Sunday, January 04, 2009

deer in the headlights

Is it better to be able to see distance or to be able to see up close?

I ask because apparently I have to make that decision when I finally get cataract surgery, hopefully this year. I finally got tired enough of my optometrist saying I don't even know how you can see anything, as he is peering into my lenses with his little scope. Which of course gives an enormous boost to my confidence about driving at night and perpetuates the nickname so lovingly pinned on me by the Marthas - blind girl driving.

And I realised then that he obviously did NOT refer me to an eye surgeon last year, as he said he would do, so I all but hollered at him "well let's get the damn surgery done already!"

Apparently I will have to convince the eye surgeon that my case should be made a priority. Because my cataracts are so advanced for someone "so young" (the optometrist's words, which put him temporarily back in my good books), I stand a better chance of moving up the queue than say, an 85 year old who doesn't drive.

And then he coached me on the buzzwords that I need to use when talking to the eye surgeon. I have to say that I am blinded by oncoming headlights, that the quality of my vision is impaired, that I can no longer see contrasts, and that I am unable to find the correct light level to see computer screen or page. I won't have any trouble remembering those because they are all true.

But then the optometrist told me that at surgery, I will need to decide whether I want to have good distance vision (as I currently have in my left eye) or good close-up vision (as I currently have in my right eye).

Which would you choose?


Remi said...

Well, does that mean you will need glasses to cover the deficiency? i.e. reading glasses versus glasses for distance? Or does the surgery damage the other one?

I have glasses for distance and they've been fine for me. I like to be able to take the glasses off when I'm reading in bed. On the other hand, if you don't like the idea of wearing glasses all the time, reading glasses are a better option. As long as you remember to take the glasses with you, something my father has trouble doing (which requires me to hold the menu up for him in restaurants across the table leaning back trying to find the perfect distance where he can squint out the words).

Wandering Coyote said...

That's a hell of a choice, but I'd rather see close up, I think. Depends on how far away they mean when they say "distances" right? Remi has a good question: can glasses cover the deficiency either way?

Todd said...

it almost seems like this is a backwards way of seeing whether or not your readers think only in the moment, or plan ahead. :P

For myself, I can see just fine up close. But looking far away, well, things start to get fuzzy. I don't wear glasses, but there are days when I really feel as though I should.

Perhaps it is my years of constantly staring at a computer screen that got my eyes the way that they are.

So, here's my stance:

I don't drive, so not being able to read signs from a distance isn't as much of a hindrance as it is for those who must drive to get where they are going.

In my design work, I must be able t pick out specific details - everything must be precise. If I can't see the details, I can't do squat.

So for me, even though I would like to be able to read the overhead without squinting half the time, or to be able to back-seat drive so you don't miss "exit - god, I wish I could see what that says!"... In the end I would choose to keep the up-close vision.

but that's just me. :P

and to echo the question, will glasses compensate for the difference after the surgery?

Dr. Monkey Von Monkerstein said...

I'd take close up vision any day of the week.

John Mutford said...

Close-up. I'm a reader, afterall. Far away things don't deserve to be seen.

Allison said...

Oh dear. That is a hard question, as I need glasses for reading, but I swear my distance vision is failing because reading road signs is becoming increasingly harder.

I think I'd rather see close up though.

bloody awful poetry said...

I'd rather see close-up as well. But as Remi points out, if you're not keen on wearing specs all the time, then opting for distance vision and reading glasses are the way to go. I wear my specs all the time (can't read anything more than ten feet away) but then I've had them since I was 8 so they don't bug me anymore. People have their preferences though.

Karen said...

You have to choose? Dear god. I think I'd rather see close up as I do now and then have glasses to see far away.

Anonymous said...

Distance! That way you have beer goggles every day. ;)

That is a hell of a choice, but I was only one who couldn't see distance for a good portion of her life and once I had Lasik surgery, my whole world changed. So, I'm biased.

