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Over the last few months I've noticed my eyesight worsening again. A couple of years ago my near vision got bad enough that I had to start wearing glasses to comfortably read small print or work at a computer. The glasses fixed that - very nicely at first - but of late I was starting to find that even when wearing them close objects weren't as sharp as they had been. I also began to notice that the same problem was affecting my hitherto very sharp distance vision. The world around me didnt look blurred as such, but if I tried to read a sign a few tens of metres away it was definitely much harder to do so than it once had been.

The crunch though came when I began seeing double.

A couple of weeks ago I was finding my near-sight blur particularly noticeable. It seemed that one eye was worse than the other so I put a hand over each in turn. With my left eye, text was blurry, but with my right, it was a bit blurry and doubled. By 'doubled', what I mean is that it looked like I had copied a line of text in Photoshop, and pasted it a little offset and with the transparency wound up.

This felt Not At All Right and I spent an anxious half hour searching online. That actually reassured me, as it seemed that double vision in one eye only was a symptom of eye problems, whereas double vision only when both eyes are open can indicate all sorts of issues, many of them in the brain. But I made an appointment with my opticians anyway (who had in any case been bugging me to get my 2-year check done.)

That led to an hour-long eye exam, starting with a lot of health-related questions and moving on to a very thorough vision test that was cross-checked by a senior optician. The verdict was that my spherical aberration has not in fact changed, but that in the last two years I have managed to develop quite a significant case of astigmatism in each eye. Apparently my distance vision has slowly worsened to the point that I was close to needing glasses to drive, which was quite a shock to hear; I really didn't think it had got that bad. It's amazing what a good job the brain can do of integrating the input from two differently wonky eyeballs to get a superficially adequate field of view - until you try to see fine detail.

After some discussion of how I work (i.e. a lot of time staring at computer screens) the suggestion was two pairs: a varifocal pair for wear most of the time (and I was advised that I should wear them by default) and a pair optimised for correction at my typical monitor reading distance. The varifocals in particular were apparently not a trivial production job so I was told they'd be ready in a couple of weeks. Sure enough, today I got a text to tell me they were ready.

I had heard stories of problems with distortion and nausea adapting to varifocals, and although I'd bitten the bullet and paid for the supposedly lowest-distortion option I was a little apprehensive. Putting them on I found a little distortion looking side to side, but this was barely noticeable against how sharp everything looked. Not only for distance vision, but even objects within a few metres. The varifocal part worked fine as well, although I quickly realised I'm going to have to get used to reading close objects (like my phone when I get a text) by casting my eyes down rather than bending my head to look. 

Once outside, the walk though Birmingham city centre was a revelation. It's like I've suddenly found the 'Image Sharpen' command for my eyes, combined with a slight but noticeable improvement in contrast. Remembering to wear the new glasses shouldn't be difficult, not with this level of improvement. The computer-work pair are fine too; oh dear, I can suddenly see the point (quite literally) of a retina display...
major_clanger: Clangers (Royal Mail stamp) (Default)
42 and my slow but steady disintegration continues: I finally need reading glasses (picture here.)

Looking back I've been experiencing a reduced minimum reading distance and more frequent headaches after long periods reading for a few months now. But it was only when I realised that whenever [livejournal.com profile] darth_hamster put something in front of me to read that I was always pushing it a little further away that I decided that an eye test was in order.

It turns out that my distance vision is as excellent as ever but, sure enough, my near sight has started to deteriorate (my prescription is +1.25/+1.75). Not having ever worn glasses before other than sunglasses, I'd made sure to bring [livejournal.com profile] darth_hamster along to help me pick a pair; the ones I ended up with and picked up today are comfortable and seem to fit my face well. Now I know the style that seems to work for me I can look at other sources for future pairs (thanks [livejournal.com profile] fjm for recommendations.)

I've been slowly getting used to the glasses this morning. For reading, they make a significant improvement. At typical screen distance for a computer, it's 50/50 - I could generally read OK without them, but the slight magnification is nice and I expect I'll be reducing eyestrain by using them.

The really weird thing? I can suddenly, when typing, see how hairy the backs of my hands are with horrifying clarity. Eek.

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Simon Bradshaw

May 2017

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