Doctor, My Eyes

Youngs, turn away and move on, for below lies an ugly tale of what awaits you after the mid-forties. If you choose to continue reading, you have been warned.

Even as a Young, I had poor vision, but it was corrected to 20/20 with garden-variety glasses. Granted, they were thick as fuck and so heavy they would slide down my nose, but I could see fine. Then came the new hotness, “high index” lenses. These were made by some form of optical alchemy which allowed my 8 or so diopter correction to stop looking like something out of a 1940’s anti-Japanese propaganda film. And, praise Bausch & Lomb, separately and as a committed life couple, they were made out of some kind of space-age plastic that made them incredibly light.

So, optically speaking, the late-90’s and the oughts were salad days for me. Glasses would no longer slip down my nose, and I could see fairly well. I realized that the field of view on these new glasses was somewhat restricted, and the early models would scratch and the coatings would wear off in about a year, but they were an improvement.

Then, as will happen to all you Youngs, even those of you with 20/20 vision, presbyopia struck, and I needed bifocals. No worries, because another form of optiks magic has created “progressive” lenses. In the same way that political progressives are invisible on Fox News, the bifocal part in these lenses cannot be seen. I got my first set of high-index progressives two years ago, and I was able to adjust to the approximately one millimeter “sweet spot” in the center of the lens. So, life went on, albeit with a lot more movement of my neck and head, since that tiny sweet spot means that moving your eyes to see something is out of the question.

Well, yesterday I got a second set with a more powerful bifocal part, and by coincidence, the new keyboard that I ordered to replace the worn-out and crudded-over one on my main office computer arrived. Between the new prescription and the new keyboard, I am, to use a technical term, FUBAR.  My poor old-man axons and dendrites are sparking and smoking as they try, in vain, to burn new pathways around the billions of alcohol-destroyed neurons rolling around uselessly in my cabeza. If I could type at more than half of my usual speed with my new keyboard, and if I could see the screen clearly with my new glasses, I might write more about how frustrating that is.

Another frustrating fact: as a Young, you can walk into Lenscrafters or order glasses off the Internet, and it’s no big thing to get your glasses in an hour or overnight. The (meticulous, excellent) optician at the optical place that I frequent has to look up which high-index lenses work with my “see the future” prescription in a 30 page catalog of possible combinations. Then it takes two weeks for a basement full of Chinese toddler slaves to create enough tears to lubricate the lens grinding machine used to fashion my $600 (I shit you not) lenses. Then, Dios mediante, I get my new glasses, after which it will take a few days for my eyes to find the now 1/2 millimeter sweet spot. But I will say that the $60 my insurance pays, the same amount they’ve paid since the dawn of recorded history, does help soften the blow.

This thread is for bitching about being old, so have at it.

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189 replies
  1. 1
    gogol's wife says:

    Be patient. I couldn’t play the piano at all for about a week after I got my new glasses, but I’ve adjusted.

  2. 2
    Jane2 says:

    I struggled for a long time with bifocals, and finally gave up because as a near-sighted person, I can read most things without them.

    Unless you need the bifocals on a daily basis, get two pairs of single-vision glasses, one for distance and one for computer work. Get a cheap pair of glasses from the drug store for reading gum labels and other very fine print.

    Problem solved.

  3. 3
    Butch says:

    Well, I’m celebrating, or maybe observing is the better term, a birthday this weekend and I suspicion I’m well ahead of you in years, my friend.

  4. 4
    sparrow says:

    Salt in the wound: my dear boyfriend, 18 years my senior at 48, has never needed glasses, and has not yet developed the presssbyopia of middle age. I blame the mediterranean diet (he’s Greek).

    Me, I got glasses at age 12. Actually I got contacts, and never wore the glasses (“for emergencies”) because for the first time in my 12 years, I sat down and cried, BAWLED, incessantly after learning I needed glasses, which so shocked my mother (used to her stoic, happy, cheerful kid), that she gave in immediately to my request for contacts. I was awkward enough at that age without also becoming a four-eyes.

    Now I wear my red hipster glasses quite happily. They even turn into sunglasses outdoors which is a major plus for someone as lazy as I am.

  5. 5
    Josie says:

    You’re not finished yet, mistermix. Wait till you get to the stage of having cataracts and all the fun involved with those. I will say that, $4000.00 later, I have corrective lenses implanted, which means that I can see without glasses for the first time since I was three years old. Medicare and insurance do not cover the corrective lenses, but I figured that, since my glasses cost $500.00 to $600.00 every time the prescription changed, I was ahead of the game. Still have to find that sweet spot, though, to read or look at the computer screen.

  6. 6
    canuckistani says:

    I’m sure using my neck to point my eyes through progressive lenses contributes to the perpetual neck and back aches that come with being older than I once was.
    On the up side, I get to say “when I was young” a lot to the young geeks in my office.

  7. 7
    Schlemizel says:

    I’ll call you a a whaaaaamgulance. I’d kill to be 40 again. 21 years ago I was in the peak of heath compared to today. THe eyes are weak, I don’t have to whistle because I have a constant whistle going on, I don’t have the energy I did & when I do something physical it takes days to recover. Yeah, you’ll look back at 40 some day & wonder what you were complaining about!

  8. 8
    Fuzzy says:

    I’ve had both lenses in my eyes replaced for cataracts and now reading glasses are all I require at age 72. Too bad they cannot do something like that or laser surgery for you.

  9. 9
    raven says:

    I bought progressives two years ago and disliked them so much I put them away for a year. My younger brother who is 52 told me I was nuts a year ago so I tried them again and they are great. My vision was great until that damn dissertation on a Mac SE!

    eta I shall now go to the Y and hammer my measley 25 laps shoulder pain and all. I went to a fundraiser with Jack Logan and Five Eight until 10 pm and I’m exhausted!

  10. 10
    MikeJ says:

    USPS says my prescription sunglasses are due here today, after being ordered on the 1st. Just a couple of years ago it took the Chinese toddlers six weeks. So that’s an improvement, and these cost exactly what they did two years ago.

    I also know that every time I hike one particular trail, there’s a chance I’ll find prescription sunglasses made just for me.

  11. 11
    Pincher says:


    Exactly right. I paid $500 for my first pair of bifocals and found them impossible to use with the computer. You have to tilt your head up so that you are looking down through the lower half of the bifocal, and you get a sore neck. Forget it. So I went to CVS and bought a $12 pair of reading glasses and they worked fine.

    I have since upgraded to a more stylish $25 pair of CVS reading glasses and they work great with the computer. Just make sure that you try a few different magnifications while you are in the store and find the one that is comfortable for your usual working/reading distance.

  12. 12
    Omnes Omnibus says:

    @Jane2: Yeah, I have already decided that when the time comes for me to get reading glasses, I will get a separate pair. While I am near-sighted, my vision is not too bad and I generally wear my classes only for watching movies and tv and for driving at night. Given this, I think I would never adjust to bifocals. It will be easier to just grab the appropriate pair of specs when I need them.

  13. 13
    Fogeyman says:

    At 60 years old, and having worn glasses since the age of 12, I feel your pain. High-index plastic is a nose-saver for my extreme nersightedness. But with the bifocals and astigmatism the cost adds up. My vision insurance (I work for the same governmental agency as soonergrunt) pays more, though, so I’m only out around $250 per pair of glasses.

    But finding that “sweet spot” is still painful.

  14. 14
    suusanw says:

    I had to give up the bifocal glasses (in my 30’s! so there!) because I kept falling up stairs. Now I am resigned to eventual blindness.

  15. 15

    Can you use contact lenses? What about Lasik?

  16. 16
    mistermix says:

    @Schlemizel: I’m 50, not 40, so I’m closer to full-on decrepitude than you might think.

  17. 17
    Lee says:

    @Jane2: That is exactly what I do.

