Hat on Top, Coat Below


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June 3, 2004

I got my very first pair of prescription sunglasses last weekend. I find I’m wearing my contacts less often lately– staring at a computer screen for hours every day seems to be getting harder and harder and use up more and more rewetting drops to keep my eyes happy with having the contacts in. Therefore, I resort to glasses, which are dandy in the office but not so good during the two hours a day I’m on the road, squinting into the sun. I briefly considered getting some of those giant square over-the-glasses sunglasses, but I think they look goofy. (And yes, I’m sure some of the things I wear look goofy to other people, but the point is, they don’t look silly to me, and that’s the only reaction I have any control over.) Besides, I think one might have to have an AARP membership to purchase them, and I’m still a few years away from that.

Thus, prescription sunglasses. Normally, I use my vision insurance for contacts, but my prescription didn’t change this year, and I still have plenty of lenses left from last year’s purchase of daily wear lenses that I’m treating as if they were the two-week-but-take–them-out-at-night versions (not exactly approved by MY eye doctor, but okayed by other people’s, and since my exam showed no problems with my eyes after a year of doing it I feel vindicated in my decision), so I was able to use this year’s allotment for the sunglasses. I even found a flattering orchid purple metal frame that was fully covered by the insurance. (Of course, they don’t cover the thin lenses I like not only because they’re lighter but because they make it much less obvious that the prescription in one eye is way stronger than the other. Then I added polarization because I was wowed by the clarity of the sample lens, and that isn’t covered either, so it’s a good thing I liked the covered frames.)

A week after my exam, I went to pick up my new sunglasses. I liked how they looked, but my vision out of them didn’t seem as clear as with my regular glasses. I mentioned this, but the woman helping didn’t seem concerned. She just let me speculate about how it probably wasn’t the prescription, since the doctor said that hadn’t really changed much, but perhaps the difference was wearing dark glasses indoors, which is not my usual habit, or maybe I’d just have to get used to the polarized lenses, which I’d never had before. They bothered me the whole way home, but since that was only a few minutes drive I didn’t worry too much about it.

I worried a little more when I wore them when I went out for a walk and they still didn’t seem right even after I’d had almost an hour to adjust to them. I closed one eye and then the other and focused near and far and it just seemed that the distance vision in my right eye wasn’t sharp, and that’s my good eye, which is usually easier to correct than the other one. By this time the office was closed, and Monday was a holiday, so I figured I might as well give them a try out on my commute Tuesday, hoping somehow they’d be fine and I wouldn’t have to hassle with taking them back and potentially getting into a confrontation about whose fault it was that they were wrong. They didn’t really work out on my commute. Signs were blurrier than they should have been– sure I could read them when I got close, but it’s sort of important to be able to read them from far away, too.

I called the eye doctors’ office to say I needed to bring the glasses back in and the woman said they could check them and see if they matched my prescription and then I could see the doctor if there was a problem. Wait– they hadn’t already checked them? What’s up with that? I was annoyed that they seemed to have skipped a step, but on the other hand that did seem to increase the odds that it would turn out to be their screw up instead of my own failure to pick the correct choice in the “which one is better–this way or this way?” game. I didn’t think I’d have picked wrong after all these years of having eye exams, but I’ve got enough self-doubt that I didn’t dismiss the possibility entirely.

So tonight, when they were open until seven, I took the sunglasses back. The woman who’d fitted them whisked them into the back room and came back a few minutes later asking, “The right eye?” I nodded. She said, “Yeah, that’s wrong. We’ll send them back. Sorry about that.” Yay, it wasn’t me. I wasn’t losing it. I wouldn’t have to argue with anyone or pay to have the lens remade. Dandy.

So, what have we learned today? Trust yourself. Those glasses weren’t right from the start. I could see that, but I didn’t press the issue. Heck, I didn’t even slightly deform the issue. I was self-effacing and figured I’d try to make them work. For some things, that makes sense, but for glasses, where either you can see or you can’t? Not sensical.


A year ago, there was no entry.

Two years ago, the scale was making me crazy. It still is to some extent.

S is for Sunglasses

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