Friday, August 21, 2009

Squint

I often say that I pulled the genetic short straw. If there is a gene on either side of the family that would predispose me to anything bad, chances are that I got it. All the genes for a good metabolism, blond hair, and nice skin avoided me. I got the others. The bad teeth, horrible vision, acne, varicose veins....those are the genes I got stuck with. Lucky me.

By far the most annoying of the things that are wrong with me is my vision. I have never in my life been able to see right. I really shouldn't complain, though. At least I don't have an astigmatism like my brother. And I never had to contend with having other vision problems like some in my family. I just wish I could see.

I don't ever remember a time in my life where I could see clearly. Even as a kid, I'd squint and get headaches. Finally in fifth grade, I got glasses. And for the first time ever I saw that there were actually individual leaves on trees. Though I knew that trees were filled with separate leaves, I had never seen a tree the way that most people can. From any measurable distance, they just looked like green blobs.

I suffered for two miserable years with glasses, and I got them at the worst possible time. I had just had a haircut, just had a perm, and just got glasses. It was the trifecta of ugliness. I got picked on like you wouldn't believe. If you look up dork in the dictionary, you'll find my 5th grade school picture. And if there is ever a point at which in a child's adolescence that you shouldn't go to great lengths to change anything drastically, it is about then. Let's just say it was a bad, bad phase. I clearly still have issues about wearing glasses, thanks to that time period.

The year I started junior high, after much begging, my parents gave in and let me get contacts. The perm had long since fallen out and my hair had grown a bit. Still awkward, but not as bad. At least I could see without glasses. And people had one less thing to tease me about.

Back then, there weren't disposable contacts like there are now. I was only supposed to wear them for as little time as possible, because they didn't allow much oxygen through. I, however, had no intention of ever wearing my glasses publicly again and wore my contacts any time human contact was possible. It wasn't the best choice. My eyes suffered. After years of this, blood vessels started infiltrating into portions of my eyes that they weren't supposed to. I had to change contacts. I had to start using the disposables.

Since switching several times to better, newer, thinner and more expensive lenses, the blood vessels have receded. I am still supposed to get my eyes checked every six months, just make sure it doesn't start again. This is why my optometrist was a little shocked when I came in for my checkup earlier this summer. He wanted to know who else I had been to see. Had I been doctor shopping? Nope. I just waited too long. Way too long.

It had been almost two years since I got my eyes checked. I did not realize it had been so long. I don't go back in until I get close to running out of lenses. And this time I waited until I was wearing my last set. Since I wear them far longer than I should, I had squeezed almost twice the recommended time out of them. Luckily, the lenses are better now, and I can get away with it. Though I was scolded for not changing them as often as I should, my eyes were fine. My prescription had not changed, and the blood vessel issue was okay. He gave me a sample set of lenses and sent me on my way with the prescription. The prescription that I was supposed to fill, as my new set of sample lenses were the only ones I owned. I say supposed to.

I didn't fill it. Not yet. As with everything in my life it seems, I just don't get around to doing the things I need to do for myself in a timely manner. (This is why I have a few inches of gray roots showing in my hair too....another lovely gene I was blessed with.) Only this morning, when that sample pair ripped did I order my boxes of contacts. I should know better than to wait. My prescription is so strong that it isn't kept in the inventory at any regular optometrists office. I have to wait about a week. And for that week, I have to wear my glasses. Yuck.

I hope that maybe one of these days, I will be able to do Lasik. It's pricey, but probably worth it in the long run if it works. I spend a lot on exams and lenses. I would just love to wake up in the morning and be able to see the alarm clock. My eyes are so bad now that I can't even see it if I squint with all my might. It's the simple things like that that my husband takes for granted. He got a little luckier in the genetic department. He got a fast metabolism, better than perfect vision and has never had a cavity. Let's just hope that the kids take after their father.

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