    One nice pair for work (programmer). One decent pair for sitting at home watching TV (when I need them).

    One $5 pair for when I need to read exceedingly small print.

  18. 18
    Gravenstone says:

    I think I dropped $1200 on my last pair of glasses (and a basic pair of non-progressive prescription sunglasses). Fortunately I was killing off the balance of an FSA so I had minimal additional out of pocket expense. Yes, getting older takes a toll on the eyesight. I get the added bonus of an inherited degenerative condition that causes pressure to build up between the lens and cornea, impairing the ability to focus. With the cherry on top that my symptom onset was ca. 15 years ahead of the average for those likewise afflicted, so potentially an aggressive course for the disease. At some point, I’m probably looking at corneal transplants. Joy.

  19. 19
    mistermix says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: My brother, who had worse vision than me (his glasses were objects to behold, let me tell you), had LASIK and he has perpetual dry eye. I already have issues with dry eye so I’m not going there. Same with contacts, never did them, and don’t want to stick something irritating in my dry eyes.

  20. 20
    T says:

    Well you could be like me, needing three separate pairs because trying to use bifocals causes me to lose it like I was on a roller coaster. I have a pair for the computer/phone/nook, a pair for reading regular books, and a pair to walk around in to prevent me from running into a tree. They all dangle around my neck on cords, especially at the grocery store, when I need to read a label, my store list (on my phone) and to navigate around.

  21. 21
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    I finally surrendered, and got my first pair of progressive lenses back in May… but apparently I’m one of those lucky people who adjusts to them almost instantly. My only complaint is the reduced peripheral vision. (Makes navigating Boston traffic that much more fun).

    For those considering getting the ‘Transitions’ lenses that grow dark in the sun– they’re pretty nifty, but be forewarned that they will not work in your car. (They’re triggered by UV light, which by design doesn’t get in through the windshield).

  22. 22
    tybee says:

    i hope i die before i get old….

  23. 23
    Mararama says:

    I was an office manager for an Ophthalmology group for more than 15 years, through my forties and fifties. It was the height of HIGH-larity for the patients to frequently quip (as they coped with their cataracts, glaucoma, and many other medical problems) “all I can recommend honey, is that you don’t get old!”

    Sometimes I would just smile appreciatively at this nugget of humor. Other times I would tease a bit and inquire, what other option they would suggest?

    I’m ten years older now, and I appreciate the sentiment. But there’s still no real good alternative.

  24. 24
    Mobile Grumpy Code Monkey says:

    When I first realized I needed bifocals I tried the progressive lenses, but wound up hating them. I got a pair of the old-fashioned, non-progressive kind, and I like them a lot better. I still need to take them off to read really fine print, though.

  25. 25
    NCSteve says:

    Right there with you in the exact same boat and trajectory, brother, if a few years ahead of you in the seating. Exactly what my glasses cost.

    And the worst part is that some of the companies that grind those lenses think that both the prescription and the diagram that specifies where that one millimeter sweet spot goes on each lens are more loose general guidelines than the exacting zero tolerance technical spec it is. I’d like to think that having to eat the cost of five sets of lenses, each of which costs about as much as an F-35A fighter jet, would have incented the optician to put some pressure on the lab to get it right. Instead, it took two changes of opticians to fix the problem.

  26. 26
    tybee says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec:

    and transition lenses don’t work well if you’re wearing a hat, either.

  27. 27
    The Pale Scot says:

    LOOk up 39.00 dollar glasses, I’ve been blind as a bat since 4th grade, for about a 100 bucks you can get high index lens and protective and anti-glare coating. The frames are not the best, (hinges are cheap) but you can’t beat the deal.

  28. 28
    cleek says:

    the arthritis in my left fingers is my welcome-to-middle-age kick-in-the-nuts. playing guitar now comes with a cost: sore knuckles the next day.

    my eyes are going, too. but hopefully nothing a trip to the eye doctor won’t take care of.

  29. 29
    Alabama Blue Dot says:

    I feel your pain. I got glasses in 2nd grade and now, at the age of 57, am in the “sweet spot” hell of progressive lenses. I did get some computer lenses (brought some old frames to Costco and had them made at about half the cost of the mall guys) which have been a life-saver. My problem now is droopy eyelids which my ophthalmologist, Blue Cross, and I are currently fighting over. It’s always something, young ‘uns.

  30. 30
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    First you shuffle, then you stoop.
    Growing old is pigeon poop.

    /Sandra Boynton

  31. 31

    @mistermix: Disposable contacts, can be very comfortable, you can try them as a part of your eye exam. The optometrist will keep on trying till they find you a pair that is comfortable. My left eye tends to get dry but my current set of contacts have been good. I can wear them for 10 to 12 hours straight.
    I forget what the brand name of contacts is, I will go home and check.

  32. 32
    Hawes says:

    I fucking HATE progressive lenses. I have a cervical spinal fusion (because mid-40s) and moving my head to see middle distance or read is really hard. So I’ve stopped making eye contact with people standing over me when I’m seated, because they become a fuzzy blur due to lack of neck movement.

    I never wanted Lasik, but I might reconsider.

  33. 33
    Mary G says:

    I’m only 57 and because I’ve been on steroids for thirty years or so I have the beginnings of cataracts. But I love my progressive lenses. So there’s that.

  34. 34
    Lee Hartmann says:


    Agreed. I have progressives for distance – they are really good for driving when you need to look down at a map or something – but “reading” glasses for computer work. Otherwise I have to look down my nose at my laptop and keep swiveling left to right as if I were a typewriter.

  35. 35
    Suffern ACE says:

    Well, the good news, kind of, is that the buy 1 get the 2nd pair free option that I go with instead of insurance to buy my glasses sets back the gougers $585.

    What worries me is the new Google glass. You know eventually they will come in lots of varieties that will look like regular glasses and there are already ways to disable to the “privacy safety” feature so that photos can be secretly snapped. Therefore, I’m pretty sure that at some point I will be asked to remove my glasses for security reasons or to prevent IP theft. I look forward to the day where the people who don’t need glasses cause me to walk through airports blind as a bat.

    Get off my paranoid dystopic lawn! Don’t think I don’t know you’re there just because you’re kind of blurry.

  36. 36
    Keith P. says:

    @mistermix: I had LASIK back in 2000, and haven’t had any issues. Best money I ever spent. Although funny story – to this day, I still have dreams that I forget I have 20/20 vision and put on glasses (where these dream glasses come from, I dunno).

  37. 37
    Trabb's Boy says:

    Louis C.K. on going to the doctor after 40 says it all. I can’t connect to YouTube at work, but the awesome Crabby McSlacker included it on her blog recently:

    Someone who knows how to computer embed this thing, please?

  38. 38
    cathyx says:

    Worse than an eyesight problem is having to eat less to maintain ones weight. So losing means eating even less than that.

  39. 39
    bemused says:

    I avoid driving at night. I won’t do it all if the roads are wet. Can’t see worth crap. Several friends my age are in the same boat.

  40. 40
    Emma says:

    Bifocals — pffft. Try trifocals. Weirdly enough, I couldn’t get used to progressive lenses with the bifocals, but we tried them for the new ones and they work beautifully. Costs are ridiculous, though, unless you want to have glasses heavy enough to dent your nose down to your cheekbones.

  41. 41
    Mardam says:

    And my thingy doesn’t work all the time, too!

    Get off my lawn!!!!1

  42. 42
    smintheus says:

    Have you tried using contact lenses in addition to glasses? It works well for many people who have very bad eyesight. The contacts correct most of the problem, and typically you can operate with just them for day to day stuff. And the glasses can be specifically for reading, or for driving…or bifocals that do both of those things but don’t have to do everything because the middle ground is taken care of by the contacts.

  43. 43
    Mudge says:

    You are young. Just wait.