Conky said...

id rather have good close up vision....
i wear glasses for distance...

Joe said...

I'd take distance vision--it's a survival thing. I'm assuming you can get reading glasses to correct close up vision?

Speaking from my own experience, I freaked out when I started having trouble reading, especially at night or when I was tired. It turns out that I needed reading glasses, and I've worn them for years. I was relieved that my distance vision is still excellent, but in my job being able to have distance vision for driving and shooting is more important.

Anonymous said...

if one eye sees god close up and the other good for distance.....
use one for close up work and one for driving...just close the eye you aren't using

Beth said...

Does a pair of reading glasses help with your close-up vision? If so, I'd go with the distance vision.

My eye doctor always exclaims how bad my sight is: "You can't see anything without your glasses, can you!" I feel a very weird sense of pride over those exclamations.

dguzman said...

I feel your pain, though at a much lower level. The older I get, the worse my vision gets--I can no longer see up close OR far away. I have to wear my glasses to read (or wear readers with my contacts) but even then, I have to have a light that's about the brightness of the sun as well. And my far-away vision is only marginally corrected by my contacts, thanks to slight astigmatism in one eye (which the eye dr refuses to correct for, as it's soooo slight--despite the fact that I can't fucking see). Forget driving at night--I pretty much don't do it anymore unless I know the route with my eyes closed.

I gotta go with the up-close vision, though--if I couldn't read and stuff, I just don't know if I could handle it. Then just get some really thick glasses if possible for the far-away, or use binoculars.

Gifted Typist said...

Didn't he coach you to say you need surgery in order to see Thom. Thom!!!
And on the distance/close-up vision thing, do you want to see him from a distance or close up? Your choice

Hardy har.

Jokes aside, I know someone approx your young age who had them done. It has transformed her life, she says.

Sean Wraight said...

As a person with limited vision myself, I would have to say seeing close would be my definite choice.

What I wouldn't give to roll over and actually read my digital clock in the morning without resorting to squinting and hand binoculars. (You will understand if you are astigmatic.)

I had a friend undergo a cataract procedure recently and the results were splendid.

Wishing you well with this one though Barb. I'd go for the close.


Barbara Bruederlin said...

Thanks, everyone, for your input!

I know just how your dad feels, Remi! Being a purse carrier, I keep a spare pair of readers in there, but often the problem in restaurants is that the light level of too low, so someone still has to read the menu to me.

From what I understand, Wandering Coyote,I would either have to wear readers, as I do now, or maybe real glasses. I need to get more clarification from the docs, I think.

After I howled "I want it all!", the optometrist mentioned something about getting new lenses, Todd, but he was already walking away on his way to his next appt, so MAYBE there wouldn't be glasses involved later.

I guess because I already wear readers, it would take more to get used to full-time glasses, Dr M.

Yeah, John, if they want to be read, they'll come here and tell me to my face.

Hopefully they are just making the road signs blurrier, Al!

I hate wearing my reading glasses, BAP, they bug me, so I suspect I would hate wearing them full-time even more.

But isn't it easier to plan for closeup reading, Karen? You never know when you are going to need to see something farther away, but you know if you are going to a restaurant, you better bring something to read the menu with.

haha I just watched the Mythbusters episode about beer goggles last night, Justrun! SO the Lasik surgery really works? Intriguing....

I think it would make me mental to wear glasses all the time, though, Jen. For sure grumpy.

I'm thinking along the same lines, Bubs. I sure want to be able to see properly to drive (not so worried about the shooting part).

Or an eye patch would make it even easier, Kelly and it would be sexier too.

hahaha I sort of know what you mean, Beth! Like when mine says "I don't know how you see anything through those cataracts", it's like I am seeing through sheer strength of will or something.

How frustrating when they won't give you the surgery you want, D! Maybe if you cried or something?
But wow, having to wear readers with contacts, that's brutal. I can get away with just readers as long as the light is strong enough.

