Thursday, August 26, 2010

vision problems

I was talking to a friend today who said she recently discovered her glasses prescription had gone up. She mentioned that she was pretty bummed when the optometrist "went up two clicks" and everything got clearer. That sounded really familiar to me.

I first got glasses when I was seven or eight years old. For the next six years, my prescription increased every year. Walking into the exam room, the only question on my mind would be, by how much? As the machine kept clicking up, I'd start to get a sinking feeling in my stomach, because when I came back out with a particularly bad prescription, my parents would frown and scold me for reading too much (in the dark, in the car, while walking).

As I got older I started to recognize the optometrist trick of renaming the same two powers "1 or 2? 3 or 4? 5 or 6?" and I also became very good at guessing letters by shape even when they were quite blurry. At least once I tried to game the system so my prescription would come out lower. In retrospect this seems completely stupid, but I guess my ten-year-old self was more concerned about parental approval than being able to see clearly for the next year.

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