Thursday, January 24, 2013


Before you read any further, this post is going to be boring and it's the last one until some time like another month or two.  I have to quit here for this length of time to keep up with the demand of my real job.  So, if you are waiting to see how many of my family members (myself included) have mental illness, you have to be patient.
Last weekend, I met my eye doctor at Costco.  It took me a while to realize who he was and then I missed the chance to report to him that his suggestion worked.  If any of you are having eye sight issues, continue to read.  Otherwise, you can stop here.

About 10 years ago, my friend who had very bad vision suggested me to have my eye sight corrected by LASIK surgery.  I was quite impressed by his successful surgery because it freed him from wearing glasses, which I had complained about for years.  Using glasses may not be a problem for many people, but for me, it's quite troublesome.  I swim once a week, run every (other) day, and ski once or twice every winter...  Glasses are not compatible with my need of fresh air.

So I started to look around for LASIK free consultations.  Some eye doctors sent me home because they believed that I passed the golden age for such invasive procedure.  If my nearsightedness (myopia) would be surgically corrected, I would have to wear reading glasses pretty soon, they said, since I was entering the critical age 40 for eyesight to change.  Other doctors suggested an alternative to solve my dilemma: having only one eye fully corrected by LASIK and leaving another stayed being nearsighted.

That was called monovision - later I found.

What a strange solution, that would never work, I thought.  But the eye doctor explained to me that many people are indeed functioning well with one good eye.  He let me try to wear corrective lens on one eye to walk around the mall.  I did as long as I could stand and returned to his office.  I said, "It made me feel dizzy!"  So I left my eye doctors and had continued to use contact lenses on both of my eyes for the next few years.

But this did not last long enough, because few years later, I started needing reading glasses.  I bought many pairs of those from the supermarket, yet none of them would help.  They would only allow me to read a couple of words and then words would become unfocused.  Thus, I'd managed by removing contact lenses whenever I needed to read for long periods of times.  You can imagine this could be quite a problem because all I do all day long is reading!  Thus, I finally paid another visit to an eye doctor.  This was the one that I met at Costco and he had hard time with me.  I asked him to find me a solution.  Guess what he told me to do?

"You could try monovision, that would buy you few more years without the need of reading glasses."

Great, the expert has spoken - monovision is the way to go.  How would that work?!  Well, your brain will learn new tricks, the optometrist said to me, believing that I would listen to him immediately - yes, I usually can make people trust my sincerity when I smile and node my head.  However, when he tried to find what my dominant eye was, he found he could not decide, because it changed - depending on which way he was testing.  In another words, I might not have eye dominance.

Oh, by the way, do you know anything about dominant eye?

Finally, the eye doctor said my left eye vision was worse than the right so let's assume that was the dominant eye.  In fact, I kind of suspected that my left eye was worse because I only was able to use one eye, usually the left one, when I examine my micro organisms under microscopes at work.  Fair enough, if that was the one that functioned better, it could be the dominant one.  I agreed.  So, we started a long fitting process - it was painful for the both of my optometrist and me.  He gave me a free lens per week to try on, I would come back to his office after only two days of trying.  The monovision made me want to throw up.  I could not see, I could not drive, I could not walk, I could not function at work... it just made me feeling weird!

At that point, my eye doctor ran out of ideas and told me to go home to live with my life in my old ways.  He completely forgot about the reason that I went to him.  I was going to get a prescription for a pair of workable reading glasses from him, remember?  "Your eyes are fine.  You don't have astigmatism, so just go ahead to get a pair of reading glasses at any supermarkets."  He again, sent me home without further help.

Doctors are so powerless, sometimes.  So, I decided to be my own eye doctor.  Doctors don't live in my life, how would they know what exactly I want and like, right?

I must confess that I have already been my own eye doctors for years.  How so, you say?  Well, because I've never fully trusted any of optometrists to know my eye sight more than myself.  Look, all they do is to put various corrective lenses in front of you and then ask how you feel!  See they rely on how we feel about those lenses.  So, I only used their prescriptions as a guideline to order contact lenses.  I had been wearing few degrees lower then what my prescriptions indicate about my eye sights.  For example, I would ware -2.0/-1.75 lenses for a prescription of -2.5/-2.25.  After seeing my last eye doctor, I'd started to use -1.75/-1.5 lenses so that I could still read without taking my contacts off.

Given this history of wearing under-powered lenses, I began to understand why my eye doctor could never get the "monovision" to work for me.  He was reluctant to try lenses too much lower than what my prescription indicated.  He did not fully understand my situation, indeed.  I have a severe balance defect - my small brain does not talk to my inner ear bones very well, so, I have been living with motion sickness or kinetosis since birth.  I suspect this was why I felt dizzy when my eye doctor was performing fitting process: the lens that fully corrects my left eye vision would exaggerate the vision defects of my right eye, which then led to a worsened motion sickness!

I reasoned, if I could under correct my left eye, which then could bring my both eyesight closer to each other, that should eliminate the trouble of kinestosis.  So, I ordered few pairs of contact lenses online and started to test this idea.  Did I mention we Chinese don't follow any rules, whenever possible?  I must admit also that I tend to believe a strong will is the solution for every problem.  Nonscientific, I know.  So is the existence of God!

Once this was understood, the problem became very simple.  I just removed the right eye contact lens, voila, the letters on my computer screen became as sharp as if I removed both of my contact lenses!

I had been wearing one under-powered contact lens in my left eye ever since.  It's been few years now and this monovision experiment seems to be working!  I live in a happy life without the need of a pair of reading glasses at all.  But I do, keep few pairs of glasses handy, such as in the glove boxes of cars and my purse.  I used them to add on the top of my contact lens for the times that I need sharp vision.

So, monovision does work for me, although it needs a bit of modification.  If you are like me at the cross points of needing a pair of reading glasses, try monovision!

The good news is, my father is 83 and still reads newspapers and news on computer screens regularly without the help of reading glasses.  I wish I could be just like him, except he does not have myopia.  

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