Thursday, September 2, 2010

Two pairs of eyeglasses

I've always had really strange vision, and every eye doctor that evaluates my eyes always remarks about it. I am both nearsighted and farsighted, lucky me. Unfortunately, that means that my eyes don't work together so I have trouble with depth perception and I absolutely cannot see 3D. Those cheesy little red and blue glasses that they hand out for 3D movies just make everything look red and blue to me, I can't see the special popping-out effects. So thank goodness I was a swimmer, for almost every other sport requires some hand-eye coordination and depth perception. And I hope that 2D movies don't become a thing of the past, for special people like me who can't see 3D (though I've heard movies like Avatar in 3D have really cool special effects).

The first time that my eyes were checked and didn't appear to be normal was 2nd grade. I remember marching to the library with all the other kids in my class, and being told that my eyesight was 20/25. At the time, I just assumed that meant my eyes were better than everyone elses, since they had 20/20 vision. Little did I know, I was wrong...

These days, I am nearsighted only in my left eye (meaning my left eye can't see far away objects clearly) and farsighted in my right eye (meaning that my right eye can't focus on near objects clearly). As far as I can understand, my eyes don't work together so my eyesight relies mostly on one eye at a time. Okay, that doesn't mean I walk around looking like a pirate, it just means that my brain relies on the images seen by one eye more than the other. Since I'm right handed, I'm right-eye dominant and I see 20/20 normally without glasses.

However, wearing glasses (or contacts) makes both of my eyes work instead of mainly using one at a time... but I can't really tell the difference between glasses and no glasses, so I tend to be lazy and avoid wearing my contacts. My optometrist in college prescribed me with daily contact lenses, since apparently wearing them in the pool makes them dirty from the bromine/chlorine. It was nice not having to go through the 5 minute process of cleaning my contacts and sticking them in the little case every night, but why go through the hassle of putting those little things in every day when they don't make a difference in my vision? I'm sure there are probably some long-term effects, but since my eyesight situation is usually only found in middle-age people, I doubt there are that many studies on the long term effects of not wearing corrective lenses.

When I read that the Peace Corps required us to bring 2 pairs of eyeglasses, I was like what? First of all, I didn't even own glasses.... and hadn't worn my contacts in about a year. But many Peace Corps volunteers are sent places where the water is not as sanitary as the United States and that poses the risk of eye infections if you have to change your contacts in and out every day.  The water in Ukraine is not clean either, its not safe to drink but apparently it is ok to brush your teeth and wash your hands with. Water in China was the same way, it wasn't safe to drink but apparently boiling it made it safe. Except the little white flakes of who-know-what contaminants were still floating around the water after you boiled it, so I stopped doing that after like the first few days. Anyways, the Peace Corps policy is intended to prevent these possible complications from wearing contacts. For people that actually really do need glasses to function normally, it is a good idea to have a second spare pair in case your regular pair gets broken, lost, or stolen.

 So I got my first pair of glasses (well technically my second, since I got my first ever pair of glasses in 7th grade but those are lost in a box somewhere in our garage) for the Peace Corps in Atlanta, and just got my second pair here at a Lenscrafters here in San Francisco. Here is a picture of me with my new schoolteacher glasses!

According to my sister, the glasses make me look smarter... but I think they just make me look awkward in this photo. Oh well, thats what happens when you use the 10-second timer to take photos. They are a bit cuter in person, except I am convinced that the right lens magnifies the size of my eye a little. Or maybe my right eye is actually bigger than my left eye, who knows haha.


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