    I am 20-400 or so uncorrected. Can’t see to swim. Computers are much easier with a separate pair of glasses that can handle 0-18 inches. Usually these are not bifocals.

    You did not mention prescription sunglasses. These used to be possible. Not so much with bifocals.

    Wait until your night vision starts to get worse.

  44. 44
    Ben Cisco says:

    As a fellow HBFB (Half-Blind From Birth), I feel your pain.

    I’m lucky enough to have insurance and a FSA now, but have shelled out plenty in the past to overcome my Magoo-like state.

  45. 45
    rdldot says:

    Take your story and add glaucoma and that’s where I am, except I just have regular bifocals. And in addition, insurance won’t cover my lens exam or fittings even though with glaucoma it is a medical necessity. The vision insurance did cover my contacts for about $110 so they only cost me about $50. So that part is good.

  46. 46
    Felonius Monk says:

    Been there, Done that.

    Wait ’til the cataracts start and things start getting fuzzier and fuzzier. But the Doc says they haven’t “ripened” yet so surgery is currently out of the question. And we can’t give you a new lens prescription because it wouldn’t do any good. You’ll just have to tough it out and wait. Oh, and now I want to see you every 6 months.

    Yeah, getting old sucks, but it still beats the alternative.

  47. 47
    smintheus says:

    @Josie: Josie, my insurance did cover the cataract surgery and the corrective lenses. And you’re right, what an amazing thing to be able to see clearly for the first time in my life. I’ve had glasses since I was 5, and incipient cataracts since I think my late teens or early twenties. I hadn’t really been able to see the stars in the night sky for decades.

  48. 48
    mistermix says:

    @Emma:My dad, who did a lot of gynecological exams, used to say that he needed trifocals to visualize the cervix, which is probably the same distance as the computer screen I’m now trying to see, but it makes a better story.

  49. 49
    joes527 says:

    @mistermix: I had LASIK (back in the day, when they did it with stone knives and bear skins) Turned out great.

    I still wear glasses when I work on the computer. But that is a huge step up from a lifetime of reaching for the glasses before my feet hit the floor in the morning.

  50. 50
    different-church-lady says:

    I’ve reached the point where I feel that unless it involves surgery it’s not even worth talking about it.

  51. 51
  52. 52
    smintheus says:

    @bemused: You have cataracts.

  53. 53
    Paul in KY says:

    @sparrow: Maybe he just hasn’t admitted it to you yet.

  54. 54
    Lee says:

    Here is a good place for cheap glasses if anyone is interested.

  55. 55
    rdldot says:

    @Mararama: Or as my Grandma used to say “The only way to keep from getting old is to die young”

  56. 56
    thundermonkey says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: listen to the cat, he’s giving you good advice.

    If you don’t have astigmatism, soft disposable contacts feel great and give much better vision than glasses. You then only have to worry about reading glasses (bifocal contacts don’t work well).

    I had worse vision than you when young – >10 diopers and lots of astigmatism – but adjusted to hard contacts after a few tries. (Later had lasik.)

  57. 57
    kindness says:

    Just wait, soon you will be able to get Tleilaxu eyes.

  58. 58
    Aunt Kathy says:

    I couldn’t deal with the progressive lenses, couldn’t handle not having peripheral vision. I traded them in for regular lined bi-focals and am happy as can be. That sweet spot is gone, but I had trouble finding it anyway. Wait, that sounded dirty…

  59. 59
    Peej says:

    As a fellow old terribly nearsighted person, I feel your pain. I have progressive lenses, love them, but the reading prescription on the glasses goes off about halfway through and I have trouble reading things. I usually wear contact lenses with regular reading glasses, but have trouble reading the computer screen with that arrangement…and I work all day with computers. I recently bought a pair of computer glasses which basically contain my middle and close in prescriptions, but they have regular bifocal lenses, which I hate. I can’t win.

  60. 60

    Ah, glasses.  I’ve been wearing them since at least the age of six.  I had a brief foray into contacts, but my eyes are on the dry side and I got a couple of nasty infections that required a visit to an ophthalmologist, so I gave up on them.

    Fortunately, the Giant Evil Corporation has a very good vision plan that only costs me about $5 a week that lets me get new glasses every year (two pairs, really — regular and computer glasses). Which is a good thing now that my aging eyes are slightly improving every year.  By the time I’m 175 or so, I should have 20/20 vision.

    And for others without good insurance, your best deal is to wait for the Lenscrafter sale where lenses are 50% off.  I’ve saved a crapload of money that way.

  61. 61
    The Gray Adder says:

    @sparrow: And the kind that turn to sunglasses? I had those once, in the 90s. They sucked. They would never quite turn clear, so instead of going to job interviews wearing cool shades, I went out and spent a couple Benjamins on a pair of non-autotint glasses. Nice ones. 15 years later, I’m still employed, thank FSM, but I really want to have shades I don’t have to stash someplace I hope might be convenient. I hear the newer ones don’t suck as much.

  62. 62
    MomDoc says:

    @mistermix: I am an ophthalmologist by training although I work as a medical writer. The world of contact lenses has improved and even for people with dry eyes, there may be a brand of contact lenses that might work for you even with your myopia and presbyopia. It may take a bit of trial and error so work with your eye doctor. The prices have improved so even a daily disposable contact lenses is not outrageous as it was when they first introduced them.

    I remember an elderly patient I saw when I was in practice back in 1997. I was working her up for cataract surgery but she had other issues like glaucoma as well as high blood pressure so she was a more complex case. She helpfully added that she had trouble going to the bathroom and she had arthritis. I said something to the effect of “they say that these are the golden years” and she snarled at me, “They lied!”

    Of course there is no real response to that and I kept that in mind whenever I saw patients after that. It can be a struggle getting older as I am now learning!

  63. 63
    The Moar You Know says:

    49. Would give my balls to be 40 again. And yes, I can’t see shit, I’m packing two pairs of glasses all the time now. I had LASIK but hilariously enough it turns out that your eyes KEEP FUCKING CHANGING so now the awesome distance vision requires glasses at night.

    However, that’s not even rating on the list of health issues I’m worried about. Looks like I’m getting some arthritis. Since I’m a no-longer professional musician who still plays a lot, and it’s in my left hand, this is a real problem.

  64. 64
    Peej says:

    This whole thread can be characterized in three words….get off my lawn!

  65. 65


    You need to start weight training. Your body loses muscle mass as you age, which alters your metabolism. You need to replace that muscle through weight training.

    You don’t necessarily have to start pumping iron — yoga or Pilates will help you build some muscle.

  66. 66
    rdldot says:

    @schrodinger’s cat: I’ve used Air Optix and those were much better than the old Acuvue. Now I use the Acuvue Oasys and they are even better than the Air Optix. Eyes never itch or get dry (except at night when I’m sleeping, for some reason).

  67. 67
    chopper says:

    still have better-than-perfect vision. the one thing i have going for me as the years tick on.

  68. 68

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): Although working out with 5 to 10 pound dumbbells is not a bad idea.

  69. 69
    Cassidy says:

    This is clearly Obama’s fault. He’s too busy swinging his dick and trying to win another Nobel to cure bad eyesight. This is just like Iraq.

  70. 70
    different-church-lady says:


    This whole thread can be characterized in three words….get off my lawn!

    You won’t find the lawn so funny when you can’t see it anymore, junior.

  71. 71
    Elizabeth says:

    I had Lasik several years ago, and went from legally blind to 20/20. Now I use the same “2 pairs of reading glasses for different situations” solution others have mentioned–one for the computer, and one for close-in reading/crafts.

    My husband, who had worn coke-bottle glasses since a toddler (with the permanent depressions in his nose to prove it) has just had successful Lasik as well, since there is now a surgical solution to his far-sightedness. He is in the process of finding the 2 proper glasses for his current (relatively) happy situation.

