When's the last time you visited the eye doctor?

David S.
By David S. Wallens
Jun 15, 2024 | Column, Blog, Eye Doctor | Posted in Columns | Never miss an article

Photography Credit: Chris Tropea

Can’t hit that apex if you can’t really see it, right? And how much easier would it be to reassemble your car if you could easily see how Tab A fits into Slot 2?

Have you thought about your eyes lately? Taking them for granted, right, and just assuming it’s part of the aging process?

I’ve been wearing glasses since high school–a slightly late adopter, I guess–and wore them all through college. Contact lenses? Like, stick something on my eye? Never mind that crazy talk.

That all changed while at a They Might Be Giants concert almost 30 years ago: My glasses got smashed. Like, totally destroyed.

Uh oh.

Now I had to drive my CRX home–more than an hour through the dead of night–while wearing my prescription sunglasses.

The next day, I got fitted for contacts. I’d learn how to jam my finger in my eye, and I’d have to like it.

Fast-forward to just a few weeks ago, and I’m realizing that I’m a little past due for my annual exam. I have been seeing the same eye doctor for probably 20-plus years and I trust him–after all, I like to see.

Going in, my big concern: My eyesight had seemed a bit soft lately, which is a polite way of saying “out of focus.” The price for getting old, I figure. We’ve all been there.

It was time to strengthen my prescription another notch, I conceded. I guess I’d need stronger reading glasses, too. Would I need fresh “regular” glasses as well? Le sigh.

So I sat in the big chair.

Better or worse?

Better or worse?

What about now?

Then he revealed the big news: My vision had gotten a little blurry because my eyesight had actually improved a bit since my last visit.

He had me try a pair of contacts that were two ticks weaker.

And guess what? Everything was now clear and sharp.

So, how are your eyes doing?

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Comments
David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
12/13/23 1:07 p.m.

So, the PS on this: I had just bought a bunch of contact lenses via the popular online retailer whose name starts with 1 800.

What to do with them. Sell them on FB Marketplace? I semi-jokingly asked my doctor. 

He gave me a shrug.

Turns out I got a refund for my unopened lenses. That put like $120 back in pocket.

 

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
12/13/23 1:11 p.m.

Good to know your eyesight can improve with time/as you get older.

And I'm certain you wold have found a buyer on Facebook Marketplace–especially in the Daytona Beach area.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
12/13/23 1:11 p.m.

I'm sitting in the chair waiting for the eye doc RFN, actually. I'm always anxious during the "better or worse" phase--I get a weird test anxiety because WHAT IF I GET IT WRONG? Then it's headaches, difficulty reading, dogs and cats living together, right?

Margie

Colin Wood
Colin Wood Associate Editor
12/13/23 1:12 p.m.
Marjorie Suddard said:

WHAT IF I GET IT WRONG?

That's pretty much every day of my life.

wae
wae PowerDork
12/13/23 1:32 p.m.

I was all happy a couple years ago when my (very awesome) optometrist told me that he was going to dial my contacts prescription back a little.  I asked him if that was unusual that my vision would get better and he just laughed.  "No," he said, "your close-up, reading vision has gotten worse, so we're going to sacrifice your long-distance vision to make it easier for you to read when you have your contacts in".

Pretty much ruined my day right there....

Msterbee
Msterbee Reader
12/13/23 2:02 p.m.

I've been nearsighted most of my life.  I don't like putting things in my eyes so I wear glasses.  Fortunately my prescription is pretty weak. I could drive day or night without them if I really had to but I don't like doing it.  The bigger problem is things close to my face.  My need for reading glasses started at 45 (Apparently this is pretty much the age it starts for everyone?) and has gotten progressively worse over the years.  What's really annoying though is that I need to look over my glasses to read instruments and information on the instrument panel.  Annoying. angry

Nicole Suddard
Nicole Suddard GRM+ Memberand Marketing Coordinator
12/13/23 2:10 p.m.

After many years of my nearsightedness getting worse and worse, I finally got good news from my eye doctor this year: my eyes have stabilized.

Apparently it's pretty normal for your eyesight to completely divebomb through childhood and adolescence and then even out in your late '20s. Who knew? Still can't see clearly beyond an arm's length ahead of me, but at least the big blur is no longer getting closer and closer every year.

Msterbee
Msterbee Reader
12/13/23 2:15 p.m.
Nicole Suddard said:

After many years of my nearsightedness getting worse and worse, I finally got good news from my eye doctor this year: my eyes have stabilized.

Apparently it's pretty normal for your eyesight to completely divebomb through childhood and adolescence and then even out in your late '20s. Who knew? Still can't see clearly beyond an arm's length ahead of me, but at least the big blur is no longer getting closer and closer every year.

That sucks. My younger daughter's vision is like yours.  She can't do anything without glasses.  I couldn't imagine having to wear glasses that much.  A literal pain since wear glasses too much gives me headaches.  indecision

Nicole Suddard
Nicole Suddard GRM+ Memberand Marketing Coordinator
12/13/23 2:24 p.m.

In reply to Msterbee :

I switched to contact lenses in middle school and have worn the same brand ever since - a much better solution for an active lifestyle, but still annoying to deal with. I get headaches from wearing glasses, too, so the contact lenses are the lesser of the two evils for me. Every year I get closer to considering lasik surgery.

Marjorie Suddard
Marjorie Suddard General Manager
12/13/23 2:28 p.m.

I'm back from eyedoctorland, and he confirmed that not only is my distance vision better, it's common after a certain age and usually paired with deteriorating close-up vision. (To put it more succinctly, your focal distance changes.) So yay, me--I have barely any correction for distance these days, but readers got another boost. And I have a tiny cataract in one eye. So now I am expecting a random package with hairnet, support stockings and grippy socks to appear in my mailbox any day now.

Margie

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