About a year ago I had to finally admit defeat and go to the opticians. For months I had noticed that reading small things was becoming increasingly difficult.  I decided it probably wasn’t usual to ask one’s children to read out instructions for one or to have to move ever closer to the window to scrutinise those small print terms and conditions surely everyone reads in depth.

So I went to my friendly ophthalmist who decided that, yes indeed, my long sight was deteriorating.

I found this deeply unfair. I have been short sighted since the age of 7. I spent my childhood in disgusting NHS frames being picked on. And then my teenage and early adulthood years in Dierdre Barlow’s. My astigmatism was such that large frames worked best to avoid that ‘bottom of a bottle’ look. Finally, about age 25, I either met a more enlightened optician or there were some advances in manufacture and I finally went into a more fashionable look. But either way I was forced into paying around £300 a pop every year or so just for the ‘privilege’ of being able to see.

I had been put off ever trying contact lenses by my partner at Uni who did try them. And then seemed to spend hours trying to get them in and even more trying to get them out. Putting his fingers in his eyes. Cleaning, soaking, rinsing etc. This was the days before daily disposables or monthly wearables or whatever the bejeebers are around now.

And anyway I feel naked without my specs.

Being a glasses wearer has other disadvantages too. The main ones being any water based activities. I quite like swimming. But I always have to keep in close proximity of anyone I have gone along with, once lost it is almost impossible to find them. I have embarrassed myself heartily on several occasions swimming up to complete strangers in similar coloured trunks and making conversation. I always scope out a new pool with glasses on, clocking the deep end, working out which way to swim, noting flume ride restrictions etc, before going back to my locker and placing my glasses safely away inside.

There is not really much point snorkelling or scuba diving either. In the Maldives I enjoyed swimming  in the sea. It was like being amongst an indistinct rainbow. Apparently we saw rays. I will take my husband’s word for that. And yes I could buy prescription googles or dive mask but it really isn’t worth the cost for my infrequent sub-acquatic adventures.

It is like that with sunglasses too. I could never afford them in my youth. I bought those plastic clip ons. But they were so hideous that I generally didn’t bother. It is only about three years since I have had sunglasses made to my prescription and it does make driving in summer much easier.

Middlest wears glasses now. He has since age 5. He had an undiagnosed astigmatism which meant his brain ‘turned off’ his left eye. We got it working again with patches and glasses and now he is fine. And all his siblings and mates now want glasses as children’s frames nowadays are so cool. It is a bit like Clarke’s shoes. To wear them in the 1970s was a teasing death sentence (although I thank my mother now for my straight, unbunioned feet) whereas now they are fine to wear- even trendy.

So anyway in a naive way I thought my deteriorating long sight would partially correct my horrendous short sight. And apparently it does work like that for a bit. But then you just have both. As the (extremely young) optician put it ‘It’s not going to get any better’. Thanks.

So I had to go through the difficult process of selecting new vari-focals. That is the other tricky thing about wearing specs. Choosing specs. Whilst not being able to see your self in a mirror. Without putting your nose up against the glass.

Anyway I got some which look vaguely passable. And I could read again.

It took a while to get used to them. I walked round with a ‘swimmy’ feeling for several days.

Then we went on holiday and I wore my sunglasses. Which had not been changed- now I am in vari-focals that price tag has jumped again. And every time I switched from one to the other I got that swimmy feeling again. At least I wasn’t doing anything more taxing than lounging and reading.

And recently I have noticed that tendency to move towards a light source when reading returning. I may need to go back. Oh joy.