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.
This post is created in response to WordPress Photo Challenge: Frame
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
“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.
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
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
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?
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.
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.
For non glasses wearer, or even those with low myopia, it might be hard to understand that minus glasses minify everything. It makes everything smaller. The higher the prescription is, the higher minification effect of the glasses. Each diopter approximately minify 2% of the world. So, with my current prescription, I see the world 24% smaller.
The image below demonstrate the minification effect when looking to computer screen through my glasses. The bottom part is how I see computer screen through my glasses. While everything is clear, it is smaller. It is still better though than the blurred image on the top.
Fortunately, contact lenses don’t minify things, because it sticks to your eyes. This explain why I love to wear contact lenses instead of glasses, in addition to comfort.
In response to Daily Prompt: Easy Fix. Write a post about any topic you wish, but make sure it ends with “And all was right in the world.”
I only remember vaguely on what I did to screw my eyes that bad. But I thankful to live in the time where, high myopia can be fixed quite easily.
I will be struggling to live in my blurry world had the glasses and contact lens haven’t been found. I won’t be able to go to school, as I can’t find the right bus number. Even if someone tell me the right bus, and another one tell me where to stop, I still won’t be able to read the board, or even see the teacher, or recognize my friend.
I also won’t be able to travel. I will need someone to help me to navigate the airport to find my gate, as any visual cue will be too far to read. I probably don’t want to travel anyway. What is the fun to travel when what you can see are only colours running together.
I would also be mostly at home before dusk, as my vision get much worse at night. Without glasses, I can barely see anything at night. Multiple source of light mixed each other, overshadowing other things. I might even walk with my hand out in the front, holding onto the wall, to find my way in unfamiliar environment.
Thankfully, these days, even high myopia is considered a minor inconvenience in daily life. Just pop up the correct glasses, and all is good.. If glasses is inconvenient, too heavy, or hinder you to do some activity like sport, pop a pair of contact lens. And again, all was (and is) good and sharp in this world.