Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Living With Glasses

Forgive me for the dramatic title.

Like many, many people in this world, I wear glasses. I need them to function because my vision is shitty as hell - my prescription is +6, i.e. high hyperopia. For the uninitiated, that means I’m longsighted, and quite badly at that. Here’s how my eye doctor explained it to me when I was fourteen:

Note the crudely drawn Paint diagram. And yes, I do have blue eyelashes.

See how the normal black lines intersect at the retina, but the longsighted ones (green and red) overshoot, because the lens of the eye doesn’t focus incoming light properly. Also, I used to have a lazy eye when I was younger, which I’m just mentioning because the medical term for it is adorable: amblyopia.

OK, I’ll stop geeking out now.

I am used to my glasses; it’s hard not to be, when I’ve been wearing glasses since I was one-and-a-half. As a kid I used to try to break them all the time (I think I stomped on two pairs), but thankfully I’ve gotten over the aversion to having a weird plastic thing perched on my nose and getting tangled in my hair all the time. I even wear them to bed often sometimes, when I go to sleep late and forget to take them off. I would like fashionable glasses though. Mine are functional and not overly dorky, but honestly I’d like some hipster glasses.

Hipster Glasses

I find it kind of sad that so many people are ashamed of their glasses. I know so many people who need glasses but refuse to wear them in school or in front of people, so most people don’t even know they need them. I don’t understand why people do that when they can’t see the board. Is it really worth it? You can tell me in the comments if you get why it’s such a big deal.

While I’m not embarrassed by wearing glasses, I can come up with some reasons people would be.

The main one is the “dorky” stereotype. I got called a nerd so very much in primary school that I’m desensitized to that kind of unimaginative bullying (besides, I’m proud to be a nerd. It’s great, and I love the way it’s been reclaimed recently. Although if you could stop with the NERD t-shirts, that’d be great.) But there is this image of a dork/nerd with big glasses, braces and suspenders getting bullied. So then the popular kids don’t wear their glasses and the nerdy ones do, so the nerdy ones become more isolated, so the cycle perpetuates. It’s silly.

However, there is an interesting possible origin. There is actually a correlation between myopia and increased IQ, suggested to be due to similar genes coding for eye size and neocortical size. On the flipside, and unpleasantly for me, there is a correlation between hyperopia and decreased IQ and poor school performance. Then again, correlations are tricky creatures and not to be trusted. They’re good for entertainment though. If you’re a giant nerd.


What a catchy hashtag, right? Right?


Nice word, that. Looks.

(i) There are plenty of nice pairs of glasses out there, and apparently some people (who I can never seem to find) think glasses on girls are attractive. But the fact remains that, particularly in photos, glasses are not an advantage in the looks department. On camera, even if the glasses don't white out from a flash, they'll still obscure your eyes by shadowing them or something, I don't even know. Some weird glasses-magic that doesn't want your eyes on camera.

(ii) Glasses provide complications when putting on makeup too. While I almost never wear makeup, I used to put on mascara and lipstick sometimes, and oh my god try putting glasses on after mascara. Smudged spider-eyes are not a good look.

You can't even get away with it by wearing contacts, oh no. This might be different for people who put in contacts every day (I'm in awe) and are used to them, but I can’t put in contacts after putting mascara on because for the contacts I need to press my eyelashes at the room and pull them back (it’s awful) before putting the contacts against my eyeball. If there’s gunk on my eyelids it just distracts me and gets in the way. But then I can’t really put mascara on afterwards because I’m afraid of damaging the contact lenses. You see my problem?

People are Idiots

I'm starting to think people are just confused by glasses, because a ridiculous amount of them seem unable to comprehend basic facts. You would not believe how many have asked me “How many fingers am I holding up?”

Newsflash: that's not how it works. I saw a beautiful gifset on Tumblr once that show what it's like but I can't find it now, I'll update if I do. Suffice to say that things are just blurry and going a while without my glasses strains my eyes and gives me a headache. I can, in fact, see how many fingers you're holding up. Dumbass.


I'm not the fighting type, but my glasses are a really huge, obvious target. If someone takes them off me, I'm incapacitated. I can still see outlines and movement, but it's all blurry, and I'm used to having a barrier between me and the world so having them gone feels very raw. It's weird. If I lose my glasses, I can't read or do homework. And how do I find my glasses again when I can't see properly? It's a very vulnerable position to be in, which scares me.

One of my biggest fears, though, is losing my vision. I'm not particularly at risk of that or anything, don't worry, but even just having dodgy vision like this reminds me how awful it would be to have nothing. Reading, writing, doing experiments - all of my favourite pastimes require vision. Someone loses their vision permanently every seven minutes in America, according to Research to Prevent Blindness.


Getting down to really minor gripes, glasses can be just plain annoying to have.

Having a shower? Oh, sure, put your glasses on the windowsill two metres away from the shower. They're still going to steam up just like the mirror does. Cooking hot food? Yep, steam. Good luck unfogging your glasses while carrying hot plates. Spill water near your face? No problem! Wait, actually, there are drops of water on your glasses and now you can't see.

I don't know if this one applies to everyone, but my glasses are constantly slipping down my nose. I've developed this horrifically ugly way of contorting my face to get them back up where they should be. I try not to do it in public, but even pushing them back up with my finger looks stupid. They just won't stay where they are.

But in the end, I'd be screwed without them. Thanks, whoever invented glasses. You really did us a favour.

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