Seeing Things In A New Way

A few months ago, I started noticing that things I looked at every day that were not previously blurry had become blurry. The clock on the stove from the couch, the subtitles on a video game from the chair, things I never had an issue seeing before. It was worrisome. Did I really need glasses after a whole life of having perfect vision?

I was always the kid that tried on friends’ glasses and said “wow, you really are blind!” (not very nice, I recognize now). Well, the bill has finally come due, because now I have my own glasses for perfect-sighted friends to try on!

That’s right, I had an eye test today and they told me I’m neither near-sighted nor far-sighted, but that I have astigmatism. So I got a pretty mild prescription, and badda bing badda boom, I now wear glasses! Of course, I won’t be wearing all the time since the only thing I have trouble seeing is tiny, far away words. I’ll really only need them when I drive (for street signage), play video games, or watch a movie with subtitles.

So far, it’s been weird getting used to them. I’ve only had them for a couple hours, but I have so many questions like: why is the ground so much closer to me now? Why does everything look compressed? Why do my hands look so weird? And how do I already have smudges on the lenses?!

Anyways, I guess I knew this would happen sooner or later, but I was really hoping to make it to forty without needing glasses (not that I like super need them or anything). But maybe forty was a bit ambitious.

I also had a really great time picking out frames! One of the staff members helped me out a bit. I told her I wanted thick frames, plastic, a little bit of cat eye, and black. She picked a couple pairs out for me, and I ended up with these Kate Spade frames, which I actually really like.

Do you wear glasses? Maybe contacts? Or even Lasik? Let me know in the comments, and have a great day!

-AMS

78 Comments on “Seeing Things In A New Way”

  1. I needed them after I started college. I think all the reading I had to do had something to do with it. Also that reading with the book flat rather than at right angles to my line of sight, help cause my astigmatism.

  2. I also started wearing glasses as a young adult; I don’t recall the exact year but it was either late in High School or early in my Undergrad years.

    I have also worn Hearing Aids since early childhood. Those are a much bigger deal for me than glasses, because spectacles actually correct the cause. With glasses my vision is basically the same as it would be with perfect eyes. Hearing Aids are more like fiddling with the Volume and Equalizer settings on a car radio that’s trying to pick up a distant station: they help, but they do not completely fix the nose and distortion.

  3. I have been near sighted since I was 8 and I do have a level of astigmatism so yes I do understand the difference the world becomes once you start wearing

    I like your choice in frames, it fits your face

  4. Mostly contacts – I got them in my early thirties when I noticed that I could read the signposts on the bike trails rather too late (“Let’s see where I’m go… oops, gone”). I don’t like the effects of glasses in my vision, too (dirt on the glasses, that “distortion” (glasses move the optical center of your visual system further than contacts, which is a horrible truncation of a whole bunch of geometrical optics), and glasses doesn’t cover my periphal vision, which – as a city-cyclist – I really need). I could do without when I’m at home, but in the end it’s simpler to put in my contacts (or get my glasses) on the morning and be done with that for the rest of the day.

  5. I was 12 and I kept complaining about what I thought was glare on the blackboards. My teacher persuaded my parents to get me checked after moving me to the front of the class didn’t stop my complaints.
    Nobody else did but I thought glasses were great. I saw the man on the moon for the first time.
    When I was 30, the army gave free eye surgery (PRK, not Lasik). Worked great and much more convenient.
    At 45, I’m just starting to need readers.

  6. M.A. Kropp – NH, USA – I am a writer who is also a wife, mommy, and grandmother. I live in MA in the USA. I write mostly fantasy and science fiction. I speak sarcasm fluently. I am Irish and a ginger- that is fair warning. Puppies and kittens are my friends. I like good food, good drink, good friends, and good books.
    M. A. Kropp

    I have worn glasses since 2nd grade. I am 66 now so they are part of me at this point.

    There will ALWAYS be smudges on your lenses. No matter how careful you are. No matter how many times you clean them. There will always be smudges. It’s a universal law or something.

    And, I like those frames on you. They look great.

  7. I got glasses at 15 when I got tested to get a learning permit to go to driving school. I’m sure I needed them for at least a year before them.

    When I left the optometrist office wearing them, I had to fight an urge to look at all the tiny details that I’d gotten used to being blurry without realizing it. Like how much details I could see on individual leaves on roadside trees.

    I think you made a much better choice of frames than I did, when I got glasses. They seem to suit you.

  8. I am nearsighted and have some astigmatism, so have worn glasses since age 8. I am also at an age where I have presbyopia, so I wear progressive lenses. I cannot have Lasix. I have tried contacts unsuccessfully 3 times. The good news is that after you reach about 60, nearsightedness starts to reverse. I have been told that I won’t need glasses for distance when I am 104. Go me.

