The course of good vision never did run smooth

Hey, remember that time I said that my distance vision had started to suck and my optometrist suggested getting my laser eye surgery redone? Well, I’ve finally decided to do that. I’ve spent the last year and a bit wearing glasses for things where I need to see things at a distance: driving, watching TV and movies, recognizing a person across the street. But it’s been kind of annoying because I need them to see things that are far away, but they make things in the middle distance and close-up look blurry. So if, say, I’m walking with a friend, if I’m wearing my glasses and I look at them, they will look blurry, but if I don’t have my glasses on, then the view will look blurry. If I’m driving, I definitely need the glasses, but then the map on my phone1 is blurry. It’s a bit of a trade-off between the long-distance vision and the close-up vision.

Of course, once you start wearing glasses, you start to realize how truly bad your vision had become. I remember when I was a kid and I got my first pair of glasses, I walked outside and saw a tree and thought “People can see each individual leaf on the tree??” Until then, I’d always thought that every just saw treetops as a blur of green until they were standing right next to it. So once I started wearing these new glasses, I again was like “huh, I didn’t realize how little detail I’ve been seeing out in the world!” I guess the deterioration was so gradual, I hadn’t noticed.

The situation I’ve found most annoying (aside from trying to read my map while driving), has been hockey. Since my middle distance is OK, I’m fine when I’m playing, but when I’m sitting on the bench, I can’t really see what’s happening on the ice, especially if the play is in the opposite end. Who scored that goal? I have no idea. Which of my players are on the ice, I only can tell if somewhere is wearing a distinctive pair of socks (or maybe if they have a particularly distinctive style of skating).

A photo of a package of seven contact lens

So anyway, before my recent trip to Ontario/Quebec, I went to the surgery’s office for a consult. He suggested that I do a trial of “monovision“, which is where they do laser surgery on one eye to correct it for distance, but they leave the other eye uncorrected for reading close up. The idea is that your brain focuses through the corrected eye when you are looking far away and through the uncorrected eye for close up and then you don’t need glasses for anything. To test this out, you wear a contact lens in one eye every day for a week to see how it goes. I didn’t have time to get that arranged before my trip, so I had to do it when I got back. It’s got a bit complicated as my optometrist is retiring, so I had to switch to a new one2 So I went to my new optometrist’s office yesterday and got the whole contact lens trial set up. I put a contact lens in my right eye at the office (as she needed to find one that fits my wonky-shaped eye (wonky-shaped due to my previous laser eye surgeries). But I couldn’t really tell how well it worked yesterday as she’d also put in the drops to dilate my pupils, so I couldn’t read anything up close for pretty much the rest of the day due to the giant pupils.

So I’m on what I would consider the first real day of the trial, and so far, it’s good. My distance vision is great and I can read close-up things OK. I feel like my reading vision isn’t quite as good as it is with both eyes uncorrected, but I don’t feel like I would need reading glasses. I have only been reading short things (like checking stuff on my phone or jotting down a quick note in my notebook), so I will need to actually sit down to read a book to see how that feels. I’ll also want to do some crocheting because that requires close-up vision. And, of course, I’m curious how hockey will be. My optometrist said that the monovision can mess with your depth perception a bit, what with depth perception requiring both eyes and monovision specifically making your eyes have different prescriptions, but that people get used to it. I have a hockey game on Wednesday, so we’ll see how that goes. I figure if it really trips me up, I can always throw the contact lens out in the middle of the game, as they are daily disposable ones3.

So, we’ll see how the week goes and then I can call the surgeon’s office to book a surgery date!

  1. Which I have safely mounted on my dashboard, for the record. []
  2. I really liked my optometrist, but I’ve been seeing her since back when I lived out near UBC, so it’s been a bit of a trek to get out to see her since I moved to New West. So on the plus side, I’ve switched to an optometrist in New West that was recommended by a friend of mine, and so far I really like her. []
  3. When the optometrist asked if I’d prefer 7 daily contacts or just 1 monthly one, I said I didn’t like the idea of the waste of throwing out contacts and packaging every day. But she told me they have recycling programs for contact lenses now, where you bring the contacts and packaging back to the optometrist and they get collected by the manufacturer, who melts them down to use in making other plastic products. And if you get the monthly one, then you have to get a case and a bottle of solution, which is also waste. So I went for the daily ones. []

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