I hate my reading glasses

Huffy Readers (Photo: Huffygirl)

I’m sitting in a restaurant with friends and my phone buzzes. I don’t want to be rude and interrupt my friends by blabbing away on my cell phone (even though that’s what most people do these days) so I surreptitiously glance at my phone to see if it’s a call that can wait. Trouble is, I can’t really see it without my reading glasses. I just start to make out a four and a two and am trying to figure out whose number that might be, and poof, it’s no longer displayed. I could have stopped to get my glasses out, but then I couldn’t be sneaky about looking at my phone discretely, after the big show of fishing them out of my purse and putting them on.

Reading glasses – they’re a blessing and a curse. The best and worst of times and all that. When you need them, and have them available, they’re great. You can see what you need to see, and put them away, and not be stuck with wearing glasses all the time. But when you have to fish them out in a hurry, or tell people you can’t see that paper they’re waving in front of your face until you get your glasses out, they’re a nuisance.

A blessing and a curse. (Photo: Huffygirl)

The alternative – get reading glasses that are plain on top, and reading on the bottom, and wear them all the time? Yuck. Or, get longer arms, so I can hold things farther away and then I could read them? Even if I wanted to change my arms into knuckle-scrapers, I can’t really make that happen. Or, have a personal assistant with you at all times to read things for you? No, that would be pretentious, and expensive. “One moment, please hand that menu to my personal reading assistant.”

For those who are under forty, let me enlighten you on reading glasses. Inside our eyes is a lens that makes tiny movements to allow what we’re seeing to focus correctly on the back of our eye so we can, well,  see it. In this way we can look at something far away, then look down at something close and be able to see both equally well. As we age, this lens becomes less flexible and less able to make these tiny adjustments, so that eventually it becomes difficult, and finally impossible for the lens to adjust to see tiny things up close. This begins somewhere around the ages of 35-45. People in their late 30’s usually start to notice it if they’re watching TV, then look down to read or sew during the commercials (yes, not everyone has TiVo.) There’s a momentary blur in changing from the distance vision (TV) to the up close (reading or sewing). At first our eyes are able to compensate, but eventually most people get to the point, usually somewhere between age 40-45, where they can no longer make that adjustment and need reading glasses.

So that’s why you see people age 40 and up doing stupid things in order to see – holding menus way out in

Whose glasses are these?

 front of them, wearing glasses on chains around their neck, or borrowing glasses from someone else (which works great by the way – my husband’s bifocals will do in a pinch, and hey, he can get by without them for a few minutes.)

So, I carry reading glasses in my purse and a back-up pair in the car, for when I forget to put them in my purse.  At home I leave them on the kitchen counter, which gives rise to a whole new problem –  remembering where I left them when I actually need them. And sometimes I pick up my husband’s glasses, also on the counter, by mistake, or worse he picks up mine which couldn’t possibly fit him, and hilarity ensues. Our kids think it’s great fun to make fun of us about always losing track of our glasses, but what they don’t know is that their day is coming. Presbyopia (the need for reading glasses) cannot be corrected by vision surgery. It’s only corrected by glasses.  I’m thinking of buying my kids those chains that people use to hang their glasses around their neck…


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20 thoughts on “I hate my reading glasses

  1. I feel your pain sister! I am 45…..I have 4 pairs of reading glasses scattered around the house and cars….yet still always manage to have none around when I need them. I can read a menu from 100 feet away with no problem…without glasses…..but put it 6 inches from my face and I am a goner! 🙂

  2. I’m 45 and have worn contacts/glasses for distance since I was in my 20s. As my prescription has increased, I’ve noticed that if I need to read something close up, I must remove my glasses. However, for some strange reason, if I’m wearing contacts of the very same prescription I can read with just a mild extension of my arm. I think reading glasses are right around the corner for me.

    • I’m sad to say it sounds like it. During the transition time before getting readers or bifocals, it usually works for a while to just take your glasses off, because distance vision remains the same. That’s why the long-arm approach also works, at least for awhile. When you get there, pick out some snazzy readers to match your personality!

  3. I have to take my glasses off all the time to read small print. It probably looks funny, but it’s a lot quicker than hunting for reading glasses 🙂

  4. Oh, I feel your pain. It quite simply stinks. I can read with no glasses on..but if I wear my contacts to see distance, I can’t read small print unless it is very sunny and then I can read anything. And I work on computers and work with finance people who print spreadsheets for me to review in “mice print”. Late 40’s and crying about it.

    But hey, it could be worse…not sure I can figure out how as I read your post, but I’ll try to find the bright spot tomorrow. 🙂

    • Funny Techy. 🙂

      Seriously, folks with presbyopia can often read without their readers when in bright sun light, because the pupil closes up small and focuses the vision as if one had on glasses. You can simulate this by poking a pin hole in a paper and reading through the pin hole – it’s tedius but you should be perfectly focused. So I guess you could read my blog that way. 🙂

  5. Unfortunately, so far, the opticians I’ve seen haven’t managed to make me reading glasses that right. So I use an old pair for some things, a magnifying glass (I got one that on a flexible neck that I keep meaning to use and forgetting about!) for others and just manage without for the rest. What is very important for me, though, is a good bright light. One day I’ll crack it…

  6. girls— i was once in the same boat.. so i invented a new way to wear reading glasses…as a headband! i just put them on my head in the morning and tad a! i can read all day long.
    no chains! no lost glasses! hope is a click away! xoxoxoxo

    • It’s handy to have more than one pair, because, as I’m sure you know, you keep losing them. I can use my husband’s in a pinch, but I won’t let him use mine because his face is wider and I don’t want them all stretched out.

  7. You gave me a laugh with this one – having moved to reading glasses when I was 46 🙂 I now have a pair of progressive lens glasses that are fine for just about anything indoors where the furthest things are perhaps 20 feet away. They work great for TV, computer, books, cooking etc. But, they do take a bit of getting used to – you need to be looking through the right part of the lens which means getting used to pointing your head in the right direction and angle 😉 Might be the answer to your problem – put them on when you get to the restaurant and take them off as you leave 🙂 You can read about them here.

    • Interesting that the progressive lens have done the trick for you Martin. I tried them at one point, but found that I had too much trouble getting my head in the right spot to make them work. So I guess I’m relegated to keeping track of the reading ones that I have, and borrowing my husband’s in a pinch. Good to see you stop by Martin.

      • Sorry they didn’t work for you Donna – they do take a lot of getting used too. Hope you find a resolution to the issue 🙂

      • Thanks Martin. My latest solution has been leaving my glasses half-way down my nose – not the best answer but it’s working for now.

  8. I got bifocal contact lenses! It was the best thing that has happened to me since I turned 50. All of a sudden I could see again! Made me realize that something is really taken away from you when your vision goes. It’s creepy. My contacts don’t work well when it’s dark though, so I also got ThinOptics mobile readers which (NO KIDDING) fit inside of my phone case. They come in this little pod that you just stick onto your phone case and you never lose your glasses again. Shocking how great that is. They’re in the Silicon Valley but I bought them online. They perch on my nose, are fast-on, fast-off, and I love ’em.

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