  9. I got my first glasses in second grade, after the teacher noticed that I (a very good student) was struggling to see the board. The precipitating event, though, was I asked my mom, “Is that a bird or a plane, I can’t tell if it’s flapping its wings?”

    Back in the day I got pearl-blue cats-eye glasses, they were NOT cool. But they matched pretty well in nerd factor with the saddle shoes I was forced to wear to correct flat arches. Predictably I was teased (this WAS elementary school) as “four-eyes” and other epithets, whereupon I used the saddle shoes as the natural weapons they were. When my mom got the report card with the comment, “Hits and kicks” nobody bothered to ask me “why?”

    Anyway, after that I was known as “Iron-toes” and there was far less teasing.

    But the revelation of walking out of the optometrist’s and seeing birds and planes, and being able to tell the difference is still with me, nearly 60 years later. I could read signs! I could read the chalkboard!

    Years later, when contact lens technology caught up with my myopia and astigmatism, both severe, I had contacts for several years. I loved them because they were always clean. I struggle to keep my glasses clean every day. Best cleaner I’ve found is soap & water, then soft clean cloth to dry & polish.

    Also, glasses for those of us who don’t have mild prescriptions, cost a ton. CostCo is the best price I have found for lenses with bells & whistles.

  10. I got glasses when friends started noticing me squinting at road signs when driving. I was in my early twenties at the time, so about your age. I’m mid sixties now. I’ve worn glasses ever since (contacts have always struck me as too much work). I mostly need them for driving and computer, as well as reading print. I can go without them reading on a Kindle, thanks to its marvelous ability to adjust font size. The Kindle Paperwhite is the best model for that feature.

    BTW, they look good on you!

  11. Was 22 and driving at night when a large dog seemed to materialize right in front of my car. It had run into the road from the side but I didn’t see it until it was too late and the collision killed it. Stopped and called the police, who came to help. No one in nearby houses expressed ownership. I felt awful and had never realized my vision was going. Not wanting to kill anyone ever again, got glasses.

    Contacts are better because they give you peripheral vision, while glasses don’t and that difference can make some people nauseous. Flipping from contacts back to glasses is very disorienting. Like having to hang on when going down stairs. You’ll get used to them in time.

    By the way, they look nice on you.

  12. Nearsighted and glasses starting about 3rd grade. Switched to contacts (first gas perm, then soft) in high school. Stayed that way until my mid-40s then bit the bullet and got PRK (LASIK for uber-nearsighted folks).

    Now I have perfect distance vision and have to wear readers for up close work.

    C’est la vie!

    I love your glasses, though. They look great!

  13. I was ten when I started wearing glasses for shortsightedness so you are doing better than me. The lenses can affect distance/spatial perception but you’ll soon get used to it & not notice it anymore.

  14. Your glasses look great!

    I’m 55; I’ve work glasses since I got caught cheating on the eye test at school in 3rd grade. I’m pretty nearsighted, and need the glasses to drive, watch TV, or anything else at a distance. I long ago acclimated to being someone who wears glasses, and I’ve never really been tempted by contacts.

    But the question of how lenses can get dirty or smudged in essentially NO. TIME. AT. ALL is one of the great mysteries of the universe!

  15. Have you noticed the leaves on trees, or could you see them clearly before? I know when I first got mine in my late 20’s a friend who always wore glasses asked me if I noticed leaves now. I had not (I just never looked at trees while driving), but after his comment I started looking and WOW was I amazed.

  16. I’ve worn glasses since I was seven, which makes it nearly six decades at this point. I still remember riding home in my mom’s car from the optician wearing my first pair of glasses (blue cat’s-eye style – it was the early 60s, after all) and exclaiming at all the things I was seeing for the first time. I had never seen tree branches in my life until that moment, and it was incredibly exciting to finally see what all was out there in the world for me to drink in.

    I am very near-sighted with astigmatism, and my glasses go on my face as soon as the alarm goes off, and they don’t come off until I am in bed with the light out. I wear a rimless frame with hyper-thin (expensive) lenses because otherwise the weight of the glasses dragging on my ears gives me headaches.

    The funny thing is that now that I’m at a point where I need readers, the BEST up-close vision I get for details is to take my glasses off and hold whatever it is about six inches from my nose. At my age, my near vision is far sharper that way than any glasses can achieve.

    Your glasses suit your face very well, and they make you look quite scholarly. I hope you find it easy to get used to them (some folks who don’t get glasses until adulthood have a hard time with that), and that you reach a point of embracing it as a new fashion statement. And you have a great day also!

  17. We actually found my eyeglasses from when I was a baby yesterday. I had strabismus and it was hoped the glasses would correct it; I did get surgery and then didn’t need eyeglasses until nearsightedness and astigmatism set in around middle school.

