Monday, June 23, 2008

My Artistic Vision

Let's talk about vision - literally.

I can't see very well. At all.

I have never been able to see very well - as a young child, it took several years of almost failing grades in elementary school before the teachers and my parents caught on, and I had to start wearing glasses. Really ugly glasses.

When I was about 13, I was allowed to start wearing contacts. They only had hard contacts at that time, but I was able to get rid of the ugly glasses, and I could actually see better than when I wore the glasses.

Of course, hard contacts are uncomfortable, and when soft lenses came out, I finally was able to see comfortably. But all those years of hard lenses had sensitized my eyes, and even the soft lenses became uncomfortable after awhile, because my eyes no longer produced tears in sufficient quantity to keep the lenses lubricated.

Eventually, vision correction surgery became available, and I had radial keratotomy. 5 times actually - three times to the left eye, and twice on the right. They are afraid to cut too deeply with the first series of cuts, so they risk undercorrecting your vision, and then they go back a few weeks later and "enhance" the cuts, to get fine correction.

Well, that was actually the beginning of my problems, because I "didn't heal properly." I see halos at night around lights, but worst of all, my vision did not stabilize. Meaning my vision changes all day long. At first, the changes were not all that significant, and I went a few years without wearing any vision correction - I just noticed that at certain times of the day, my eyes seemed a little weaker.

Ultimately, the daily changes in my vision became so pronounced that I complained about it to my opthalmologist, who, after witnessing the wide fluctuations for himself, sent me to a number of specialists around the country, with the upshot being that due to a confluence of several conditions going on in my eyes, there is nothing surgically or medically that can be done to stop my vision fluctuation. And it is probably going to get worse.

When I wake up in the morning, my vision is the worst. As the day progresses, I just change glasses all day long, going from strongest correction to weakest. The degree of fluctuation depends on whether I am doing close work or using my distance vision (like when driving, or watching TV) - close work makes my vision weaker, while distance work makes my vision improve.
Some days, if I stay away from the computer and from beading completely, I don't need any correction all by about 3PM. Other days, I need glasses of some sort all day long.

The ophthalmolists wanted to have me sit in their offices all day long, and get different prescription glasses to use all day (of course, at first, none of them believed my vision was fluctuating to the degree I claimed, and they made me sit there all day just so they could
do vision checks every hour to prove me wrong. Ha!) But what works best for me is buying different pairs of over-the-counter reading glasses (Yay Dollar Store!) and switching them out all day long. Only problem with this is that the strongest pair I have found is +3.50, and I actually need much stronger correction for about the first hour of the day, so I have to put a pair of +2.75 OVER the +3.50, and then I can see well enough to read and work on the computer when I first get up. Oh, and the fact that I have to keep 10-12 pairs of glasses with me wherever I go - but that would have been true whether I got prescription glasses or over-the-counter glasses.
You know those little clear stickers that tell the strength of the glasses? That most people pull off as soon as they buy the glasses? Well, I leave those little stickers on the glasses, so that I can tell which pair is which. I have a good memory, but not good enough to remember the strength of 10 different pairs! Especially when I keep one set of glasses at home, and another set at work. So, all day long, wherever I go, people come up to me and either: 1) ask me if I know I have a sticker on my glasses OR 2) just reach up and try to take it off! Seriously people - get away from my glasses! Yes, I know the sticker is there, Yes, I want it there, and No, it doesn't bother me! I can't even see it!
And whenever I bead, I have to wear an optivisor plus my glasses. All day long people at the shop make fun of me, but I can SEE! And I do a pretty good job of beading, too! You couldn't tell how bad my eyes are, could you?


Melody said...

I had no idea you were working with such bad vision. Wow, what a trouper you are. I can't believe people try to take the stickers off your glasses!

Sweet Freedom said...

I know, Melody - it never ceases to amaze me! Get out of my personal space, people!

Smadar's Treasure said...

I have given you an award. Please check my blog for the details.

Smadar :)

Sweet Freedom said...

Thanks Smadar! What an honor! And congrats to you!