    It’s a bit of a hassle to carry the two pairs, but I actually go to the dollar store, get multiple pairs, and have sets at work and various convenient spots around the house. Plus a basket catch-all for the inevitable strays.

    Could be TMI, but just wanted to share a solution that has worked for a pair of us older folks. Bonus: young people love to comment and laugh about our basket full of dollar-store glasses on the kitchen counter. They seem to find it highly amusing……

  72. 72
    Gin & Tonic says:

    I’ve had the middle-aged presbyopia for quite a while now, but I get by with el-cheapo +2.0 reading glasses that I buy at discount stores for $2.99 or so. I break them, lose them, misplace them, and don’t feel bad because I have lots and they cost hardly anything. It was a bit of an adjustment after 40+ years of perfect vision, but I got used to it.

    Getting old beats the alternative, as far as I’m concerned.

  73. 73
    Cassidy says:

    @cathyx: If the aforementioned weight training interest you, I’m happy to help point you in the right direction.

  74. 74
    MikeJ says:


    This is clearly Obama’s fault.

    We don’t even know for sure that mistermix even has eyes.

  75. 75
    cathyx says:

    @Mnemosyne (iPhone): I don’t have a weight problem because I teach Jazzercise. So I do an intense workout every day. But I have had to eat less, even though I work out a lot. More than I did when I was younger.

  76. 76
    MattF says:

    Yup. Also, this:

    Not to mention retinal tears, cataracts, glaucoma. Befriend an ophthalmologist before you need to.

  77. 77
    justawriter says:

    Yeah, my standard line was that my free pair of glasses costs $200. That’s probably gone up by another $100 since then. Like a lot of small town journalist types, I avoid a lot of income tax by avoiding a lot of income, so my current pair of glasses are now about two and a half years beyond their sell-by date. I’m not looking forward to that next 7-800 dollar hit to my already thin bank account.

  78. 78
    Steve M. says:

    I can’t even adjust to finding the progressive lens sweet spot, whereas my wife adjusted to it in about a millisecond. I just use distance glasses, read books and magazines with the text absurdly close to my face, and lean in awkward positions to deal with the computer. (The latter is probably causing neck/back weirdness, but that’s another glass of whine.)

  79. 79
    aimai says:

    Yup. Just had to get reading glasses on top of my progressive lenses for everyday. Its not that I can’t see to read up close, without my glasses–its that I can’t then switch back for distance activities like driving without getting double vision. And, yes, my glasses are incredibly expensive. However, to soothe my soul I got ridiculous red frames for the reading glasses. My younger daughter took one look and said, in a besotted voice “Its A-dorkable!” when she saw me in them.

  80. 80
    SFAW says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    49. Would give my balls to be 40 again.

    Me too – i.e., I’d give your balls to be 40 again.

  81. 81
    Jockey Full of Malbec says:

    There’s a Walter White joke in there, somewhere…

  82. 82
    Mike E says:

    @kindness: Fear is the mind killer.

  83. 83
    Cassidy says:

    @MikeJ: Could have been rogue nerves or a false flag operation by the endocrine system.

  84. 84

    Oh baby I feel your pain. Severely myopic all my life, in 1981 I was among the first to get Radial Keratonomy corrective surgery — still experimental back then, insurance wouldn’t even pay for it. $750 an eye. It was a fucking miracle, to be able to go without glasses !!! Over the decades a far less severe shade of myopia returned: I didn’t really need the glasses for daily living but it made things a tad bit sharper at, say, a hockey game or watching a film with subtitles. But over time it was just easier to wear them all the time and I got used to them.

    But then presbyopia struck. I, too, got the progressive lenses. People, it took me about three months to get used to them. I felt dizzy and nauseous. I had trouble on stairs and reading street signs while driving. I went to two different doctors to make sure the prescription was correct. Just about the time I got used to them, I needed a new prescription.

    Getting old sucks, my Youngs. But to be fair, failing eyesight will be the least of your worries. You Youngs, you folks in your 20s: take care of yourselves. I mean it. The better you care for yourselves now, the better off you’ll be when you’re an Olds. And you’re going to be an Olds for a lot more time than you’re a Young.

  85. 85

    @thundermonkey: I is a girl kitteh!
    @rdldot: My contact lens brand is some tiny company not one of the big ones that advertize on TV. I used to use Pro-Clear before, but my current ones are even better.

  86. 86

    @cathyx: I love Jazzercize, used to do it 3 to 4 times a week when I lived in MD.

  87. 87
    SFAW says:

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    Although working out with 5 to 10 pound dumbbells is not a bad idea

    Wingnuts tend to weigh more than that. And why would anyone want to work out with them?

    “It’s Obama’s fault that I can’t bench-press 250 pounds.”
    “The gym running out of hot towels is Obama’s Katrina.”
    “My right to lift weights is compromised because someone is fraudulently claiming they can lift more!”
    “Do you ever watch gladiator movies?”

    and of course, the all-purpose “Benghaaziiiii!”

  88. 88
    TooManyJens says:

    @The Moar You Know:

    I had LASIK but hilariously enough it turns out that your eyes KEEP FUCKING CHANGING so now the awesome distance vision requires glasses at night.

    Yeah, this pisses me off. I had laser surgery in 2005 and now wear glasses almost all the time again (except now I’m 40 and have to take them off to see anything really close). But the good news is that I can see well enough to go running without glasses, which I appreciate. And I’m at least functional around the house if I do go without them — before surgery, my vision was about 20/800 in one eye and 20/1000 in the other. Now I’m not sure what it is, but my correction is basically the same as my 6-year-old daughter’s, so I don’t think it can be too bad.

  89. 89
    Suzanne says:

    I have worn bifocals since I was four.

    My last pair of glasses was $850.

    Cry me a river.

  90. 90
    SFAW says:

    @Southern Beale:

    Severely myopic all my life,

    Me too!

    No, wait, it’s not “myopic,” what’s the word … hmm, … oh, yeah: “misanthropic.”

  91. 91
    Anna in PDX says:

    Just turned 45 this year, also had to start using a CPAP machine for sleep apnea, am having trouble getting exercise because my feet hurt (plantar fasciitis, I believe, but not diagnosed yet), I just had my annual contact lens appt and they said that for the first time I am starting to get what Mistermix is complaining about so now I have reading glasses I am not adjusting to, and my hearing has been getting so bad for the past few years that I finally maxed out my “health savings plan” at work so that I could afford the $2,000 for hearing aids from Costco (thank God for Costco by the way because anywhere else they would cost more like $5,000). Am tired of expensive health surprises and it seems like my body is like a car that gets to a certain age and the warranty expires and then everything goes haywire. However I realize that by and large I am still in good health and all these issues are incredibly common. But this was supposed to be a grousing thread so I figured it was safe to do a little bitching.

  92. 92
    Anna in PDX says:

    @Anna in PDX: Also wanted to complain that insurance did not cover hearing aids AT ALL. Why is hearing not covered? There is an insurance copay like Mistermix’s for optical stuff. Is one sense more important than the other?

  93. 93
    Dave says:

    Yeah, me too. I do have one advantage in that I wear gas permeable contacts most of the day and I have been able to adapt to mono-vision, using my standard prescription in my dominant eye and a contact for near vision in the non-dominant eye. It’s gonna be nasty if I get to the point I can’t wear contact lenses.

  94. 94
    Jewish Steel says:

    “If any of these recording comes out well, I have an idea for a video! We can all be getting haircuts, but in the woods! And then…” All eyes swivel towards me. “Oh, well. Maybe Jewish Steel can be getting shave?”

    O folicles! Why hast thou forsaken me?

  95. 95
    The Dangerman says:

    Wow, this rocketed from no replies (figured I’d get a cuppa Joe before typing anything) to nearly a hundred it no time at all; are we all just a bunch of Old(er) Farts that like watching football (Go Bruins!)?