    My mother had LASIK surgery and adores it — since she was nearsighted and then became also farsighted as she aged, she couldn’t get back to 20/20 vision. However, she does need to wear glasses/contacts less often and says it helped her night vision to not have to deal with an extra lens between the thing she’s looking at and her retina. As for me, I have no desire to have anyone with a laser or blade go near my eyes (… again).

    I have just accepted that my glasses are constantly smudged. At least I don’t have to wear them at the telescope. I’m an astronomer — while we don’t do science by eyeballs through a telescope, we do a lot of public education and outreach with ‘look through a telescope’ and also, it’s just fun. I can focus the telescope to basically have those lenses (or mirrors) correct for my bad vision in addition to the job of ‘focus all this light into my eyeball so the object looks brighter’.

  18. I am 59 and have been wearing glasses for 52 of those years. I have absolutely horrible vision, but good enough to know that you look lovely in your new glasses. Glad that you can see the world better now.

  19. New glasses always make the world look weird. Your visual cortex has to adjust to the new normal. There’s a famous experiment where people wore glasses that inverted the world and after a couple of weeks their visual system had reinverted it. So when they took the glasses off, the world looked upside down again.

    Congratulation on finding one of the few brands that does not belong to the Luxottica monopoly. They are the reason why something that is fundamentally very simple, glasses, costs $600. Seriously, do they look like they were as hard to make and had as much materials cost as a computer or a midrange phone?

    You probably ended up doing business with Luxottica anyway since they own all the major retailers — Lenscrafters, Perle, Target Optical, Oliver Peoples among others, the biggest vison care insurer, Eyemed, about half the frame brands in existence, and one of the biggest online retailers, glasses.com.

    You’d think the antitrust regulators would be interested in Luxottica but you’d be wrong. The EU recently approved a merger with one of the major lens manufacturers, Essilor.

    Welcome to the world of 1000% profit margins.

  20. When you grow up shortsighted, you don’t know you are shortsighted. It’s just the way things are and you assume that this is the same for everyone.
    From the age of 5 until I was 8, I never did very well in school. This being the middle of the last century in postwar Scotland, the class size was in the 40’s so the teacher never really noticed until, one day, a nurse came round to give everyone a basic health check, including an eye test. On seeing my responses on seeing the chart, she told everyone, ‘This boy REALLY needs glasses!’
    In Scotland, at that time, kids could get glasses for free but you had to get them from a facility across town. We took a bus there and the trip going was uneventful being a rainy day in downtown Glasgow.
    The trip back, with my new optical aids, was literally revelatory. Glasgow streets, then as now, are mainly lined with 4 storey high tenement buildings. I distinctly remember realizing that I could now make out details on the upper floors! I could make out detail in clouds! Wow!
    My school work improved quite a bit now I could actually see the blackboard!

  21. johngrigni – I am the President and Owner of Argos Designs. We design and build custom tradeshow and retail displays. We also provide 3d illustrations and graphic design.
    John P Grigni

    I’ve had glasses from second or third grade. You are accepting yours with far more dignity and grace than I did.

    Since you need them for driving you might want to look into getting either separate prescription sunglasses or photochromic lenses (the kind that get dark in the sun).

  22. They look good! I’ve worn glasses (to see further) since I was in High School! When I was thirty, I found that I didn’t need them anymore. About a decade ago, I found I needed those reading glasses you can get at a drugstore. In the last ten years, my eyesight changed and so I’m wearing bifocals now. Remember comic actor Phil Silvers? His glasses were his trademark and so when he had corrective eye surgery, he found he needed to keep the glasses (without lenses!) or audiences wouldn’t recognize him!

  23. As someone who also doesn’t need glasses all the time, I will tell you: you will misplace and lose them a lot. Be prepared. Buy extras when you can.

  24. I have worn glasses since the second grade. I am now 69 so it’s been a long time. I still remember how I got a headache and did not like how things looked. I realized much later that I had been so used to everything being a blur that I had needed to get used to seeing clearly. These days I prefer to read and knit and crochet without glasses where a lot of people put on their glasses for that.

  25. I also had to get glasses for astigmatism in my 30s. When I first started wearing them, everything looked like it was tilting away from me. Walking was weird for a while. But then one day I realized everything looked normal. Your brain will adapt to the new input mode. But the amazing thing is that things still look normal without glasses even though the input is different. Brains are smart!

    The fun started again in my 40s when presbyopia kicked in. And bifocals happened somewhere in there. My prescription finally stopped being different every year when I turned 53.

    Look at all the good times you have ahead of you!

  26. Wearing glasses since 2nd grade, also astigmatism but now most definitely near-sighted and old-sighted. I started off wearing them all the time, which I think is easier than having to remember where they are and to bring them with me. Good luck.

    My husb and older daughter have glasses too. The youngest didn’t “qualify” unti she was 10 when she declared, “Finally, I get to be like you!” We had no idea she felt that way.

    Anyway, Never try to repair them yourself and Never put them somewhere a foot or buttock could find them.

