Presbyopia has finally forced me to get glasses

Something I've been dreading for a long time finally happened: I'm now one of the legions of folks who need to wear eyeglasses at least some of the time. Welcome to middle age.

It started out with having more and more trouble reading the morning newspaper. I could still do it without eyeglasses, but it was getting difficult seeing the smaller print (like the clue in the Jumble puzzle picture).

This condition is called presbyopia. What happens is your lenses lose elasticity as you age, so you can't focus up close like you used to. When this happens, whether you like it or not, eyeglasses become a part of your life.

I know I shouldn't complain. I went over 56 years before having to deal with this hassle. I remember having a friend when I was a kid who had eyeglasses with lenses so thick they looked like the proverbial bottom of a coke bottle.

So I've been very fortunate all these years. Even now, when I renew my driver's license, I can pass the eye test with no problem. Still, I'm a voracious reader, so eyeglasses are now one more thing I have to deal with.

Getting eyeglasses is one thing. Getting the right eyeglasses is another thing entirely. I've actually had several pairs of eyeglasses over the years. I'm slightly near-sighted, so I'd use these when going to a movie, a football game, or any event where the action was far away. Not that I couldn't see without them; they just made everything a little bit sharper. They came in handy that way but I could easily do without them and often did.

So now, being that I need eyeglasses to read, why not try to get one pair to do everything? Even I know about bifocals, so that's what I had made.

The problem with them is now you have a compromise. They work OK for distance, as long as they don't slide down your nose too much. But for reading you have to look through the bottom part of the lens, which affects where you place your book, newspaper, or whatever.

Having to look down while keeping your head straight gets old fast. An even bigger problem is they were useless for using a computer — that middle distance was just blurry no matter what I did. So much for compromise.

I wound up having another pair made for reading and using a computer. If I combine this pair with my distance pair I'm pretty much covered (though having a magnifying glass available, especially when working on cars or whatever, still comes in handy quite often).

So now the problem becomes the one I've always had with eyeglasses: Where do you carry them? Where does a man find a spot on his person for two pair of eyeglasses that will be convenient anytime — in a suit at work or in a T-shirt and shorts on the weekend.

I haven't figured it out, and I'm pretty sure I don't want to start carrying a purse around. Sigh. It's always something.

I basically just leave the reading and computer glasses at work, and keep the distance glasses in whatever jacket pocket I'm wearing at the time. Then I have some older glasses for reading — the kind you can buy off the rack at the drugstore — strategically placed around the house.

So I hope with all that going on I can find a pair of eyeglasses when I need them. Not an ideal situation but I haven't yet figured out anything better.

I know a guy who keeps his eyeglasses on a cord that goes around his neck, so they are hanging on him at all times. Very convenient, but I just can't handle that "look," pardon the pun.

Believe me, I'm not a vain person — if you've seen my goofy ties and T-shirts you know I don't give a flip about dressing stylishly. But going to the hanging eyeglasses is just too close to having a cane or walker for me, so I'll pass on that for now at least.

Funny story when I tried to pick out a frame. I looked at the various display pictures at the vision center, and found one of a really handsome guy in a nice and relaxing summertime pose. It was a great picture. So I asked to try on those frames.

The people in the store basically laughed them off my face because the glasses looked so bad on me (they claimed). I have no sense of style to speak of, I know that, but if they looked so good on the guy in the picture, how could they possibly have looked all that bad on me? I can't figure it out.

Then again, my wife and daughter always point out that I often wear my jeans "crooked." I don't even know what this means, so I guess I should just let someone else pick out my frames.

I've heard it said that wearing eyeglasses makes one look more intelligent. Huh? To me someone wearing eyeglasses looks like someone that needs vision correction. How that look ever got matched up with intelligence is beyond me.

It's to the point that some folks actually get eyeglasses made with clear lenses just so they can have that so-called intelligent look. Man, I just don't get that at all. That is something I would never, ever do.   

Then there's the way eyeglasses seem to slowly creep down your nose; how they steam up when you drink coffee; how they force you to look in certain spots of the lens; how they distort if you look in the wrong spot; how they constantly need to be cleaned, no matter how careful you are with them; how you always have to watch out lest you drop, sit on, or lose them; how they leave red spots on the bridge of your nose when you wear them for a long time; and the worst part, that you have one or two more things to carry around and be responsible for.

I always thought getting older would be easier simply because you'd have less to do, but with health issues, the greater responsibilities, and the overall craziness of the world these days I can see why the liquor business is always so good.

When you see me, please tell me how nice my new eyeglasses look.