  96. 96
    someofparts says:

    People are making me feel lucky. Have glasses for driving. Drugstore magnifying glasses for reading. Optometrist says I won’t need cataracts removed for a few years yet. Turned 64 last month.

    Eyes are okay. Just seems the disposition is the thing in decline. Becoming a cranky old so-and-so.

    My big issue is not being able to tune out background noise anymore. Hard to be a bookworm in a world where everybody talks all the time, everywhere, thanks to our new techno wonder gadgets. No more quiet elevators, cafes, sidewalks.

  97. 97
    RosiesDad says:

    I take my bifocals off when I need to do really close work; both my optometrist and optician say this is “normal;” the sweet spot of my uncorrected vision is infinitely superior to trying to hold my face and eyes at the correct angle for working on something 2-3 feet from my face. (This commonly happens when trying to remove sutures or look at small lesions in my patients.)

    Fuck is right but it is what it is. And it still beats the alternative.

  98. 98
    Botsplainer says:

    my 8 or so diopter correction

    Shit. I’ll never bitch about my eyes again.

    One important tip for anybody here who dives or wants to snorkel and actually enjoy the sport – I’ve found a great online supplier of prescription dive masks.

    It made all the difference in the world for playing underwater. The dude at the company is a little squirrelly, but did the work quickly and priced reasonably (about $200.00 per mask, depending on features). Selections include color filters for underwater light conditions and a bifocal feature with 2.0X magnification so I can read the numbers on my dive computer (which was a challenge with my older corrective mask).

  99. 99
    Anna in PDX says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: Yes, both my sons have that transition lenses thing, and they generally love it, but complain about how it does not work in the car. They are both super photosensitive. My dear SO has major photosensitivity, he is on a bunch of heart meds and some of them apparently cause it, so he has to wear sunglasses a lot and I am afraid to get in the car with him if he has misplaced them and it is sunny. fortunately we live in a place that has a lot of cloud cover a lot of the time.

  100. 100
    patrick II says:


    I just spent $5 on five new pair of reading glasses at the dollar store yesterday. They work just fine. And thanks for the new word “Presbyopia” mistermix. As always, I leave here enlightened.

  101. 101
    R-Jud says:


    This whole thread can be characterized in three words….get off my lawn!

    You won’t find the lawn so funny when you can’t see it anymore, junior.

    He’s already forgotten how to count to three.

  102. 102
    JohnK says:

    I picked a vision insurance plan that covers almost the entire bill for everything every year so I don’t worry so much about $500 lenses. What the vision provider charged the insurance company versus what they would have charged me personally without the insurance was eye opening. Just wait until your teeth wear out and you need to get dental implants. Wish dentists were as financially easy as vision providers.

  103. 103
    artem1s says:

    I won’t use bi-focals. I have two scripts. one for far vision, one for computer distance. Reading/laptop distance I need no script at 50+ and just read under my glasses or take them off, as I have been doing for 45+ years.

    I hate not having any peripheral vision; think its dangerous for walking, sailing, climbing stairs, etc…., and simply not acceptable.

    It’s far easier to change out my glasses for work and driving than trying to peer thru a pinpoint. less headaches too. Forcing my eyes to adjust between scripts also keeps my lenses more flexible. I credit 20 years in the jewelry industry, shifting between tiny viewing to normal and back again, for my continued excellent reading distance sight. When I retired from that profession, I could tell my lens ability to adjust quickly got rusty fast. Yet I have retained the ability to read even small script at reading distance.

    also, no bi-focal means less expense; less turn around time on getting scripts. I have been able to build up a collection of script for different uses, including sunglasses for far/sport use.

    the hardest part was finding an eye doctor who understood I was doing and didn’t insist on pushing bifocals on me and who would test me for difference distances. That was a challenge.

    eventually I will probably opt for laser correction for distance in one eye at least, maybe both and then keep the lenses for computer and reading.

    But bifocals suck. I won’t go there.

  104. 104
    SFAW says:

    @The Dangerman:

    are we all just a bunch of Old(er) Farts

    Not “all,” until efgoldman weighs in.

    (I say that with the greatest respect, of course. Let’s just hope I wrote it :LOUD ENOUGH FOR HIM TO HEAR.)

  105. 105

    I turn 60 in a few months. My attitude is, I’ll get old when my body absolutely insists on it, and not a moment earlier. So far, it’s working out quite well.

  106. 106
    Poopyman says:

    Small comfort for you mistermix, but my 2.5 diopter astigmatic, 59 yo eyes have the same problems and my glasses cost just as much. Did you also get the $500 designer frames that are guaranteed not to fit new lenses two years from now?

    I shall now go back and read the earlier comments that I no doubt have blindly duplicated.

  107. 107
    geg6 says:

    Thankfully, I am the only sibling among my parents’ progeny who does not have bifocals. I’m just plain old near sighted. I’d probably just go blind if I had to use bifocals. I still have to wear regular glasses, though, because my optometrist will not prescribe them for me due to an old cornea injury. The opthamologist and optometrist both say the scars could easily open back up and cause infection and I’d lose an eye.

    But getting old truly does suck. My knees and hands are riddled with arthritis. As I mentioned in a prior thread, I have developed high cholesterol (very high good, slightly high bad and triglycerides) despite being crazy healthy in my other biometrics. I can’t sleep much any more and I certainly can’t nap (which I’ve never been able to do, but then, I needed to either).

    The good news is that now that the hot flashes are gone, I’m absolutely thrilled with no longer being fertile.

  108. 108
    Botsplainer says:


    I struggled for a long time with bifocals, and finally gave up because as a near-sighted person, I can read most things without them.

    If I hold printed material about six inches away and two inches above the plane of the horizon, I can read it without glasses, and sometimes find it less fatiguing.

  109. 109
    AnneW says:

    Let me second the suggestion for a dedicated pair of computer glasses. I’ve got a pair with the lenses set just for that distance. Sweet!

  110. 110
    sparrow says:

    @The Gray Adder: They are much, much better. The only downside is that they don’t work in the car (because if they were, they’d also work inside on a sunny day, and that’s too sensitive). But I really don’t notice the transitions and they clear up 100% inside in a few minutes.

  111. 111
    Shakezula says:

    I’m almost 45 and I don’t get the reading glasses (bifocal) thing. I can’t see through them and in low light situations I can see better without them.

    Yes, my vision is unbelievably thrashed (without an assist from advancing age), but glasses shouldn’t make things worse.

    But I don’t feel ready to start bitching about aging yet. For one thing, any second that takes me away from adolescence is a good second. For another, I was very sickly until my 20’s so not only do I feel healthier, I no longer worry about my health so much.

    And I cheated a bit by quitting cigs last year. Now I no longer hack like I’m about to toss a lung and I can do things like climb stairs, run and take ballet lessons without fear my heart will wave a little white flag and stop.

    I suppose I could here drop some words of wisdom to the Youngs about never smoking, but I didn’t listen, why would they?

  112. 112
    raven says:

    @Shakezula: You are the fucking Youngs.

  113. 113
    Laura says:

    Be of good cheer. You’ll keep aging and get cataracts, and then when you get new lenses, you’ll see so much better.

  114. 114
    srv says:

    Wa, wah, wa wah wa wah, wa

    Learn to fucking type without looking at the keys.

    See, I even tried to mistype there and something autocorrected me.

    Try flying an airplane with bifocals.

  115. 115
    geg6 says:


    I have that same problem. Very severe night blindness. And if its raining or snowing? Fugeddaboudit!