    Enjoy! Choosing frames is a lot of fun.

  27. (BTW, the “also” refers to astigmatism, not 30s. I know you’re in your 20s.)

  28. Looking good in those glasses, Athena. Yeah, things will look different as you correct for the astigmatism. You vision is calibrated by your brain as you move about in space and build up memories. When the glasses correct for the astigmatism, at first things will look “in the wrong place” until your brain reprograms with the new visual input (this typically takes less than a week). If you develop headaches while wearing new glasses, this is an indication they were ground incorrectly (or out of tolerances) and your forcing you eyes and brain to do too much work. But if things just look differently proportioned, that’s how they should look to you, and your brain will adjust after a while. But if you only use the glasses sometimes, your brain might not gain enough experience with the “new” vision and these things will always appear weird when you have the glasses on. The only caveat is if it is a major change (like funhouse mirror kinda differences), in that case go back to the optician and have the lenses checked to make sure they were ground correctly for you. Welcome to the club.

  29. My sister needed glasses from a very young age; she had extreme nearsightedness in one eye and perfect vision in the other. She actually needed to patch her good eye for half of the day just to ensure her brain wouldn’t abandon the bad eye until her vision matured. Her prescription at one point was -13. So I was always happy I didn’t have glasses.

    Then come Junior High one of my buddies was demonstrating he could pop one of his lenses out and use it as a monocle. I borrowed it and tried it out. Holy shit, I could read the board clearly. I always thought it was just crappy hold chalkboards with a ton of dust that kept the writing from being super clear. And that’s how I ended up with glasses.

  30. I’ve been wearing glasses since elementary school. I’m a bit nearsighted and definitely astigmatic; I see things elongated and narrow, so I like all the painters who have the same type of astigmatism, such as El Greco, Modigliani, Botticelli, etc. I dislike (intensely) painters who have the short/wide/fat version of astigmatism, such as Breughel. I discovered the connection between my astigmatism and painterly preferences after hearing an NPR interview with an optometrist whose hobby was analyzing the vision problems of great artists.

  31. I have worn glasses since I was 6. I now have around -13 diopters of correction, which is pretty bad.

    Your frames are super cute! You look good with them.

  32. Same here with astigmatism. I’m good at seeing things close up, so mostly they are for long distance reading of things these days. I grew up with having them on all the time, but somehow my eyes changed that I don’t see as well with them ON closeup…ugh, that still makes no sense to me. So I have them off and on throughout the day. It’s confusing.

  33. ali redford – I am a liberal old woman, happily married with an adult son who lives away; we are all owned by an 18yo dachshund doggy. I love my fellow creatures and our planet, and do what I can each day to make things brighter. I am a local latchkey class lead tutor, and I volunteer at our animal shelter whenever I can. I lovelovelove to cook and bake, and then give away the food. That's a start on me, anyway.
    Alison Redford

    I’ve had glasses since I was 7, for near-sightedness (I’m 62 now.) I stayed in the same scrip for years and years, but I did a 3-year stint in land title research in my mid-40s, and a few months in, needed bifocals. About every other year, the near-sightedness improves, the far-sightedness increases. I have an astigmatism, too. You look beautiful in your new glasses!

  34. Since I was 3.

    “Which way is the letter E pointing?”

    Me: “What letter E?” Walks to wall- almost touches with nose. “Oh, THAT letter E.”

  35. There’s nothing like getting a new pair of glasses to give you a revelation of just how much of vision is post-processing.

  36. OMG those frames look super cute on you! I’ve been wearing glasses since I was in my 20’s. Human body’s gonna be weird, we just go with it.

    My friends & I used to switch glasses, lol. Yes, when I tried my friend Bill’s I was all “HOLY CRAP”! XD

  37. 1.) Your glasses look great!

    2.) I had 20:15 vision (better than 20:20) well into my 40s (mid-70s now), which fit well with my job as a commercial pilot, and was horrified when it deteriorated to “mere” 20:20, and has slowly continued to deteriorate since (now in my mid-70s). I rejected the idea of contacts, as I can’t stand anything touching my corneas. Part of the FAA flight medical exam used to involve checking intraocular pressure by means of a tonometer–a little spring gizmo–pressed against the eyeball, and I always managed to avoid that by claiming it would involve excessive blood loss (the doctor’s blood, not mine).

    Like many pilots of my vintage, I memorized the mystic word “DEFPOTEC”–the 20:20 line on the then-standard eye chart–which could lead to typical exchanges like:

    Me: “D…E…F…uuhhh. P…O…T…E…O…no! C!”

    Dr. “Very impressive, Captain–the chart is behind you.”

    All joking aside, my initial disappointment has changed to gratitude that we live in an era in which eyesight correction is not only available, but almost universal (at least in the developed world). If and when you want new glasses (and your prescription may continue to change), there are various organizations that will welcome your old ones for distribution to those less fortunate.

