As a child I felt trapped behind my thick heavy glass eyeglasses, caged even. I also thought they were necessary for me to be able to see. My mother often yelled at me that I’d “ruin my eyes” when I did things like read without a light on, so I never took my glasses off to try to see with just my unaided vision. I resented how the lenses got fogged over or splashed with rain or snow in bad weather, or the glasses fell to the ground when I climbed up a tree or around the monkey bars.
When I was first starting vision improvement, I had a brief conversation with a man I met in the eye doctor’s office, telling him I wanted to get rid of my glasses since I disliked them so much. He seemed surprised, saying “I like my glasses — they help me see!”. This surprised me. He was so calm,, while I was a bundle of nerves. Was it possible my negative attitude and resistance were hurting my progress?
Some folks may want to hang onto their glasses for reasons other than eyesight. My eye doctor has a story about what he calls the John Denver effect, with a young patient wanting glasses even though she could see fine, so she’d look like her personal idol. I’ve also encountered female clients who don’t want to give up their glasses with expensive jewelry-like frames, which they think make them look glamorous.
Another reason to want glasses is for protection, especially if you suffered a childhood eye injury which glasses would have prevented, or the glasses you did wear then kept spray paint or flying objects out of your eyes and saved you from harm. It’s understandable why you’d feel safer with glasses with this history, but is this still a reason to wear them and separate your eyes from the world now?
If I look back over my vision improvement path, I see that I wanted to get out of my glasses so badly, I made it harder on myself than it had to be. I’d wear my reduced prescription glasses to drive to the grocery store, then leave them in the car while I went inside to peer at the items on the shelves, often identifying what I wanted by the color of the packaging, since I couldn’t read the lettering unless I was a few inches away.
Glasses were The Enemy to me, all those stronger and stronger prescriptions when I was little which made me feel like I was in an ever-shrinking prison, and which I discovered later hadn’t fixed my vision at all. In fact they allowed it to get even more strained and for me to see even more poorly. I was determined to reverse this downhill slide, especially since I was healthy in all other aspects.
Today I don’t wear glasses, even though I can’t always see as clearly as I’d like to. When I encounter blur I proceed more slowly and take deep breaths to calm myself. Anxiety can worsen that destructive mental spiral of being afraid I won’t be able to see. I can’t honestly say I view glasses as a good thing in my life, though I would have been seriously handicapped as a child without them, at least until I learned to relax. And I am much more accepting of my past experience. Resentment, like anxiety, is not a healing attitude!
If you have eyeglasses, are you wearing them when they’re not needed, maybe just out of habit, or for one of the other reasons mentioned earlier? A glasses-free life is a pleasure, believe me, so much more natural and unencumbered and yes, free. When I was a child, if my fairy godmother happened to show up and grant me 3 wishes, my first would have been “fix my eyes!”. (My mother regularly worried about “Nancy’s bad eyes”.) I know now there was nothing wrong with my eyes at all.
When I wore glasses, my obedient eyes were just doing the best they could to see through those thick lenses. Without that wall of glass altering the scenery before it gets into my eyes and makes its way to my brain, my good eyes are seeing more, and seeing it more clearly. What can you see without your glasses? Be safe, please, especially when driving. And maybe you don’t need your glasses as much as you think you do.