  116. 116
    Soprano2 says:

    I got what my optometrist called “computer glasses” for computer work, they made my life way easier. I highly recommend them for anyone who works on computers a lot. The top part of the glass has the “sweet spot” for computer work only it’s a lot bigger, the bottom part has the reading prescription and there is no distance vision. The hardest thing is for me to remember to change my glasses before I leave work, several times I’ve had to come back to get my regular glasses. I did that because I was tired of the headaches from trying to use my regular glasses for computer work.

  117. 117
    Peej says:

    @different-church-lady: hey, I’m 58 and have been blind as a bat since I was 10. I hate the fact that I now seem to have to wear my reading glasses to see anything nowadays (when I’m wearing my contacts).

  118. 118
    Botsplainer says:


    I have that same problem. Very severe night blindness. And if its raining or snowing? Fugeddaboudit!

    No problem with night other than my normal tendency to shut down at 10:30 and go to sleep. No trouble with rain either.

    My big problem these days is long drives on blazing sunny days – that gets to hurting, and I have to rest the eyes for about a half hour for every two on the road.

  119. 119
    Cassidy says:

    @raven: You’re just mad that we only have to walk briskly past you guys to get away from zombies.

  120. 120
    greennotGreen says:

    A year ago next week I was diagnosed with stage 3 ovarian cancer. After successful major surgery and extremely unpleasant, near lethal chemotherapy, I am in remission at 63. From my perspective, getting older ROCKS!

  121. 121
    Dr. Omed says:

    Does anyone but us olds remember Jackson Browne, and what a good lyricist he is?

  122. 122
    raven says:

    @Cassidy: Tell Her No!

  123. 123
    SFAW says:


    Congratulations! Here’s to getting older!

  124. 124
    nastybrutishntall says:

    39 is the year of floaters, nights of constant waking, and tinnitus. all at the same time. but the block and tackle operate fine and I can run longer distances than ever. and my wife thinks I’m better looking. so give it ten more years for everything to be evenly shitty, I figure. then I’ll reaaaallly start complaining.

  125. 125
    Jay C says:

    At least those vision issues involving sight and lenses are things that CAN be fixed – even if awkwardly/expensively/annoyingly – last year my own main vision problem surfaced in the form of a “floater”: one of those spontaneous little tears in the (?retina?) that gives you a “floating” black spot: which, after a few weeks fades away into a floating gray spot, which, the eye doctors tell me, is (barring a complete transplant), going to be permanent.

    At least mine is kind of off to one side of my left eye: my wife (who, just to makes things more fun, had both lenses replaced due to cataracts a few years back) had a floater pop up last week – dead in the line-of-sight of her left eye. A bummer when the best advice you can offer is “wait for it to fade“…..

  126. 126
    raven says:

    @greennotGreen: So glad to hear that. I have a 40 something colleague who had the double mastectomy two months ago and she is now 2/3 of the way through chemo. She’s trying to work and finish an insane two-year “executive” PhD program but has delayed her dissertation. We’re really hoping for the best for her.

  127. 127
    The Moar You Know says:

    Does anyone but us olds remember Jackson Browne, and what a good lyricist he is?

    @Dr. Omed: Throws a hell of a punch according to his ex-wife. I remember that.

  128. 128
    raven says:

    @The Moar You Know: And he was a prince compared to his buddy Zevon.

  129. 129

    @chopper: Watch that super vision though – reading w/o magnification can kill it. As a yoot, I had 20/10 R and 20/8 L, but managed to read my way to myopic. Finally learned that distance correction needs reading glasses. Used a reading correction (over the contacts) of invisible bifocals, plain glass on top, for court so I could read the paperwork and still see across the room. Now I’m an old too, slightly beyond mistermix.

  130. 130
    greennotGreen says:

    @SFAW: Thanks for the congrats, but that wasn’t the point of my post. Stop and think a moment about what you’ve got, people, and quit whining! I’m happy just to be alive! And in my twenties, I worked with blind, multiply-handicapped children, and I haven’t complained about my eyesight since. I want to turn this thread around. What are the things you’re thankful for, now that you’re older?

  131. 131
    GHayduke (formerly lojasmo) says:

    I was diagnosed with presbyopia at the tender age of five.

    No bifocals for me!

  132. 132
    Mnemosyne says:


    Aerobic exercise is good for your cardiovascular system, but it doesn’t build muscle mass, so you need to take steps to do that and counteract the natural aging process of losing muscle. This is a really well-known and well-studied phenomenon, so you can easily research it if you don’t believe me. If you like Jazzercise, you would probably like Pilates.

    @schrodinger’s cat:

    I found this book recently that says that using weights with resistance bands (as in, holding the weight and the band in the same hand) can build muscle much faster than using one or the other alone. As with most exercise books, the title is dumb, but the science seems pretty sound.

  133. 133

    @Peej: Still, a very interesting anthropological study of many frequent commenters. This one is definitely a keeper just for the links to inexpensive glasses.

    @greennotGreen: That’s pretty awesome, I hope it stays that way!

  134. 134
    rikyrah says:

    I’ve had bifocals since I was young.

    I understand the pain

  135. 135
    Shakezula says:

    @raven: Not in my office.

  136. 136
  137. 137

    @raven: Ain’t that the truth? I’ll Sleep When I’m Dead was horrifying reading. Though it’s not as well know that Jackson is a dick. And of course I think TVZ was far the better songwriter (duh).

    But I’m approaching old, so what do I know.

  138. 138
    Mnemosyne says:


    As I said above, I’m highly amused that my vision is actually improving as I get older. It’s a weird but not unwelcome side effect of the aging-related changes to my eyes. I’m not sure I have many other physical things I’m happy about (though I’m getting ready to start my weight training as listed above, which will probably may be a little happier).

  139. 139
  140. 140
    raven says:

    @a hip hop artist from Idaho (fka Bella Q): Jezz wasn’t it. Her and I are the same age, Chicago roots and I can only say I’m sooo glad I quit drinking!

  141. 141
    bemused says:


    Yes, eye doc told me I had the start of cataracts at last year’s appt. I’ll find out what’s changed at next week’s appt.

    I had lasik surgery years & years ago and it was amazing to wake up the next morning, open up my eyes to no squinting at the clock. Contact lenses had gotten to be a real pain at work in front of a computer. I just couldn’t wear them as long anymore. After lasik, it wasn’t a bad tradeoff to just get cheap reading glasses.

  142. 142
    Svensker says:

    My poor old-man axons and dendrites are sparking and smoking as they try, in vain, to burn new pathways around the billions of alcohol-destroyed neurons rolling around uselessly in my cabeza

    This made me laugh.

    @Anna in PDX: For plantar, get comfortable shoes and slippers! It really really works. I discovered that my cute little flat slippers that I wear at home (get off my carpet!) were causing the pain. Soon as I switched to some cushioned flats, the problem went away — but it comes back if I try to wear fashionable shoes. Welcome to the world of Hushpuppies and Rockports! With velcro for extra Olds style!

  143. 143
    Short Bus Bully says:

    Fucking awesome post is fucking awesome.

  144. 144
    bemused says:


    Terrifying. Not so bad on country roads with very little traffic and oncoming headlights but otherwise, I have no business driving so I don’t.

  145. 145
    TooManyJens says:

    @Anna in PDX: I had plantar fasciitis last year, and two things did wonders: buying shoes with more arch support for everyday, and these for my running shoes. I was pain-free inside of a month.

    Unlike Svensker, I didn’t need to change my slippers, but YMMV. My mother-in-law wears Birks in her house at virtually all times because of her PF.

  146. 146
    diana says:

    @joes527: Hmmm. Nearsighted since birth, so far glasses and contacts are good enough for me. But, yes, the first thing I do when I wake up is reach for the glasses — so much so that my cat, to get me out of bed to feed him, bats my glasses off my bedside table because he knows they have to be picked up before he gets fed.

    Of course this does not actually speed up feeding him because as a result every morning I have to grope for them on the floor. He’s always been a pretty dumb cat.