  38. I got my first glasses in 1961, when I was 7. At 16, I got contacts, and wore those all through college. After that, back to glasses mostly. I’m nearsighted, very nearsighted now. No astigmatism, but I do now have presbyopia (i.e. Old Eyes), which has not affected my nearsightedness at all. Now I can’t see things far away or all that close, either. So I wear my progressive lens glasses all day, every day.

  39. > I asked my mom, “Is that a bird or a plane, I can’t tell if it’s flapping its wings?”>>

    And it was, of course, Superman.

    kdb
    glasses since 4th grade

  40. I got glasses when I was 12 and have worn contacts since I was about 17, after breaking a few too many frames playing basketball.

    Happily, my prescription has remained almost the same since sometime in my 20s. Though I did develop an astigmatism in one eye in my 40s.

    The farsightedness kicked in around age 50. Sadly, nearsightedness and farsightedness are not opposites and so don’t cancel each other out.

    My unusual vision issue is that my left eye is much more nearsighted than my right eye (and both are worse than average). Which means if I don’t have my lenses then I can’t even read things close up because I have to close one eye, or hold the book so close to my face for my left eye that I might as well just close one eye.

    Probably a lot more than you wanted to know!

  41. Unlike Aaron’s sister, I did not get an eye patch, but anyone who tried on my glasses had double vision. I used to close one eye or the other for a minute or more at a time, first for no reason I knew of, then because, I thought, I was resting one eye. This was mostly when I was a teen. Like Popeye.

    Recently my eye doctor told me it was not my eye resting, but my brain resting from trying to resolve the two eye images. The good news is that I never ended up with one of my eyes dominated into being weak.

    And now I can relaxedly close one eye without the other eye, and eyebrow, grimacing. That’s the next best thing to being able to copy Mr. Spock and raise one eyebrow.

    As for contact lenses, as mentioned upthread, the very first time it took me an hour and a half to get them both in. Luckily I was persistent, because in due course I was able to just super-quickly pop them in. So don’t give up!

    As for smudges, mine got much worse after I got new lenses with all sorts of upgrades such as anti-scratch and hardening. I discovered that what works for me, much better than a bottle and cloth, is those disposable “lens wipes” that come in many single packets in a box.

  42. Had ’em since I was 7, probably needed them at 5.
    Severe nearsightedness. Which makes it (counts on fingers) 63 years now. I have worn soft contacts for 15 or so years, but it still feels weird not to have something in front of my eyes.

  43. Glasses since 2nd grade. Contacts when I was in my 20s but they always kind of bothered me. I thought about Lasic but never did it. I would do it now if I was in my 20s.

    Good choice of frames. They look good on you.

  44. I was born with neuro issues, which include vision issues as well. I was diagnosed with “lazy eye” at 3 yo, so they put a patch over my left (stronger) eye to try to force my right (weaker) eye to track properly. I really should’ve had corrective surgery at that point, but did not, and it’s been very difficult trying to find an adult ophthalmologist willing to do it, alas.

    I had the patch for a year. At 4 yo, I started wearing single-vision glasses. I was told that, in addition to the strabismus, I was nearsighted in one eye, farsighted in the other, astigmatism in both. I was able to wear RGP (rigid gas-permeable) contacts for about six years, from 16-22. Then I started taking birth control pills, which made my eyes puff up every couple of weeks, so it felt like I had grains of sand in my eyes. At this point, my vision’s deteriorated to where contacts are no longer an option for me.

    I started wearing progressive bifocals in my early 30s. I’ll be 50 yo in January.

  45. Like a lot of others commenting, got my first glasses when I was 8 and in third grade. My grades improved remarkably about the same time, for some reason.

    The smudges come from when the wings of the invisible eye fairies brush against the glass. This is why the smudges are so often on the inward-facing side.

  46. The glasses you’re wearing are super cute!

    I was nearsighted, had Lasik surgery to correct it, and developed far-sightedness as I got older. So now I wear readers I buy off the rack at the drugstore.

  47. Cute glasses, and they look good on you. Nice choice, very classic and chic – Kate Spade makes good looking frames. I always rely on theb ladies at the shop to help me pick!

    I was the kid whose glasses you tried on in school, and became unable to wear contacts pretty young so I’ve worn a lot of glasses. In my early 30s I had refractive surgery and was20/20 for a while, but my eyes gradually got worse again and in back in glasses. The only time it really bugs me is when in doing something involving water – rafting, hiking in the rain, that sort of thing.

    However, only the nearsightedness came back, not the astigmatism. So I’ve experienced vision correction from just about every angle, and astigmatism is the hardest thing to adjust to. If my prescription was a bit off I got sea sick and horrible headaches – very unpleasant. So feeling a little swimmy/odd/perceptual difference is very normal and hopefully goes away pretty quickly.

