RT Cunningham


People with Perfect Vision vs. those who have to Wear Glasses

woman with eyeglasses - poor vision People with perfect vision can understand and sympathize with people who have less than perfect vision, but they can’t empathize with them. They have no idea what it’s like to be almost blind without eyeglasses (commonly called “glasses”) or contact lenses. If they could empathize with them, they wouldn’t be interested in glasses or colored contact lenses as fashion accessories.

Born with Bad Vision

I was born with bad vision. Until I had LASIK eye surgery in 2004, it was really bad. I was 43-years old and the doctor who performed the surgery warned me that I’d lose some near vision. I lost my very near vision but it was well worth it. I don’t remember the numbers from before (I seem to remember 20/200 and 20/400), but my vision is around 20/40 in both eyes now. I can pass the vision test for a driver’s license without glasses or anything else on my eyes.

When I was young, I couldn’t stand to wear glasses. You can’t play outdoors or do any kind of heavy physical activity while wearing them. After I joined the military, I had to deal with straps to hold them on while running and the sweat that inevitably dripped between my eyes and the glasses, making it just as hard to see with glasses as without.

I started wearing soft contact lenses after they first came out, sometime in 1981. I wore them most of the time but I couldn’t sleep with them. I always had a pair of glasses available to wear when my eyes needed rest. I spent about $1,800 for the LASIK surgery in 2004 and I’m positive I’ve saved a small fortune since then. I’m sure I would have spent well over that amount over the course of 12 years.

Vision Impairment

When I read about Bob Martin’s problems with Diabetic Retinopathy, I could empathize with his situation because I’ve been there. People with perfect vision can only guess what it’s like not to be able to see something they can see easily.

My wife, Josie, was born farsighted instead of nearsighted (like me). I don’t known how bad it was when we were much younger, but she can’t see words on her mobile phone without glasses today. I think they were always bad because she liked sitting in the back at movie theaters. Like me, she probably didn’t like wearing glasses and avoided doing so for as long as possible.

I know many people today with one form of vision impairment or another. I have in-laws with cataracts and in-laws with some type of hereditary corneal disease where the whites of the eyes start covering the iris. I’ve known people with detached retinas and people with tumors behind the eyes.

I think the thing that irks me the most is when people with perfect vision make fun of those with less than perfect vision. I have never understood how “four eyes” could become such an insult.

Glasses and Contact Lenses as Fashion Accessories

I really can’t understand it. Why would anyone want to wear glasses if they didn’t have to wear them? I can understand sunglasses because they serve a purpose but I can’t understand clear-lens glasses. I can understand colored contact lenses because it allows a person to change eye colors temporarily.

In movies and on television, nerds and geeks tend to be portrayed as people who wear eyeglasses as the norm. In reality, there are as many nerds and geeks that don’t need them as those who do.

It’s the media mindset that people who wear eyeglasses are endowed with less of something than those who don’t. This isn’t reality; it’s a stereotype.

Think before you Judge

Your vision may be perfect today but it doesn’t mean it will always be perfect. A disease or an injury can take away your perfect vision practically overnight.

Consider the feelings of those who have no choice but to wear glasses or contact lenses. They didn’t make themselves this way and they have no control over their heredity.

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By RT Cunningham
March 12, 2016