see 10 feet in front of me.
Over the past 7 years I have gotten accustomed to wearing glasses and they’ve even become a part of my image and my online presence. I mean what sort of nerdy nurse might I be if I didn’t have the nerdy glasses?
But really, I don’t know that I’ll ever be able to go without my glasses even if I wanted to. I’ve never been able to wear contacts because of my terrible astigmatism and when I was speculating about picking up Google Glass I was even a little upset that I wouldn’t be able to wear my glasses in them.
But glasses do have their benefits. There are even entire tumblr accounts devoted to wearing eyeglasses.
These days I buy most of my eyeglasses online and at a significant savings. There are many who do not have this luxury and are in need of glasses. When I am done with my frames I will donate them so that those who are less fortunate will benefit from them when I am done. Some companies also help to ensure that the needy have glasses by sponsoring an eyeglass corporate donation program. Because as inconvenient as they are, clear vision should not be considered a luxury and everyone should have access to a pair of glasses.