    This year I’m taking the big leap into progressive lenses, and am having some of the same problems, so you and I can adjust together!

  48. Dude, yeah. The eye doctor told me your lenses flatten out after 40-45 so pretty much everyone is going to need glasses eventually. So why do some people get to 70 or 80 with perfect vision? Beats me, ask her! I always had great vision, especially farsightedness. But I was good on close-up things too. As a kid, I was always called in by my mother to thread needles for her. Like you I started noticing the print on things was getting smaller and eventually (remember, I’m old) got reading glasses. More recently (ca. age 70) I have had to get “seeing” glasses for everyday stuff, but my eyes are still relatively good.

    Good luck with them.

  49. I think I was 12 when I first started wearing them but I was likely a year or two overdue, as I was having trouble in class seeing without squinting for a bit. I started out with glasses much like yours, but over the years I’ve become more partial to lightweight wire frames.

    If you have not already, check out Zenni optical, they’re a Chinese mail order place that provides fairly cheap glasses. Generally speaking they are not bad, but there definitely is a drop in quality, but the commensurate drop in price is such that you can buy 3 or 4 pairs for what it takes to buy a regular price set of glasses. If you want some variety in your frames they’re a handy way to pick up a bunch of glasses without breaking the bank.

  50. Count me as another person who first got glasses in second grade, and had the same “Wow! Street signs have words on them!” revelation that others above reported.

    I’ve always had an astigmatism – and every time I got a new prescription, it took a while for my brain to adjust. The first few days or weeks, everything warped and swooped when I turned my head, until one day, it didn’t. Very usual.

    I had Lasik when I turned 40. LOVED it! First time in my life I could see anything in the shower! Over the years, the astigmatism developed again, and back to contact lenses to correct it.

    Now, in my 60’s, I need one set of glasses to read and another to drive, and am getting ready for cataract surgery, which is also likely to change my prescriptions yet again. Cruddy eyes run in my family. So does avid reading.

  51. Like others, I was probably overdue for glasses when I got them at age 12. I still remember the Wow! moment.

    I wore contacts in my 30s and 40s, should have gotten sooner, for sports. By sports, I mean any outdoor activity. Among other things, it allowed me to wear drug store sunglasses for fun, while still being able to see. And indoors, they facilitated my brief fling with wearing makeup.

    If you are going to wear your glasses a lot, I recommend finding an online mail order source- I now have four pair in very different styles – including dedicated polarized sunglasses. They average less than $100/pair, with astigmatism correction as well as progressive for near/far corrections. There are reviews of the different sources online worth researching.

  52. You look very nice in glasses!

    I’ve worn glasses since I was a junior in high school (15 y/o). I ended up with bifocals at 33. With my oily skin, my glasses smear pretty quickly. A microfiber cloth is handy to have at hand. I had extended wear contacts for years, wearing them for five days, then taking them out on weekends, until I ended up not tolerating them for some reason after I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. Now, I can’t wear them due to type 2 diabetes (infection risk). I sleep in my glasses due to PTSD – need to see the second I wake up. Someday I may have LASIK. Hubby is finally in bifocals as well. His vision actually improved a bit with presbyopia, his worst diopter finally going into single digits after being -12 for years (my worst is -4 & +2). Who’d have thought vision can improve as we age?

  53. Your parents can comment when talking about your new glasses:

    “Astigmatiz? Yes, she is!”

    Got my first pair just before I learned to drive. They give an eye exam, and I was in need.

    Myopia and astigmatism at first. Then a few years back, things switched to hyperopia (farsightedness, brought on by pushing 50).

    Myopia is better. I could read books without glasses if I had to. Not so much with hyperopia.

  54. I can’t remember if I was already in grade school when I got my first glasses, but I still remember the startling revelation that trees have leaves.
    Right now I can’t see very well close up because I’m waiting for the new glasses from my last eye exam. Which I had put off for almost a year because COVID.

  55. I started to need glasses when I was 8 or nine. I never had a long period without good vision because at that time in the UK there were eye-sight tests in schools every so often, so it got picked up really early.

    Even so, I can remember being surprised at being able easily tell the time from a clock on a distant building when I first come out of the opticians.

    I have myopia (inability to focus on distant objects – in my case anything over 15cm/6inches away) and astigmatism (non-spherical corneas), and now presbyopia (inability to change the focal length of my eyes’ lenses). This last comes on slowly over a lifetime, but people tend to start noticing it in their 40s.

    Glasses are a wonderful solution for most people, and hat includes me. I’m never without my glasses. First thing on in the morning, and last thing off at night. I even have my approximate prescription in my swimming goggles. And, of course, an emergency pair live in my car.

  56. Nice looking glasses!

    59, got my first pair of glasses about one month into first grade — it was right after the first parent-teacher conference of the year, when my teacher asked Mom if I’d ever had an eye exam. (Nearsighted.) Looking back, the family suspects I needed them at least a year earlier. And yes, something about eyeglass-grade glass magically attracts dust and smudges.

