Swimming Pool Simulation

“This is the reason why I seldom swim”, Jeany told me, while showing the picture below. “Without glasses, I can’t find the swimming pool!”

The picture to the left is how Jeany see, without her -20 correction, and the one to the right is how Jeany sees when she wears her glasses. Everything look smaller, but sharp and clear. And Jeany can find the swimming pool.

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Difficulties with Extreme Myopia

Everyone knows that someone with myopia is unable to see clearly distant object. And glasses or contact lenses correct myopia by altering the focus of the eye so that distant object become clear. However, as myopia grows stronger (or severe), things are not as simple as that.

General consensus usually classify severe myopia to those who need glasses stronger than -6D in order to see distant object. With prescription of more than 3 times of the limit, my friend Jeany definitely qualify as someone with severe myopia. In fact, some reference classify it as extreme myopia.

Jeany recently share to me on how her severe (or extreme) myopia is different to low-moderate myopia.

Being Without Glasses

Lets admit it, us glasses wearer must have 1-2 incidents that forced us to go without glasses. For low myopia, it is probably an inconvenience. For those with extreme myopia, it is a disabilities to be without glasses.

To give some idea, Jeany allows me to test her vision:

  1. In order to see clearly to read small print, Jeany need to put the material 6 cm from her eyes. That is like almost touching her nose.Also, at that distance, the eyes can’t converge, so Jeany sees double unless she close one of her eyes
  2. If I’m sitting next to her, which is around arm-length, Jeany won’t be able to recognize me without her glasses. My facial features become visible (not clear) .just few centimeters from her eyes.
  3. At 1 meter, Jeany can’t tell if someone is there or not, unless he/she moves.
  4. The big E on the chart will completely disappear from Jeany without her glasses. Heck, even the doctor with her white coat will be very hard to see unless she moves

Difficulty of Getting Glasses

Glasses is part of fashion style, especially for those who need it to even get around. However, getting stylish glasses for those with extreme myopia is not easy, for several reasons:

  1. The lens will be thick. To hide the thickness and make it more aesthetically better, extreme myopia is limited to small glasses
  2. The frame should also strong enough to hold those thick heavy lenses. Most of rimless frame is out of the question. And usually extreme myopia will be limited to glasses with thick frame
  3. It is expensive. It is hell expensive, because probably they know that we can’t live without it. Therefore it limits on how many pairs that one person can afford.
  4. It is also a bit of a hassles to try glasses frames. As Jeany said, it is impossible to see her whole face without any correction because she need to be ridiculously close to mirror, while trying a new frame. Fortunately, camera phones save the day.

Putting on Make Up

With glasses, you can’t put a make up around your eyes. Without glasses, you can’t see well enough to put on the make up. Jeany need to have her nose touching the mirror to see clearly to put on make up. And then she don’t have enough space between the mirror and her eyes for the brush for the make up.

Solution? Get someone to help, or do like what the girl in the video do.

Switching Between Glasses to Contact to Glasses

Glasses distort vision. And as the power goes higher, the more distorted the vision is. Which is why for most of the time Jeany choose to wear contact lenses. But one can’t wear contact lenses forever. The eyes will scream

Once I was with Jeany traveling on airplane. Jeany need to switch from her contact lenses to glasses at the airport. She almost trip a couple of time, not because she can’t see, but because things are, in her words, so small, far and curved.

Light Sensitivity

I’m not sure why the extremely myopic eyes are very light sensitive. At least that is the case with Jeany, compared to my (also high myopia) eyes. However, switching to just any $10 sunglasses won’t definitely works with Jeany. She will definitely look and act like a blind lady.

For Jeany, she choose to spend more money to buy another sun glasses. Not a cheap one, but some quite expensive glasses..

Night Blindness

On the other extreme, Jeany also have poor vision in low light condition. At one point in time, I need to hold Jeany’s hand in a club in order for her not to stumble into things.

Without her glasses in low light condition, she will need to feel her way around.

In Constant Frame

Being someone with myopic eyes, especially very myopic one, means that you always view the world through the frame of your lens. There are many choice anyway, as the world beyond the lenses is only smears of colors, and blob of lights of indistinguishable object.

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Photo by Cathy 

This post is created in response to WordPress Photo Challenge: Frame

Reading with -3.5 and -12

Ever wonder why that person with -12 always said that she need her glasses all the time? Even for reading? Well, we know that -12 is bad for myopia. Every literature put it as high myopia. And if those with -3.5 myopia also complain that she need her glasses all the time, of course -12 will need it even worse, right?

Well, the pictures below will put things into perspective. The first picture is someone with -3.5 myopia reading a magazine. On the left side is vision through glasses. It is sharper than the right side without glasses. While it is impossible to read the smaller print, the larger print is pretty much readable with  some difficulty.

-3.5 Reading Magazine

The picture below is the same magazine, but from the point of view of someone with -12 myopia. It is impossible to read anything without glasses, even the large print on the right side. Texts are just black smears. But surprisingly, even the text on the left is much harder to read. It is smaller, distorted and also have some color fringe.

