by Wayne Cornell
I began wearing glasses shortly after returning from Army Basic Training more than 50 years ago. If I had had glasses earlier, I might have had an easier time qualifying with the M14 rifle. It’s tough to hit a man-sized target 300 yards away when you can’t even see it. I was lucky to qualify at all.
As time passed, I moved from single vision glasses to more powerful single vision glasses, to bifocals, to more powerful bifocals. Earlier this year, the eye doctor advised me that there wasn’t much more he could do for my vision until some cataracts were removed. He said an upside was after surgery I would no longer need glasses except for close up work and reading.
Cataract procedures usually take about an hour. You don’t even have to take off your shoes. They knock you out, make a tiny slit in your eye, suck out the bad lens and slip in an artificial lens. They give that eye a couple of weeks to settle down before doing the other eye. The only hassle is putting three different eye drops in the eye four times a day for the better part of a month.
The only issue I had with the first procedure on my right eye was in the prep room. The guy in the next bay was trying to convince everyone how macho he was about the whole thing and jabbered nervously and loudly for about 30 minutes. As they wheeled me into surgery, the nurse said they would give me something to relax. I told her to give mine the babbler and he and I would both feel better.
The new lens made everything fairly sharp from about two feet in front of me out to infinity. I only needed reading glasses to see things up close. The problem was I needed my old glasses to see with my left eye but those glasses blurred the vision in my “new” right eye. If I put on generic reading glasses so things up close would be sharp with my right eye, my “old” left eye fuzzed up. So no matter what glasses I did or didn’t wear, only one eye worked properly.
After the second surgery a few weeks later, I had two eyes pretty much the same and my distance vision was decent. But there is an unanticipated problem. In the old days, folks only used reading glasses for short periods of time. That was before smart phones and tablets. So, whenever a message or email arrived on my phone, I had to put on the reading glasses to see it. A different power of glasses was needed when using a computer. In addition, taking the glasses off and on often pulled my hearing aids (another story) from behind my ears. Eventually, I decided to go back to bifocals to eliminate the glasses switching.
The more things change the more they remain the same — especially when you are older.