    I went to daily-wear contacts over 20 years ago, and really like having in-focus peripheral vision. They don’t make bifocal contacts in my prescription, though, so I’m on Plan B: one eye corrected for distance, other eye corrected for close-up, and the brain shifting gears between them as needed. It works surprisingly well, though I now have a second restriction on my driver’s license saying I can only legally drive cars that have an external right-hand mirror (my “distance” eye is the left, that mirror means I don’t have to turn my head as much to check that lane). Which limits me to 99% of what’s on the market, I think I can manage that.

    Lasik isn’t an option for me due to the shape of my eyeballs, so I’m in contacts or glasses unless I develop cataracts at some point and can get implanted prescription lenses.

  57. I got my first pair in 7th or 8th grade – hearing and vision check at school found I was near sighted in one eye (20/20 in the other, I could see fine as far as I knew). Around 16, I got one contact. Eventually needed a second. Eye allergies mean I can’t wear contacts regularly anymore, so glasses it has been for the last 15 years. And I’m going to need bifocals in a year or two.

    I sometimes miss contacts, but not the unending allergic conjunctivitis.

    My father had cataract surgery a few years ago and got the implanted prescription lenses, but still needs readers. He’s been wearing glasses so long (70ish years), he prefers to wear progressive lenses with no correction at the top all the time.

  58. Welcome to the land of the astigmatic. I remember the sense of familiarity when I finally got glasses (I had been complaining about my eyesight for years, but it wasn’t until I flunked the eye test for my learner’s permit that my mother realized that just because I could read teeny tiny print didn’t mean something might be wrong with my eyes) and remembered: trees have leaves! There’s detail out there I’d written out of my daily life, because everything was blurry.

    Nice frames, by the way.

  59. It was sophomore year biology in high school that did it for me. The teacher had 4 rows of benches/desks and we rotated through the rows, back to front. One week I was in the front row and could see the board perfectly, then the next week I was in the back row and couldn’t read the board anymore.

    Got glasses right after than and have worn them ever since (50 now). Tried contacts a couple of times but could ALWAYS feel them in my eyes and they were never comfortable for me. Can’t imagine myself without glasses, they are part of what I look like now.

  60. Astig person here. I propose you try to wear them all the time. When I got my first glasses, I only wanted to wear them reading, but then I realized that after taking them off or putting them on, the adjustment was causing a bit of a tension headache. Once I bit the bullet and wore them constantly, I felt better about seeing all the time.

  61. I didn’t get glasses until I was in college, when I started having trouble seeing details on the projected pictures in art history class. My prescription seems to have stabilized, or at least changed very little in recent years; some nearsightedness, more astigmatism. I tilt my head and watch the moon warp from round to oblong. Luckily, I can still read without glasses, although for very near work (like threading a needle) I have an extra pair of glasses. My mid-range, from reading distance to about 30 feet out, seems to be good enough without glasses. Having allergies that frequently cause my eyes to itch madly, contacts are right out, and I’m too chicken to try LASIK.

  62. Got my first glasses in 1957 when I was 10, switched to contacts in 1963 when I was 16. Had to switch to mono vision contacts so I could avoid glasses when I read, and finally after 64 years of wearing corrective lenses, I had cataract surgery this year, and I’m now contact and glasses free!

  63. Got glasses in fourth grade- my teacher noticed me squinting at the blackboard and told my parents. Classic story.

    Went through a decade of fairly ugly but durable frames, then got slightly nicer ones. Went through college with photo-gray aviator glasses, which was not the best decision on my part, in retrospect…

    I have pretty bad astigmatism in one eye and not-so-bad in the other, so I had to get the weighted kind of contacts, which meant my vision could go weird if they got out of alignment. Eventually my eyes stopped tolerating contacts so I went back to glasses.

    Then LASIK tech caught up with astigmatism and got into my price range, so I had it done in 2004. It literally felt like magic- I couldn’t even see the “E” at the top of the chart before; when the procedure was done I looked across the room and could read the clock. I almost cried.

    Still happy with the surgery now although acuity is not as good. Also need reading glasses, and wear them while computing. Age catches everyone…

  64. I too developed an astigmatism and farsightedness in my 20s. I got contacts for everyday usage because I played a lot of ultimate frisbee and basketball at the time and didn’t want to deal with glasses for sports. As I got older and stopped playing outside as much, I started wearing the glasses more.

    Now in my 50s, I’ve “upgraded” to the progressive lenses and also know the joys of being able to read some things better without them by placing them up close to my face.

    If you like the way the frames look on you, and feel on your face (no excessive pinching or pulling), then I’ll bet it will be pretty easy to get used to them. Sounds like you’re off to a good start there!

