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:
- 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
- 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.
- At 1 meter, Jeany can’t tell if someone is there or not, unless he/she moves.
- 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:
- The lens will be thick. To hide the thickness and make it more aesthetically better, extreme myopia is limited to small glasses
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
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..
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.