Paul Gauguin was rumored to have furiously ripped off a pair of glasses intended to correct his distance vision saying he preferred to view the world as he always had. The correction robbed him of the softness his impeded vision afforded him.
I’ve been wearing glasses since the 8th grade. That is 53 years! I was told those many years ago my vision would eventually “even out” as hyperopia (farsightedness) overtook myopia (nearsightedness) due to the aging process.
That sort of kind of did happen. My up close and personal vision is quite good (sometimes unfortunately so for my husband and me as I’m able to see every age spot and the accordion wrinkles that now comprise my neck.) Contacts helped along my sight journey. Mono vision enabled distance and reading.
When my eyes were in a state of non-correction, distant shrubbery and the leaves of Live Oaks resembled elements from Monet’s painting of the gardens at Giverny.
As Gauguin argued, there was softness to the hard edges of palm frond tuffs and a cotton candy look to blooming bougainvillea. Our world has a lot of hard edges. Sometimes seeing through diffused lenses blurs and softens those edges. Maybe this is where the idiom, “seeing through rose-colored glasses,” comes from.
Age certainly managed to play havoc with my vision. My contact lens prescriptions changed every six months, actually more frequently but I resisted seeing my optometrist in between times. I’m sure I posed a hazard to other drivers, not to mention myself. I was thankful for my Subaru. I had to practically park to read the tiny type on street signs. Navigating interstates was challenging.
“You have cataracts,” I was told. But wait until they get worse before having them removed.” Ok, I agreed, continuing for the next several years to pose a risk to the roads. (Cataracts and the myriad of maladies I incurred from knee replacements and bike accidents made me a welcome addition to Central Florida traffic—not!) A friend referred me to an ophthalmologist noting my inability to find my iridescent pink balls on the golf course. (Or when I did, thinking there were two of them.)
“Old doctors!” laughed the ophthalmologist during my first visit. “Sure, why not wait until you are 80 to get those things out. Just be miserable in the meantime.”
One month following my initial visit, both eyes were repaired. The aftermath? Life is in full relief. I almost don’t want to blink for fear of missing things I’m experiencing for the first time in a long time. The colors! The clarity! It feels like my eyes are consuming ice cream sundaes every day, the sights are so delicious. I can read close captioning on our TV (because of course, my surgery did not repair the fact I still can’t discern those English syllables on my British mystery series.) I find I like seeing the definition of Live Oak leaves. I can soften the world’s edges in other ways. Being able to SWD (see while driving); being the one able to spot others’ balls on the golf course; enjoying our planet’s pallet of rich colors is, of course, priceless!