2008-12-24 / Editorial

Dear Santa: I want my eyes back

Flotsam and Jetsam
By Donna Drago

It's been a very long time since I asked you to bring me anything for Christmas. I'm not really sure of the protocol. I haven't been naughty, per se, but sometimes I haven't exactly been nice either. But I can explain that—I'm just an aging baby boomer with the usual aches and pains that make me cranky sometimes. You should understand—at your age—and living in that miserable climate.

I'll just get to the point: Santa, I'd really like my eyes back.

I've worn glasses or contact lenses for decades, so having to correct my vision is nothing new. But in the last few years, my ability to see both far and near, and to switch between the two, has deteriorated.

Santa, I used to enjoy flipping through magazines while I watched the television. I used to be able to read the morning paper without getting headaches. Now, in order to watch the TV and read at the same time, I have to keep raising (to see print) and lowering (to see the TV) my glasses during commercials. I take my glasses off to read the paper, but my eyes get so tired, I often don't get past the lead in many stories.

This, from someone who loves to read and has worked in the journalism business for many years, just doesn't cut it.

My eye doctor says that there are always "sacrifices" that must be made in order to correct aging vision.

I don't know if you've had any optical training, Santa, but progressive lenses—a great boon for many wearers—have their limitations. Peripheral vision is blurry and there's that annoying raising and lowering of the head to get an object in focus. I'm sure I must look like a chicken when I'm doing it.

Santa, I like to play golf. But this is where I have the most trouble seeing. When I wear progressive lenses, I lose the ball in the middle of my swing. So, I had sunglasses made for just my distance prescription. This works for the swinging part of my game, but when I have to choose a club or write down my score, I'm back to the raising and lowering. Sometimes the weather changes during a round, so I had another pair of glasses with clear lenses made that I wear when it's cloudy. If you're keeping track—that's three pairs so far. I also like to read outside on nice days, but I can't wear my progressive lenses for that. So, I have a pair of non-prescription sunglasses I use just for that purpose. That's four pairs, Santa.

Imagine if I tried to wear them all at once—on chains around my neck—I'd look like Jacob Marley.

Recently I told my eye doctor about all the problems I was having and he suggested something different. A contact lens for distances in one eye and nothing in the other eye for reading. The theory is that the eyes will each see what they can see and then superimpose the images on top of one another. Surprisingly this worked in some situations. I could even switch from watching TV to reading without making any major changes. But, I could not drive at night because the bad eye made all the headlights look like big fuzzy pom-poms and when there were raindrops on the windshield, the number of fuzzy pom-poms increased exponentially. This was kind of scary. I also could not go shopping because I could not read labels or price tags without bringing them very close and closing one eye. This made Christmas shopping very difficult.

So, Santa, I'm stuck with four pairs of glasses and much frustration.

Santa, so anyways, I'm back to square one. Walking around like a chicken. Looking over and under my glasses. I'm hoping you can help me. I've seen pictures of you, Santa, and know that you wear spectacles, too. Can you read your list of good little boys and girls and then look up to see how Rudolph's doing at the front of the sleigh? Surely you can sympathize. So, please Santa, take a good look in your big bag of presents and see if there's the perfect gift for me. A pair of glasses that will let me stand at Ft. Wetherill watching boats bobbing on the horizon, let me read the Jamestown Press and let me enjoy the beautiful faces of my husband and kids.

C'mon Santa, it's not really that much to ask. Is it?

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