I got my first prescription eyeglasses when I was 15 years old. I don’t remember the occasion for having my eyes tested. I wasn’t having double vision or headaches. And this was 1948, years before people were into “wellness” visits to health professionals. I was raised during WWII, when half the doctors were in the military forces. We didn’t call the doctor unless we were sick or had ominous symptoms. Then he would drop by to check us out. But, I digress.
The eye, ear, nose and throat practitioner I visited found me to have astigmatism, which is an irregular curvature of the cornea. Also, some other malady with a long name that meant my depth perception wasn’t up to snuff. I might have trouble judging distance. I didn’t think much about it at the time but it does explain a lot. As a kid, I could not hit a soft ball … or catch one unless it was lobbed to me so slowly I had time to think it over before trying to catch it.
NOTHING about sports came naturally to me. “She couldn’t hit a basketball with a tennis racquet,” was a comment that would apply. I might miss a volley ball coming right at me. And in other areas of my life, I often over-filled a glass of milk or wore bruises on my body from running into the edges of tables.
Of course, when I was a child, no one thought, “Bless her heart, she has no depth perception. Let’s make accommodations for her so she won’t be the last one chosen at recess.” (For those of you who do not know what recess is, Google it.)
After the first week, the uniqueness of wearing glasses faded and I seldom put them on (I was a teenager, remember). But as I got older I wore them more often until I realized that although no correction in the lenses was visible to the naked eye, I could see better when I wore my specs.
I have to say that with the lenses my vision is corrected enough to improve my hand-eye coordination. I can thread a needle and insert a plug into an electrical socket. I can text a message if you’re not in a hurry. But I still can’t seem to swat a fly. My best bet is that the pesky insect will die of fright from WHAP that comes so close.
And now, 60+ years since that first pair of eyeglasses, I am completely sold on vision correction. I have bifocals for reading, tri-focals for the computer, sunglasses to keep out the glare and even older bent-up frames for watching TV in bed. And when I step off a curb that turns out to be higher than I thought, I have a ready excuse. It’s not that I’m getting older. I just have a little problem with depth perception.