since you've seen my pics it probably does not come as a surprise that i wear glasses. because i believe you, my dear readers, to be extremely observant and keen for detail, you must have noted that my personal style, that i'd like to consider thoughtfully complete and playful at best, is complimented by a rather boring and unsuitable choice of spectacles. let me assure you that i am well aware of it, as well.
i have worn glasses since i was 8 years old. at entering the third grade, my teacher noted me squinting and i was quickly forwarded to my mother's ophthalmologist. my first pair of glasses were bright red and completely round, and i looked like a perky little professor. quite fitting, really, since i was a walking encyclopedia at that point in my life.
since then my sight has deteriorated at a pace that vexed my parents. around my 25th bday, my eyes found peace within and the degeneration stopped at -7.5 diopters, give or take a quarter. for those with perfect eye-sight i will elaborate: the figure translates to an ability to see 15cm sharply and things turning into a blur afterwards. the limit of severe myopia is -6 and official blindness starts around -10 diopters and, thus, i am pretty much as blind as a bat.
living with poor sight means that i completely lose functionality without my glasses: i have hurt myself numerous times at public saunas and at summer cottages because i have had to take them off for some reason or another. i keep an extra pair in my nightstand drawer in case i misplace my glasses accidentally: i cannot find the lost pair without another one on. the few times i have woken up and seen the ceiling means i fell asleep with my contacts – a rather painful experience. needless to say, the option of forgetting to wear them (something i hear happens to many people...) is unimaginable.
additionally, myopia comes with other little quirks: people who work with text often develop a slight strabismus, i.e. my eye wanders when it's attempting to focus on small details. this particular foible shows in photos and adds a touch of lunacy to my otherwise immaculate [sic!] look. moreover, i also suffer from nocturnal myopia, i.e. my night vision is worse than average. another source of creative stumbling at cottages and natural environments – no wonder i love cities with bright lights so much. contacts work fine when i'm off work, but concentrating on the screen of my laptop dries my eyes and causes pain.
i am one of the fifth of young adults in finland who need to wear corrective lenses, but the severity of my condition makes me a part of a very small minority. after over two decades of myopic life i have obviously lived through all imaginative phases of self-doubt: as a child i was never teased for my four-eyes, but when i reached puberty there wasn't such a creature as the cool indie nerd with ironic glasses. hipsters came a decade too late for me. for a girl spectacles meant you were an outcast, simple as that, and my first pair of contacts created such a memorable turning point in my social life that i still remember the two weeks between ordering and receiving them as anxiety filled and revolutionary: my personal paradigm shift of turning dateable.
the newly found freedom came at a price: after overexposing my eyes to contacts in high-school, i had to stop wearing them regularly for some years. fortunately, i was going to a place where nerds were accepted: during my time at the university the glasses grew on me and became a part of my personality – so much so, that i sometimes feel naked without them.
the cultural belief that glasses make you appear more intelligent lives on strong and i have been "accused" of wearing glasses to appear smart(er). there is research suggesting pleiotropical connection between high iq and myopia, but i find explanations pointing towards other correlations more convincing. that is, children suffering from myopia tend to be clumsier and, therefore, devote their time to activities that will not injure them – nearsighted kids read rather than play ball. myopic kids don't recognize their friends from the other side of the playground and can appear socially awkward – some more time for reading, then. moreover, kids with poor eyesight tend to be seated in the front of classes. needless to say, all these correlating factors work as an explanation only if other conditions are favorable: i learned to read at four when i was still very agile and fearless, and there are theories that lengthy visual concentration early in life can also induce myopia, not the other way around.
i have definitely used the stereotypes to my advantage when i started teaching. when half of my students were older than myself, they added credibility. even presently their effect is increased respect. therefore, i understand the desire to wear status glasses at times. the reason i haven't got rid of mine has nothing to do with credibility, however, but my hesitation to let a sufficiently healthy organ be tampered with needlessly. i already know what it means to be blind, and i have no intention of taking any risks that could leave me permanently so – there aren't odds low enough to mean i could not end up the unfortunate one with damage.
glasses it is, then. as an essential everyday accessory, glasses are a signifier of personal and peer style. for someone like myself who considers fashion a play of personality and belonging, wearing (or not wearing) glasses and the choice of spectacles is no small deal. not being able to wear glasses that fit one's image of oneself is dissatisfying to say the least and absolutely horrific at worst. when larger frames appeared five years ago i keenly went to the optician and returned with similar glasses you've seen me wear here. a couple years later large frames were everywhere, but i got the ones you've seen. i didn't want to, but i had to.
why? because myopia as severe as mine limits the choices in frames – especially if you're interested in retaining a normal shaped head and eyes that do not resemble pin heads at the bottom of a glass jar. strong correction warps the entire area covered by a lens‚ and myopia is corrected with lenses that minimize everything visible behind them. therefore, the sides of the face become contracted and with a high enough frame your face ends up looking like a pear. with a jawline like mine, i haven't felt up for the challenge. minuscule eyes become more apparent the larger the lens area and ultimately disappear into the abyss of the face. nah, not up for that either...
so you can imagine how excited i was to see round frames making a comeback! round could work, look artsy and fresh on me, right? kinda like vuokko nurmesniemi whose style closes in on iconic...
right? wrong. comeback, yes; availability, nonexistent.
so i relied on my steady supplier, chanel. their frames come in sizes that are small enough for my face – yup, guess what, my face is so narrow that most frames do not fit at all, and the ones that do, i need a special order for. let's just say that specsavers is not my destination nor my price range because severe myopia does not come cheap. ever. a pair of glasses ends up costing around 750€ which means i don't purchase them on a whim.
i ended up ordering a pair of slightly larger frames from chanel's new denim line. they arrived a week ago and i have already noted another reason why larger lenses are not a great choice: my glasses weigh enough to hurt the bridge of my nose. nevertheless, i am content with them although they feel "old" already. happy or excited, nope, but alright and fine.
at times like these i just wish i could afford playing dame edna... sigh.
i'm sure i'm not alone... if you wear glasses, did you have trouble finding the right pair? how many do you have and do feel the need to change them with outfits? if you don't need glasses, have you ever considered (or do you) wear image glasses for any (tell me!) reason?