Reading Magazine -12

Thankfully, the brain of -12 adjust from those distortion and color fringe, having to adapt of wearing glasses for long time. However the brain can only adapt to the blur for so much, and -12 blur is definitely too much to adapt.

Peripheral Distortion

In response to WordPress Photo Challenge: Curve

Many people think that, when someone with myopia wear glasses, his/her vision is the same with those who don’t need glasses. The fact is that, while glasses do make things clearer, it does come with many side effects. The higher the myopia, more thicker glasses required to make distance vision clear, and more side effects come with thicker glasses.

The well known side effect is minification. Minus glasses to correct myopia make things smaller, approximately 2% per diopter. That means, with my -12 glasses, I see things 25% smaller compared to normal eyes. Contact doesn’t minify things, which is why I prefer to use contacts than glasses.

The other effect of minus glasses is peripheral distortion. Photographer know this as barrel distortion, in which the edge of picture taken with camera appear curved. Vision behind minus lens also suffer from the same effect, where things in peripheral look curved. Compare the two picture below

Curved Door

The picture on the left is my vision without glasses. While everything look very blurred (try to locate the faucet), the door frame on the left is straight from top to bottom. When I put on my glasses, things got in focus (now can you find the faucet?). But, the door frame on the left look curved.

Thankfully, after decades of wearing glasses, the brain got used to the distortion, and simply cancel it out. I hardly notice the distortion, unless I really try to feel it.

If I Lost My Glasses…..

I will be in big trouble.

My vision is only clear for like 10 cm in front of my eyes. Things got gradually blurry beyond that. At 12 cm, the writings on newspaper become black smuges. At arm length, the headlines become a big smear. At 3 meters, I can’t find the newspaper.

I won’t be totally helpless either. I can see well enough to navigate around my apartment without bumping into things. So I can go to toilet, clean myself and find stuff if I remember where I put it. Cooking will be a bit of a challenge without cutting my own finger, so phone order will be wiser. In short, I still can take care of myself.

But there are longer list of what I will be challenged to do. Watching TV is impossible. It is a trade off being able to see blurry screen, or clearly see a part of the screen from 10 cm. Using computer is also uncomfortable. I need to bend myself to be able to see the screen, putting pressure on my back and my arm. Reading a book means that sticking my nose close to the page. Running outside is not advisable and not fun because you won’t be able to read anything. There are no point to go to work without glasses. I won’t be able to recognize who are sitting in front of me across the table. Presentation screen? Just a bright light

I will just probably sit at home, order some delivery, listen to the music and do nothing

Walking Outside Without Glasses? Not Advisable

This simulation below is why for someone with high myopia like me is not advisable to go outside without glasses. I was walking along a road that is being closed for traffic, and cleaning up my glasses when I heard my friend yelled at me.

“Watch out for the branches”

By reflex I look up, and squint while cleaning up my glasses.

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What branches?

“Where”, I asked her. “I don’t see anything.” “Put on your glasses,” she replied. I follow her advise, and immediately understand what my friend was talking about.

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Oh that branch

So, yeah, walking without glasses is not advisable for someone who need -12 correction. At least, not where the road is full of dirt and garbage

The Squint Reflex

It is no secret that people with myopia tend to squint a lot when they are without correction. This is especially true for those with low myopia, as it helps to make things clear. I remember doing it a lot when my glasses was not up to date.

However, I don’t think high myopia squint a lot. First, you seldom see a high myopia without their glasses, for obvious reason. Squinting doesn’t help high myopia much, if at all.

But apparently I was wrong. I was cleaning my glasses during my morning run when I heard a horn. I instantly look up, and in a reflex, I squint. I think, the squint reflex was built in every myopic person, low or high.

At least, I was right on one thing: squint didn’t help much. It did help to transform the white wash out in the distance into vague shapes

Halloween Night Walk

In response to WordPress Daily Prompt: Trick or Trick

“Trick or Treaat!”

A bunch of teenagers yelled as I answer to the bell. I immediately regret it, as I just run out of candy. It was pretty late, and I don’t expect any kids to still come and collects candy

“Sorry kids, I just run out of candy”, I answered.

“Then it will be trick”, one of the kid said.

I think for a moment. Just for the sake of Halloween, I thought. “OK, what will it be?”

They discussed for a while, then said: “We want you to walk to your fence without glasses.”

I took off my glasses. Those kids instantly blend into the blur. I squint hard and can see the greyish line under the street light. The fence. “OK kids, move away, blind lady coming”

I did it without hassle, as I know my yard very well. The kids were happy as they took off. But the experience left me to think, what if the trick was for me to walk through cemetery, at night, without my glasses?

Happy Halloween

In A Blurry World

As someone with high myopia, I am very much familiar with the word Blur.

Myopia is defined as inability of the eyes to focus on distance far away. At the early stage, a far away distance is pretty far, like the whiteboard, or road sign. As myopia progress, the far away distance got closer, such as TV, and even book. At my current myopia stage, the far away distance is as far as 7 cm away.

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In a practical world, without my glasses, everything is a blur. Above is how I see without glasses at night. If I were to walk without glasses, I will need to put my hand in the front in order not to bump into anything.

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