  147. 147
    Lavocat says:

    You’re not old until you have trifocals. And then you die.

  148. 148
    Jamey says:

    What are you complaining about MisterMix, at least now you can see those kids on your lawn …

  149. 149
    third of two says:

    Yep, same eyeball issues here plus some bonus astigmatism. Fun city.

    Upon receipt of our upgrades we’ll breathe a collective sigh of relief.

  150. 150
    taylormattd says:

    42 here. Haven’t gone to bifocals yet, but my trick knee can feel them coming. You know bifocals are on the horizon when you are nearsighted, but have to take off your glasses to use the computer or read.

  151. 151
    RobNYNY1957 says:

    I’ve dodged the hereditary cataracts in my family. My grandmother and great grandmother were both blind from them from middle age, and my father and brother both had the surgery in their early 40’s. They all worked outside (farmers and construction worker), which doesn’t apply to me.

    I have worn glasses since first grade (I didn’t know that you could see birds in flight), and my distance vision has been improving in recent years at the expense of my close vision.

  152. 152
    HeartlandLiberal says:

    I have worn trifocal lenses with invisible boundaries between the three sections for nearly 15 years. It took my brain a week or two to adjust to them when I first put them on. I love them. I can read, look up and see someone come in the door, or raise my eyes to the mountain tops and heavens and enjoy the beauty of creation.

    I never complain about how technology has both enriched and two times in youth flat out saved my life, and allowed me to live this long.

  153. 153
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Anna in PDX:

    In addition to what other people have said, massaging my foot with a tennis ball really helped — it stretches and relaxes the tendon that’s getting stiff with age. I just sit on the couch while watching TV or surfing the internet and roll my foot over it, and it helps a lot.

    Also, yes, I can only wear (low) heels on special occasions, and even then they need to have a lot of cushioning (Naturalizer, Sofft, etc.) but I haven’t been able to wear them since I tore my ACL anyway, so I don’t really miss them.

  154. 154
    Older says:

    @Jane2: Problem solved, except when you can’t find one or more pairs of your glasses.

    That’s why when I had lens replacements, I opted to be forever near-sighted. I spent many years watching my far-sighted friends look for their glasses. Some of them had as many as 5 pairs for different distances. I only have one, forever, hurrah!

  155. 155
    Aaron says:

    Zenni Optical. -Order your glasses online.
    I am late 40’s also, with astigmatism, nearsighted in one eye, farsighted in another. I am on my third set of zenni glasses- I get a new set or two each year. I don’t have optical insurance. With fancy half frames, progressive lenses, and generic photochromatic (gets darker when its bright out- I love this), the higher refraction lenses it was still under $100. !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Downsides: it takes a month to receive them.
    cannot try on the frames though they have an online picture tool.
    must do my own adjustments.
    must know my PD (pupilary distance- distance between pupil centers in mm)
    its made in hong kong or something so its not buy america.
    also the first time I ordered they sent me back an email: ‘are you sure your eyes are this messed up?’, I didnt see it in my email inbox and that delayed it a week.
    dont get the rimless glasses, first time I did they had way to much flex. get a solid or half frame.
    Regular glasses can easily be less then 50$

  156. 156

    Back in 2001 my twenty-year marriage ended, I was sleeping on the floor in my office. In the week I got served my divorce papers the Twin Towers fell. An altogether shitty time.

    In my forties I had suffered some macular degeneration (from stress). That good-looking guy I had been was sagging and falling apart. The gorgeous women on the street who used to smile at me now looked back in scorn, as if I were a lecher or worse, some pathetic old man. My days of being a worthy mating candidate were over.

    But after awhile I found that I’d survived. My girlfriends (serially, not simultaneously) love me and are kind to me and I’ve reached retirement and my life is wonderful. Life is good, maybe better. Buck up.

  157. 157
    Ruckus says:

    Best thing I ever did. Laser surgery at about 45. Wore glasses, had to insist that mom get them for me at 12(threatened not to attend school, and meant it) so that I could actually see shit. Hated glasses, hated hard contacts, didn’t particularly like soft contacts, disposables were not the worst thing in the world. IOW went through all of these. Laser surgery. If you can’t afford it, sell a kidney. If you don’t qualify, my heart felt condolences. Yes I need reading glasses but 20 years later far vision is great. Have had Dr look at my eyes under microscope and been told that if I hadn’t told them I had laser surgery they couldn’t tell.

  158. 158
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Bob In Portland:

    I’m not always a fan of Louis CK, but he had a really great episode of his sitcom (Louie) where he goes to Afghanistan for some USO shows and comes to the slow, horrifying realization that the 20-ish cheerleader he’s trying to flirt with sees him as a father figure (and not in a George Michael kind of way — she treats him as a substitute dad).

    Gorgeous women will probably start flirting with you again when you get to the point where you seem non-threatening. Try to just enjoy it and not worry about the fact that they’re doing it because they assume you can’t do anything to follow up on the flirtation. :-)

  159. 159
    americanitis says:

    “My poor old-man axons and dendrites are sparking and smoking as they try, in vain, to burn new pathways around the billions of alcohol-destroyed neurons rolling around uselessly in my cabeza.”

    This was awesome. Thanks for the LOL!!!

  160. 160
    Ruckus says:

    On the old front, my boss has a cartoon in his office that I’m sure I’ll only capture the gist of…

    “God put me on this earth to do a certain number of tasks but I’m so far behind I’ll never get to die”

  161. 161
    ed says:

    I’ll be 50 next June. Old school bifocals for the last few years with no prescription on the bottom half so I can read my phone. Hated progressive and not not vain enough to deal with it.

  162. 162
    Kay S says:

    When are you having the arthritis, constipation and loss of memory threads?

  163. 163

    @Mnemosyne: I saw the episode, and they have. My bad eyes are still good enough to monitor the passing parade. But I keep flirtations to the minimum so as not to upset my current squeeze. I haven’t lost touch with reality yet.

  164. 164
    tybee says:


    my favorite is: “No one is ever old enough to know better.”

  165. 165
    Ron says:

    I got laser surgery on my eyes at 56 when I started to need bi-focal lenses since by that time my normal coke bottle bottom glasses were not working. Its been 12 years and I must say that I love it. Perhaps that is the way to go. Especially since around here the surgery costs about the same as your glasses and lasts.

  166. 166
    Reformed Panty Sniffer says:

    Lenscrafters routinely rips people off with charges for every possible thing when making your glasses (scratch proof coatings, thin lenses, etc.). A lot of their allure is just marketing gimmicks.

    Given that they are mostly in the mall and hire people who know nothing about glasses/fitting and are just there for the commission, I would avoid them. My last visit to LC ended when the guy (Mr. Ponytail) wanted to charge me $1600 bucks for new glasses (I have astigmatism and wear bifocals/progressives). Even with the special discounts he gave me, the bill would have been close to $1200. I said “no way” and walked out as he was yelling behind me “you’ll be sorry, we have the best prices, yadda yadda.”

    I went to my opthalmologist and got the same frame and lenses for less than $800. So buyer beware on LC unless you really have a light prescription.

    I’ve been wearing glasses for almost 40 years and LC is about the worst retail experience one can have with getting the proepr glasses/fairly priced. Of course, its competitors could be just as bad. With my prescription I can’t really buy them over the Internet. My only option is to pay through the nose or just have glasses for distance with a magnifying glass backup. Maybe a monocle.

  167. 167
    pat says:

    This is why I have the old-fashioned lined trifocals. Big ones. No searching for a tiny “sweet spot.”

