Oh, what a sight for sore eyes

Thursday, September 29, 2016

Just to put things in perspective, eyeglasses have been a part of my face longer than the mustache I cultivated as a teenager, and nearly as long as my ears and nose.

For as long as I can remember, glasses have either been on my face or on the nightstand beside the bed.

You see, barely could I even recognize myself without glasses. Of course, part of that blame would certainly lie with my lousy old vision.

But no more. Thanks to cataract surgery and some nifty ophthalmological magic, the removal of a rapidly growing cataract spawned implantation of corrective lenses where my old human lenses were failing. And now I somehow have 20/20 vision in my right eye and something less than that in my left eye which had required surgery way back when I was a kid.

The last time I remember not needing to wear glasses, I was only five or six years old. We were enjoying a Friday night movie event at my elementary school, I recall. Back in those days, a couple of cartoons always preceded the feature, and in this case it was a Looney Tunes offering.

Family lore recalls that I asked my parents “why there were two Bugs Bunnys?”

Of course, family lore also purports that I once popped up from the backseat during a drive-in presentation of “Gunfight at the OK Corral” to supposedly ask, “Are those the good guys or are those the bad guys?” Cute as that is, it may or may not be a parental exaggeration.

However, let the record show that now, lo these many years later, my quotable self reports with glee, “Holy cow, I can read the label on the shampoo bottle in the shower.”

Talk about a real eye-opener. No more accidentally washing my hair with someone’s lilac body wash, the dog shampoo or using conditioner out of sequence.

But this is all so odd now. I keep reaching up to touch the bridge of my nose to push up non-existent glasses.

And for the first time in my life I own honest-to-goodness, off-the-rack sunglasses. Bought three pairs -- green lenses, blue lenses (with apologies to Crystal Gale, don’t they make my blue eyes bluer?) and even mirrored aviators. The latter just because I could, and because if I talk into the cuff of my shirt, I can pretend to be a Secret Service agent. Hey, I’m the man behind those Foster Grants.

In recent days I’ve even gone all Corey Hart on the world, wearing my sunglasses at night. After all, I’m still trying to get used to having no glasses on my face. I can see clearly now, the frames are gone.

Self-consciously I feel people are staring, thinking “there’s something different about him ...” My worst fear is somehow I’ve turned into the Elephant Man and no one will tell me.

Remember now, a simple pair of black-rimmed glasses kept the people of Metropolis from identifying mild-mannered reporter Clark Kent as Superman. If only I were able to leap tall buildings in a single bound ...

Repeatedly and encouragingly the folks at the Eye Specialists of Indiana have advised that a five-minute surgery would mean a lifetime of better vision.

Ultimately I may need some magnifying drugstore cheaters or some glasses to correct the astigmatism I inherited. But hey, that’s all the better to see you, my dear.

“You’re going to end up with the thinnest pair of glasses you’ve probably had in 25 years,” the eye specialist is telling me.

Unable to resist, I ask, “Will they make me look thinner?”

Not to be outdone, the eye guy responds.

“Well ... we’ll see ...”

I believe we already have. And the eyes definitely have it.