Oliver: She can see clearly now that bifocals have come

Joan Oliver Northwest Herald assistant news editor
Joan Oliver Northwest Herald assistant news editor

The march of time hasn’t been kind.

Although most of us don’t like to admit it until we absolutely must. Concessions, I’ve made a few. The latest was finally succumbing to the need to get bifocals.

Be assured that the battle was long and hard-fought. The struggle was real and I wasn’t about to go down without a fight.

What started with the inability to see the end of a lipstick tube just sort of progressed. The eyeglasses would go atop my head when I needed to read a menu or the screen of my cellphone. That, of course, meant that the menu or screen then was about 2 inches from my nose, but at least I could see it.

For a long time, I had two extra pairs of glasses to go along with the ones I was wearing. I am myopic, for the most part, so I need a pair at all times to see anything in the distance. These usually were worn throughout the day.

Then I had a pair of prescription sunglasses. I got them awhile ago, so they’re the big ones that won’t fit in a normal case. They won’t fit in a normal purse, either. Still, I like them and I don’t want to shell out the exorbitant amount of money it would take to replace them.

If those were the only glasses, no one would notice.

Except that I had yet another pair that ostensibly was for computer use. They weren’t quite as strong as the ones for distance vision, so they made it possible for me to proofread all those newspaper pages at work.

This system was a bit cumbersome, but it worked for a few years. At least it did until my eyes stopped cooperating, and it became evident that it was well and truly time to start talking seriously about the “B” word: bifocals.

I’ve been sweating this decision for a while now. Should I get progressives? Should I just get the ones where you can see the line? What about the ones that darken when I’m outside? So many decisions.

Then I remembered all the horror stories of people who had a miserable time trying to adjust to their bifocals. Headaches, dizziness, etc., to the point that they didn’t know what to do.

Just what I needed – more complications. Not.

Then I was reminded that my favorite style of eyeglasses are the narrow ones that are a bit angular. Narrower than the ones you see on my column photo; those were a bit of a concession, too, although I’ve grown to tolerate them.

No, my favorite style just won’t work for bifocals. I require a deeper frame to handle all those different lens types. Yikes!

After hemming and hawing, I finally settled on a pair of progressives that do not get darker outside. I’ll stick to my trusty sunglasses for that. I also managed to find a frame style that wasn’t entirely what I wanted, but it will do. Nothing like feeling like I’ve gone back in time; these look a lot like a pair I had in college.

Still, I am appreciating the ability to see. If I’m honest, it was a change in my distance vision that finally tipped the scales.

Had I not had to change that, I might have suffered with my delusions for a little while longer.

As for the transition, it hasn’t been too bad. No problems with stairs, and as long as I remember to move my head to adjust where I’m looking, I’m able to see things without taking my glasses off. A novel concept.

Although sometimes I still catch myself doing that out of habit more than necessity.

You know what they say about teaching old journalists new tricks.

• Joan Oliver is a former Northwest Herald assistant news editor. She has been associated with the Northwest Herald since 1990. She can be reached at jolivercolumn@gmail.com.

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