Wednesday, July 31, 2013

I love my optivisor!

I saw a "poll"somewhere recently - I think on Etsy (a chit-chat, thinly-veiled promotional thread, really) - asking what your favorite jewelry tool is. I never respond to those threads, but it got me thinking about all the tools I love - many with vastly different functions, and how in the world could anyone pick just one?

And then I saw this picture, and it hit me: my optivisor. Of course.

Zachary Levi, rocking an optivisor

Years ago, I had been trying to create jewelry for several months, struggling to see what I was doing (especially when beadweaving), when I took a week-long class at William Holland Lapidary School, and was introduced to optivisors. It was like magic - I could actually see the eye of the needle, the seed beads, the holes in the seed beads, the flat side of half-round wire - truly a breakthrough for me, since I am legally blind.

Without my optivisor(s) AND my reading glasses, I would never have persisted with jewelry design. I simply wouldn't have been able to. I literally could not see what I was doing!

Once I purchased my first optivisor (I have 3), I was struggling to read the paper one morning, squinting, etc., despite the reading glasses I currently had, and decided to see what would happen if I tried to read the paper WITH the optivisor on (plus the reading glasses). Wow! Now I could actually see the words!

That discovery led to a long discussion with my ophthalmologist, who found the whole story incredulous. I mean, he knew about my eye issues, having diagnosed my weird, rare eye condition over 10 years ago. But he didn't know how severe it was, since my vision varies from the time I wake up 'til the time I go to bed, and he had never seen it at its worst. By the time I arrived at his office for my routine appointments, my vision had always improved from its morning worst. So after a 6-month-long odyssey of weirdly-timed appointments with him; where I had to do all sorts of unusual things* to demonstrate just exactly how bad my vision is; followed by a referral to the Emory Eye Clinic, where I actually had to spend 2 full days repeating all these weird diagnostic things (not a single NEW test was done); I found myself with a prescription for glasses, something like +5.75 diopters.Which I use, with my optivisor, for close work.

(Tangential question: why can't doctors just trust each other's word and test results, instead of repeating very expensive and time-consuming tests? Why should a referral to a specialist result in repetition of the very tests that led to that referral?)

So my optivisor is an absolutely essential tool for my jewelry design, and anything else requiring close work.

What's your favorite tool?

*Weird things I had to do to prove my vision was worse than my ophthalmologist thought:

  • schedule earliest morning appointment at his office
  • upon waking after at least 8 hours sleep (or, at least, 8 hours lying down with my eyes closed), have someone else (duh) drive me to the appointment, while I lie on the back seat of the car with my eyes closed (sorry doc, no shower/hair/makeup that morning!)
  • hustle into his office (eyes closed!) and lie down again, keeping those eyes closed
  • wait for him
  • full eye exam/refraction.
  • Then resume "normal" activity at his office, and have full eye exam/refraction every 30 minutes for the rest of the day. Fun!

And then I had to repeat all of this again, and more, at Emory. Sheesh - And here's a surprise - the guy in Atlanta got the same results!

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