The day I came home from my first Specsavers appointment, in complete denial about the fact I had to compromise my cool factor even further by admitting to my blindness, pair of mock-designer spectacles in hand, and placed them upon my nose, I looked outside – my, what a world I’d been missing.
“The only thing worse than being blind is having sight but no vision.” – Helen Keller
Although I’m not particularly poor sighted, I was used to straining to see sign posts and school whiteboards in the distance, accepting that I couldn’t read and couldn’t see and would just have to deal with it. My window to the world was misty, like a windscreen in the October frost, and until you realise just how much of a struggle it is to get by, one simply accepts the blurred world ahead. Without my glasses, I struggle to read this word document as I type, and that’s only half a meter away. My current Bake Off Sky+ catchup leaves buns as a blurred blob, while the love of my life, my Chris Hemsworth larger-than-life teen poster, merely looks on, appearing like any generic blonde man – or woman for that matter. Yet, with the addition of my simple yet sophisticated Dior spectacles, the trees outside are full of individual branches, my Macbook glares out to me, and I can no longer deny the sexual chemistry of eye contact between myself and Mr Thor.
“Don’t call the world dirty because you forgot to clean your glasses.” – Aaron Hill
Anyone with 20/20 vision will never understand how heartbreaking it is to have to live with compromised sight for the entirety of your life. They will never understand the fuzzy world of the morning shower, rummaging through your makeup bag an inch away from your nose to locate your eyeliner. They will never understand the terror that is walking from the changing rooms to the swimming pool completely blind, praying that no one decides to interact with you along the way until you’re in the safety that is the very unclear and very echoey water. They will never understand the agonising decision between wearing fashionable sunglasses or simply being able to see – or even worse, committing to specs and leaving your contact lenses at home, only to then be delighted with the brightest summer day of the year and having to burn your retinas through magnified lenses.
“I am very short-sighted, and if I don’t like a situation I take my glasses off.” – Jenny Eclair
Contact lenses do offer a mild solution at living in the perfect vision world, and although millions of people live everyday enjoying the modern technological marvel that is nano-thin magnified lenses, I have always struggled to enjoy this approach, partly due to the uncomfortable nature that comes with them, but mostly because of my ommatophobia. Ommatophobia is the fear of eyes, induced purely from a biological dissection I was forced to endure during school. Even thinking about it now causes me to feel horrifically queasy and recoil in a disgusting flashback to those science labs. Ick.
“The greatest magnifying glasses in the world are a man’s own eyes when they look upon his own person.” – Alexander Pope
Perhaps in the future I’ll be brave enough to consider laser eye surgery, to finally rid me of my hangup over poor vision and to show me the world I’ve been missing all these years, no longer hiding behind frosted lenses and embracing the beauty that is the world in front of us. But for the mean time, a world of mascara-covered lenses and strained map reading it is.