  65. I have always needed glasses. I used to sit right in front of the tv when I was a kid. I have tried contacts, but I couldn’t handle sticking anything in my eye. My mother wears contacts.

  66. Glasses since around 12 (6 decades back).

    I remember the eye exam but not the reason for it.
    Maybe it was just a routine check-up.

    Glasses in the U.S. are supplied by a single company operating under multiple names, unfortunately.

    Apparently one can do something useful with eye exercises as well. I did that briefly under professional supervision with specialized gadgets (working on controlling focal length) but didn’t stick to it.

  67. timeliebe – Central NY – Dreaded Spouse-Creature to bestselling fantasy author Tamora Pierce (SONG OF THE LIONESS, THE CIRCLE OPENS, BEKA COOPER: A TORTALL LEGEND series), a co-author of TORTALL: A SPY'S GUIDE, Co-author with Tamora Pierce of Marvel's WHITE TIGER: A HERO'S OBSESSION for Marvel Comics. Contributing Editor for VIDEO Magazine during the 1990s, Columnist for C/Net 1999 - 2002.
    TimELiebe

    Honestly? I only wear glasses for reading, especially if I have a book on my phone and the author insists on teensy-tinesy print for documentation the characters are reading. (W.E.B. Griffin, I’m looking at your ghost!)

    Although, I find if I need to look from my PC screen to something I’m entering into a form? I now start to need my glasses for that, too….

  68. Athena,

    Those frames look good on you!
    I’ve been wearing glasses since I was in fourth grade. I’m in my dotage now, turning 67 soon, and have three different pair of glasses for different purposes. With them, I can see very very well. Without them, my vision is quite poor.

    I’ve never quite understood why some people resist wearing glasses. I like to see, I like to do photography, and I read constantly. Without glasses, half my world (or more!) would become inaccessible, never mind that I’d be a danger to myself and others when driving.

    So you need glasses…? Bravo that you acknowledged that and that you got nice ones that look good on you. You can see better with them, and seeing the world clearly is one of the true joys in living.

    Smudges on the glasses … My partner just started wearing glasses a year or two back. He’s constantly cleaning them. But we touch our face, near our eyes all the time … smudges are inevitable. I learned eons ago that you just put up with it until the lates smudge is annoyingly placed in the center of where you need to look, and then you clean them. Not a big deal … I always have a microfiber lens cloth somewhere handy. :)

    Wear them in good health and enjoy good vision!

    G

  69. You picked a nice pair of glasses for yourself. Looks great!

    I discovered I needed glasses I think a few years after the university. I was goofing around and tried on my brother’s pair (as a set up to tease him on how bad his eyesight was) and wow! Wait, you mean to say people can see this well!? I could actually see the blades of grass of the lawn standing on the deck of my parent’s house. I sorta forgot that that’s how good my eyesight used to be.

    Worn glasses for some 40 years now. (I’m 62.) I also like them because there have been a few times something went straight for my eye, a low hanging branch/twig when I used to jog, a thrown object, etc… I think my glasses saved my eyesight a couple of times. That’s why I never wanted to move to contacts. I like the extra protection.

    And yes you are right, they always seem to get smudged. ;-)

  70. Like many of the other people on the thread, I got glasses in my early twenties. I too have astigmatism. I remember driving home after getting them and wondering why all the street lights were at an angle.

    Now, I have bifocals. That makes me feel old. (That and sending my oldest son to college in a few weeks.)

    Your choice of frames is inspired. They’re stylish, a little retro, but nicely understated.

  71. I’ve always been extremely nearsighted, but I was homeschooled so we didn’t find out until we were building our house when I was about seven, and I was at a lumber yard with my dad and he was trying to ask me which color shingles I liked the best. We both got super frustrated and started yelling at each other in the store because he couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t tell which one he was talking about, and I didn’t know how he magically knew the names of all the colors. Turns out I’m so nearsighted I didn’t even see they had the names of the shingles next to each sample. The optometrist was horrified that nobody had notices before lol.

    As for the smudges, I didn’t realize how often I touched my glasses until I switched to contacts after nearly 20 years wearing glasses. I poked myself in the eye at least 100 times that first week because I kept “pushing” the glasses up on my face by poking the lense, which was no longer there, resulting in an eye poke.

  72. My dad had terrible vision, recalled his kindergarten teacher testing his eyes and saying “Why Emile, your eyes are bad!” But she didn’t tell him to tell his folks. So he didn’t, and so didn’t see well for years!

    Years later he and his dad, my granddad were in town and my dad asked granddad where the shop right behind them was. So that’s how his family discovered his eyes were not focused.

    He was a teen, all the other kids thought he was stuck up because he didn’t recognize them.

    So I got my eyes tested at a young age, they were terrible, glasses ever since, Tried contacts, hurt myself with rigid ones in Jr Hi, plain old trifocals are better.

    I’ll second the approval of your glasses, Athena, they look great on you.

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