Now that's just unfair, Gifted, throwing Thom into the equation! How can one possibly make that kind of decision?
That is heartening to know what a difference cataract surgery can make to us young folks.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

Hand binoculars? That's actually rather endearing, Sean.
I have to admit to being surprised how the majority of people would choose to have good closeup vision over distance. I guess wearing readers for a few years now has made me more used to that reality.
But I am hopeful for miraculous results from surgery.

Anonymous said...

As another "young cataract sufferer",I sympathize, Barb,and here is my solution...
One eye is for distance and the other is for reading! Works for me! I think this even has a name...Monovision.
Is global warming to blame for these early cataracts or is it just our family??

Anonymous said...

Molson Canadian beer may want that featured in their "Which would you prefer" questions on their bottles. Send it in!

Will said...

I am about to blow some minds!!!!!!!! In 2009, Barack O'Bama will be president, Chinese Democracy will still be available but Dr. Pepper will not be free, Britney Spears will make a comeback towards year's end, Noel and Liam Gallagher will argue, Pete Doherty and Amy Winehouse will inevitably wind up together, and that's all my brain can predict for now.

Will said...

I realize my prediction's comment went in the wrong post. Oh well. Anyway, I say distance, but that's just me.

Anonymous said...

I read anonymous's (would Berni be your brother?) comment about one eye for long and one for short...hmmmm just what I said. And I'm sure you were thinking...uh huh...there's another dumb Kelly idea while you rolled those eyes. that he says it what do you think

Jane said...

yikes - so there's at least two of you in the scary driving department, and it's genetic! more than once i've been in the passenger seat with your youngest harley niece, and i will read aloud a sign that to me is close up and clear, and she'll reply, "you can REEEAD that?!?"
so i'm going to go against the pack and say go with the long and get glasses for the short, cause they can be cool and hip fashion accessories, and who cares what you look like in your car?

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I've been blaming the sun, which is way too brutal around here due to the altitude, Berni, but I think genetics play into it too. Dang!

Would it make the mountains turn blue, I wonder, Leazwell? Oh wait, I think that was another beer company.

Pete and Amy - of course, it seems so obvious now, Will! A match made in ... somewhere. Don't know why I didn't think of it.
I'm thinking distance too, actually.

She's my sister actually, Kelly, and I never did call your idea dumb. I liked the whole eye patch concept, if you recall.

I hate to tell you this, Jane, but once upon a time I could see perfectly as well. So enjoy it while you can!
I like your thinking on close vs distance though.

Karen's Mouth said...

I'm on board with the whole planning thing. I wear reading glasses while my sister wears glasses for distance. Wearing reading glasses seems a lot less hassle to me. Lots of people don't even realise I wear glasses at all. Plus I look geeky in the correct context. But then my glasses are quite geeky whereas my sister has some hot glasses. Good grief what a decision!

Barbara Bruederlin said...

I'm now starting to wonder whether the optometrist was just referring to the short term, Kees - the time between one eye and the other being corrected. Turns out I may be a slow learner.
But I am sure you have the total geek chic thing going on with your readers.

Karen's Mouth said...

Ooooooohhh. Oh well that's better. Much less like Sophie's choice. Phew. Shouldn't let it put you off wearing an eye patch though, if that's to your liking.

Anonymous said...

oh, dear. what a hell of a thing to have to contemplate... sorry for chiming in so late here...

when my asshole dad had his cataract surgery i think he had to make a similar choice. he opted for maintaining distance vision & relying on reading glasses.

i would totally do the same thing. they make some kick ass frames for reading glasses, you could have a different look every day!

hugs, girl.

Barbara Bruederlin said...

haha I sort of already do have a different look for every day, Michelle. Over the years I have managed to collect a few pairs of readers and of course I never throw them out just because the prescription has changed. Oh no.
I'm thinking distance as well.