Two years ago, my eyesight started shifting in ways that made it hard to work on the computer. That or my eyes were just sick and tired of the strain of computer work. I got my prescription adjusted, then got it adjusted again. Then I got into an argument with my eye doctor and didn’t go back for almost a year. I figured, if she wasn’t actively trying to help me fix the problem, there was no reason to dole out for co-pays.
I mean, I knew I couldn’t stay away forever, so with my annual exam a year overdue, I finally made an appointment. I sat through all the exam parts, the blinding, the puffing, the poking, the dilating, the violating. Then, when she started making her notes, I said, “What’s your goal when you write my prescription?”
“To correct it to as close to perfect as we can,” she said, like a little robot. Smiley face! Praise Jesus! (She is very smiley and Jesus-y, which to be honest sets my teeth on edge, though I wish it didn’t.)
“So 20/20? Even though, in fact, I don’t need 20/20 vision?”
She started in on something about best outcomes and something-something, and I finally just cut her off. Bottom line: what do I need 20/20 vision for? I spend all day, five days a week, plus extra hours at home, after work, and on the weekends, working on a computer. A computer that is 3 feet away from my face. Not 20 feet. 3 feet. I also spend a great deal of time looking at my stupid smart phone, less than 2 feet from my face. Often the strain of focusing on these two glowing screens makes my eyes tired.
“Well, that’s why I keep suggesting you get some reading glasses to wear while you work on the computer or read. To adjust your vision for closer work,” she said. It’s true, she’s been nagging at me to do that for years, but I haven’t. Why? Because it’s fucking stupid. I spend the majority of my waking hours needing to have the vision for close work. Why the fuck is the default setting to overcorrect my vision and then tell me to wear glasses WITH my contact lenses for the majority of my work day? Especially as I wear contacts so I don’t have to wear glasses.
I finally spelled it out to her in those terms. I said, “I drive less than 10 minutes a week, and that is the only time that 20/20 vision is of real benefit to me. On the other hand, I need close vision for 50+ hours a week, but you continue to prioritize that 10 minutes over the 50+ hours. In what world does that make sense?”
After a little uncomfortable silence, she said, “Well, if you’re willing to experiment, we can adjust the prescription to retain more of your near vision.”
So after 30+ years of having my vision corrected to 20/20, I am changing tactics. She reduced my prescription, so that my vision is only corrected to 20/40. So far, it’s been a little weird. Driving home from my appointment, I couldn’t read street signs well, and walking across campus, I didn’t recognize someone who was waving at me until I was right up on them.
On the other hand, looking at the computer all afternoon, I can tell that it requires less effort for me to focus on the screen. I’ve been horribly near-sighted for most of my life. I got my first glasses at age 8, about 4 years later than when I actually needed them. I’ve worn contacts since I was 12. It’s weird to be “taking a step back,” to have my eyesight less corrected than is considered optimal, but it makes sense. Correct my vision for what I need, not for some random ideal.
I’ll let you know how it goes.