Consumer Dissatisfaction, or, I Can’t See This

I paid the credit card bill for these eyeglasses about ten days ago.



I swear it gets worse with time. First, back in 1997, I had to wrestle an optician to the mat, because she couldn’t believe that my haywire vision involved anything but “unfamiliarity with polycarbonate.” (For those who are lucky enough to have good vision, polycarbonate lenses allow you to have bottle-bottom correction without bottle-bottom glasses. Myopes like me know all about it.) No, it was the corneal dystrophy, a quaint affliction that gives you a fly-eye multiplex panorama of, say,  three stop lights or freeway signs overlaid on one another.

So I think I have the optometrist trained to leave out my astigmatism prescription (because on a given day it can make the corneal dystrophy twice as bad), and I buy a pair of giant sunglass frames that the optician swears are pure titanium (“why again do you need such durable frames?”, she said, petite and sedentary, unacquainted with hurtles off of glute-ham benches or Batwoman dangles from Smith machines).

And I take these fucking glasses home and treat them like newborn guppies since, aha!, I can actually read through the bottoms of them even though now the computer screen looks like a dog’s dinner, you can’t win them all, and then what do you know, I get out of the shower, open out the left bow, open out the right bow, it bends upward in my hand like an overboiled piece of capellini, I bend it down thinking WTF is it hinged like that?, and off it comes in my hand, not unscrewed at the hinge but parted in the metal, like a paper clip that’s been at the mercy of someone with bad OCD.

There ensued a characteristic farce in which Your Narrator, destitute of attire, groped her way wet and dripping to the dresser drawer containing about seven past pairs of glasses, dating all the way back to the real-glass days (a half-inch thick at the edges, with yellowing nosepads), and rummaged through them trying to find one that sort of worked, so that she could grab the phone and leave a semi-hysterical message on the after-hours machine at the optical practice. It brought back memories. Once, long before the days of cell phones that would have solved the problem lickety-split, I got out of the shower to find that another member of the household I lived in at that time had taken my glasses by mistake and left behind a completely useless pair of weak-tea reading glasses. Blind is bad enough; blind and naked makes you feel like a mole rat. Blind, naked and wondering where your glasses are in the metropolitan area… well, I think the phrase is done for the day.

So today they called me to say they couldn’t replace the broken frame, discontinued by manufacturer (wonder why?), and could I come out to look at some options? The optician measured the refraction in the old lenses that are better than my new ones (except for reading), exhibited some nifty frames that could be special-ordered in my size and preferred colors, and said she’d call when they came in so I could try them on and choose. That will be trip number four, and they’ll still have the lenses to grind. This is the part I hate most about being half-blind: not the expense, only occasionally the paralyzing panic (“my god, without modern technology I would have to tap my way around with a red cane”); it’s the unending fuckery.

If I am very very good in this life maybe in the next I will not be necessarily rich or blessed, just 20/20.


14 thoughts on “Consumer Dissatisfaction, or, I Can’t See This

  1. Dislike. And I really hope you haven’t jinxed me as I just got two pair after delaying for about 6 years. I’m nowhere near blind, and I only wear them in the house to watch TV, but I’d be a much much slower driver without my “eyeballs”.

    That’s a rubbish lifespan, how did they discontinue them so quickly?!?

    • Probably had a whole lot of people report they came apart in your hand. :\

      The optical shop could have had them sitting around for months of course. I promise not to jinx you.

    • Nice try, but the most ambitious “myopia rehab” I’ve ever heard of has been the Bates Method, which requires you to do without your glasses for six weeks even if it works, and it didn’t work for Aldous Huxley.

      After that, open to suggestions on the essential astigmatism and the corneal (basal-membrane) dystrophy.

      A high-vanadium diet dialed the myopia back quite a bit in my thirties, but only so much.

      It’s nice to think that everything can be fixed through natural remedies — you are talking to someone with an encyclopedia of natural supplements and home remedies in her larder, a person who is still rehabilitating a dislocated hip without benefit of what passes for our medical system — but there is only so much groping that a human being can endure.

      • We can all understand the frustration of living with impediments. Just for the record, I don’t like romanticizing natural remedies either.

        Just want to tell you that in case you are interested in sensible myopia rehabilitation (no, it’s not Bates, and you don’t have to get rid of your glasses — not immediately), there is site called Frauenfeld Clinic Archive where you can find a plethora of free information. It’s run by a former ophthalmologist under the pseudonym of Alex Frauenfeld – as this kind of work can engage a lot of his peers.

        As for us here at The Sustainabilitist, we aim to identify the exact causes of hyperopization and develop an effective method to address that by the end of 2014. We will be trying to substantiate an unifying theory of ametropia to the scientific community in 2015. I understand that you might find our previous comment as casual, but we have been researching extensive on this matter, and have an entire myopia rehabilitation community behind us.

        As for astigmatism, the evidence tends to suggest that it is originally induced by minus lens, and that correcting for astigmatism (the cylinder portion of the prescription) can further deform the cornea. But then, that needs not to have anything to do with corneal dystrophy.

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