Joel Hunter, MD Refractive Surgeon, Hunter Vision Updated 02/16/18 8:15 AM
As a former glasses wearer, and current daily listener to complaints about glasses, I present the following top 10 grievances. They are listed in order of grief.
10. I hate having to update the prescription every year or two
People don’t like doing this. How do I know? I’ve been yelled at twice this week about it, and I don’t even prescribe glasses. The cost, the annoyance, and the stress over answering “better one, or two” with no mistakes makes people describe this annual pilgrimage in words very unlikely to be used by the original pilgrims.
9. My glasses are uncomfortable
This one hits harder for people who have higher prescriptions. Glasses just start to weigh more when there’s more glass needed to correct the prescription. It leads to a permanent dent on the bridge of their nose and hurts the top of their ears. If you imagine someone looping a string of dental floss around the top of your ear and then hanging an apple off it, you’ve got a good picture (or surrealist painting) of how it feels for these folks at the end of the day.
8. My vision is weird and bad with them
“How is this one possible?” you may ask with good reason. That’s because you either have good vision or (only) pretty bad vision. For people with really bad vision, contacts will usually give much better vision than their glasses. At very high levels of correction, glasses cause all sorts of distortions and visual phenomena that are deeply annoying. My favorite (and this is a real name) is the pincushion effect. It squishes everything centrally like you’re always walking towards a depression in the fabric of space-time.
7. I lost them
At least once a week, I meet someone in clinic who lost their glasses and that was it. That was the last straw that made them decide to get LASIK. Sometimes it’s because they have had a lot of pent up frustration with glasses over the years and that was what pushed them over the top. Other times — and this is the most common for the wonderful folks in the military — it was a realization that they may be in a situation where losing their glasses would be about the worst thing possible.
6. I can’t see when I wake up
Waking up to the same blur every day may be routine and expected, but that doesn’t make it any fun. The iconic line “I could read my alarm clock this morning when I woke up” may be the most repeated one I hear the day after LASIK. Waking up with all your senses in tact is very nice. Waking up blurry is no fun. Parents with new babies talk about this a lot because they suddenly take note of having to deal with glasses in the middle of the night.
5. My kids pull my glasses off my face
Those parents with new babies have about four years of this to deal with before your kid is old enough to know that it’s malicious and not cute. If you wear glasses, you probably know why this problem is so frustrating. Kids don’t gently remove your glasses to fold them gently into a glasses case. They bend the arms out and lick the lenses. Kids are so cute, and yet so very bad at glasses maintenance.
4. My glasses fog up
Chefs, police officers, and humans with cars or houses: these are the groups annoyed by glasses fog. There’s no way to feel more visually impaired and doofy at the same time than to walk into an environment and have your glasses lenses become white and opaque. It can be dangerous (if you’re exiting a patrol car as a cop) or embarrassing (if you’re on a first date and turn into Mr. Magoo when you get out of your car) or frustrating (if you’re a chef that just needed more rosemary and you had to go into the stupid walk-in fridge and now you can’t see and your hands are filled with rosemary).
3. It’s hard to compete in sports with glasses
I personally don’t have a lot of experience with this one, but I’ve heard about sports. There are many people who were blessed with speed, reflexes, coordination, you-name-it. But bad vision makes glasses a requirement if contacts won’t work for some reason. I mean, it didn’t hold back Horace Grant,but there’s only one Horace Grant. For everyone else who wants to compete while wearing glasses, it’s hard to shake the feeling that they’re holding you back.
2. I feel self-conscious in glasses
I personally did have a lot of experience with this one. I remember when I first got my glasses. My best friend, Rob Cornelius, asked me about them and I punched him in the stomach. I still feel bad about it. He could have easily beaten me up, and he didn’t — you know why? He was good friend and he knew I was self-conscious about my glasses. Plus they had Garfield the cat on them. That same issue of being aware of glasses constantly and feeling like you are putting on a bad hair day when you get ready in the morning sticks with people throughout life. Some people love how their glasses make them look, many others feel very differently about it.
1. Glasses make me feel old
You might think that this last one, the #1 spot of the top ten list is a reiteration of #2, but that means you haven’t talked to someone about their readers. Starting to wear readers is a different category of frustration and anger for many of the people after the age of 40. Maybe it is because most of them never needed glasses before, maybe it is because they can still do a standing backflip and readers make them feel like a grandmother, maybe it is just lack of ability to read things that might have helped them feel better. But whatever the cause, the frustration of feeling self-conscious with glasses, when compared to the hatred of needing readers for the first time, is the difference between throwing a bullet and shooting one. This tops the list by a mile.
There are many reasons to feel like glasses are no fun. The good news is, most people have an option to get out of them. There are different types of contact lenses that can help people with an excellent optometrist to fit them. There is also my personal favorite, LASIK. If some of this list spoke to you as feelings you’ve felt before, you owe it to yourself to see if you could do better. I, for one, am really glad I figured out how to get out of my Garfield glasses.