I’ve been wearing glasses for the past 70 years. I hated them when I first got them and I hate them now. At the age of five or six, I hated them because other kids made fun of me and called me “four-eyes”. I hated them as a teen-ager because I believed girls wouldn’t like a boy with glasses. I hated them as a young adult because country singers don’t wear glasses. I hated them as an older adult because they were uncomfortable and inconvenient. But by then I had discovered contact lenses and went for many years unperturbed by my visual aids. I enjoyed playing my favorite sports more unconcerned with possible damage and expense. I enjoyed running more because contacts don’t get fogged up as your face gets warm running in cooler air. They don’t impede your vision if it rains or sweat from your forehead runs down the lenses. But then I had to buy an expensive pair of sun glasses for normal wear with the contacts. My other glasses are all photosensitive.
For most of those years I didn’t really NEED glasses to do most things. My prescription has barely changed in all that time. I did acquire bifocals 25 or so years ago to use in the classroom because I felt strain from reading all day. At that time, I had one pair for distance and the bifocals. With the contacts, I could use a small pair of drug store reading glasses to sit on the end of my nose. Fine! Then came the computer age. I had a third pair of glasses for writing on my PC.
This past year I’ve found my eyes not quite doing the job. Margarita and I could be walking down the street and she’d see someone three blocks away and say, “There’s so-and-so with her daughter what’s-her-name.” I’d see three people with blurred faces. It got more pressing for me when I couldn’t recognize my own kin from a distance. It was time for an eye exam.
So a few weeks and $300 later, I now have new distance glasses one level more powerful and new bifocals. The problem is in having to hold my head at an uncomfortable raised angle in order to see what I’m typing. The small embedded reading lens is at the bottom of the frame toward the inner corners of the lenses. Perfect for walking from one computer to the other or for seeing the corn on my plate clearly. So I’m now faced with a decision to ramp up the lenses on my erstwhile computer glasses so I can look straight at the screen without giving myself a headache and a stiff neck.
My ophthalmologist wasn’t at his office in the little Chalchuapa private hospital with the uninviting name of Hospital La Rábida when I picked up my glasses…again. The youngster in the closet pharmacy was holding them for me until I came with the dough to pick them up. I’ll have to make another appointment with him anyway. He gave me some drops for what he and his ophthalmologist wife diagnosed as an allergy that causes my eyes to run. The discharge was accumulating in my contact lenses which is why I haven’t worn them in two years. Of course, the prescription for them would have to be changed should I decide to use them. But that is pending the resolution of the pus-in-eye problem.
And so it goes in Central America’s wonderland, El Salvador, through the looking glasses.