  168. 168
    Anna in PDX says:

    Thanks everyone for the advice on plantar fasciitis. I have been trying to wear comfortable shoes but still wear the cheap ballet style slippers at home, that probably does not help, also I am too cheap to buy new comfortable shoes every six months (they don’t come cheap to begin with and I still feel awful paying $400 for a couple pairs of shoes and inserts, doing it every six months makes me just cringe) and they seem to stop working at about that fast a rate. I have an appointment with a doctor to discuss this and hope I can at least get my insurance to help me with the costs if this is what I really have to do. But I am very glad to have it crowdsourced as well, and am glad Mistermix put up a specific “aging related health whinging” thread!

  169. 169
    smedley the uncertain says:

    Great thread and comforting that I’m not alone. I just started my fourth quarter (already planning for overtime) and all things considered doing ok. At thirteen they crushed my dreams of a career as a Naval pilot by slapping glasses on my nose. Last year was the first year I did not wear glasses routinely. I was near sighted in one eye and farsighted in the other; optometrists were surprised I didn’t develop lazy eye. Anyhoo, last year the left(nearsighted) eye required cataract removal. Insurance would only pay for one vision strength…near, medium or far. I opted for far and so need no corrective lenses except to read/compute. I chose this option because I sail and far vision is critical. Ophthalmologist recommended this and told me about dollar store cheaters. Works great. Multiple glasses about the house, car and boat. AND!!! Walmart has bifocal sun glasses for for $8.00 so I can have my far sight and read the instruments/charts on the boat all with one pair. Only down side so far is my near vision with cheaters suffers in low light situations. Oh, and after the surgery I can see BLUE!

  170. 170
    Mjaum says:

    Glasses at four. Retinal detachment at eighteen, surgery involved knives and liquid nitrogen. Same thing on the other eye at twenty. Ten years later they had to go in and remove the scaffolding they put in to keep the retina from falling out, because the bloody scaffolding had started swelling up. I didn’t know it could do that. Neither did they.

    Have had laser surgery on the eyes as well. You’d think a laser would just hit the retinal cells it was aimed at, burning them out so you’d not actually see the light. Heh. *SWARP!* All I see is greenness…

    Luckily I’m in Norway, so I’m not broke due to medical bills. :) And I can still see, which is nice. -10 diopters, though. And at 38, I guess things are likely to get worse shortly.

  171. 171
    Mnemosyne says:


    And at 38, I guess things are likely to get worse shortly.

    Don’t despair yet — I just turned 44 and, as I said above, my myopia is improving very slightly every year. Apparently the age-related changes that make other people farsighted as they age are making my eyes less nearsighted (I think I’m at -7.75 when I used to be -8). Weird, but I’ll take it.

  172. 172
    fuckwit says:

    I started falling apart physically a few years ago. Mid 40s it was for me. Everything broke at once. Couldn’t see, couldn’t hear, couldn’t remember, couldn’t think. No energy. Aches and pains. Hair loss.

    It was terrifying. It still is at times. The idea of growing old does not scare me. The idea of being disabled puts me into a panic. Memory loss, vision loss, and the inablilty to work hard anymore, inability to really see anything well, has shaken me in significant ways. I feel like I’m in a long slow slide to death.

    I’m told that exercise is a huge help. It’s a signal to your body that you have things to do and need to stay healthy. Supposedly it improves vision (circulation, there are lots of tiny tiny blood vessels in the eye), memory, and energy. But I sit at a computer for a living and when not working I’m a lazy ass who sits at a computer for recreation too. And the biggest problem is: low energy means I haven’t energy to do what I even need to, so finding extra time and energy to exercise is impossible, kind fo a vicious cycle.

  173. 173
    satby says:

    I actually used to be an optician for Lenscrafters; and if the progressives are made correctly most people can adapt well; the problem is a whole lot of places don’t make them well. BUT, even though my last progressives were fine in all zones, I ended up getting reading glasses and just putting them over my perscription ones and now have dedicated single vision computer glasses just for work (also IT, 9+ hours a day on the laptop for work). It’s just easier, and the good thing about presbyopia for me is that my base myopic perscription backed down from around mixie’s strength to 1/2 less. But then I’ve been presbyopic for more than 10 years.
    I was looking forward to developing cataracts because of the implantable lenses because I too hope to see perfectly without glasses before I die, but the eye doc says I don’t really even have them starting yet. Damn those antioxident superfoods!

  174. 174
    Robert says:

    This isn’t a young or old thing. It takes weeks for me to get new glasses and I’m 27. My left eye went past -4.0 last year and I’m in that “screw you, you’re blind anyway” category of eyeglass sales. I’ve had theater companies that want me to wear theatrical contacts or different prescription glasses that wearing nowhere near the correct prescription can’t hurt that bad when they won’t pay for “screw you, you’re blind anyway” prescription levels. It does.

  175. 175
    ilsalund41 says:

    This is my 49th birthday. My 71 yr old husband has had an attack of gout, so we won’t be doing anything to celebrate. I have needed glasses since the age of 7. My eyes began rejecting contacts, first the left eye at 19 and the right eye at 35 yrs old, so I have been stuck wearing glasses exclusively for years. I hate them. My vision is way beyond -4.0, so my glasses always cost the earth to replace and I’ve never looked or felt good with them on my face. I want lasik surgery with all my heart, but I have no insurance. Waaaah! Look, I have no right to bellyache. Too many people are way worse off than I am. But, dammit, it’s my birthday!!!

  176. 176
    What Have the Romans Ever Done for Us? says:

    I still don’t need corrective lenses at 44. But my feet and wrists give me problems. No one escapes the march of time unscathed.

  177. 177
    Ruckus says:

    If we are going to have an old age bitch session, I can play but really having worked in what lots of people would call an extreme sports field for decades I know people who are not even that old who have tremendous problems that will only get worse as they sail past 35-40, which of course is not that old. And a number of friends who will never get to find out how even middle age feels because they died.
    I thank anyone who might listen that I’ve made it into my sixties in basically one piece, even if some of those pieces don’t work so well any more. I’m healthier than many and have had a fun life overall so I’m going to continue to smile each day and realize that the aches and pains are just a sign of experience, not of karma or bad luck or some idiot in robes fucking with me.

  178. 178
    BruceJ says:

    @Jane2: “Get a pair of cheap reading glasses from the drugstore”. If you can use those, you have no fucking clue what mistermix is going through. Though 8 dipters feh, I got 9!. PLUS astigmatism like one eye is off looking at the wall) I like to joke that “My next prescription is a dog”; nothing in the drugstore even comes close to doing anything for me.

    That said Costco’s glasses are working pretty well for me, I even have more of a 1mm sweet spot :-) 2, maybe even 3!

    Of course that means my ankles also hurt and somehow I managed a rotator cuff injury without a ‘promising career in the minors’. Can’t even throw a tennis ball for the dog I need to see with…

  179. 179
    2liberal says:

    after all the hoopla i was expecting colonoscopy pictures.

  180. 180
    Original Lee says:

    @Jockey Full of Malbec: Exactly. That’s why FitOvers were invented.

    I got progressives 2 years ago and quickly added a pair of computer glasses, plus FitOvers. I need to go in again before the end of the year, so I hope I’ll have enough in my flexible spending account to cover the exam, the new $700 lenses, the new computer glasses, and (I hope) the new sport glasses for karate. (None of my existing glasses work for karate class. I keep my old glasses for seeing what the instructor is doing and I stand in a spot near a chair so I can quickly put the glasses down when I need to do things. This sucks.)

  181. 181
    g says:

    Yeah, I have contacts – bifocal ones – and still need drugstore cheaters sometimes.

  182. 182
    Batocchio says:

    I know several people who just swap out pairs of glasses versus going the bifocal route. But whatever works for you.

    I absolutely hate adjusting to new glasses, even with tricks like “put them on first thing in the morning.” My current pair took more adjusting to than any pair I can remember (but it had been a while), and I eventually figured out that part of the problem was that the pantoscopic tilit (the angle of the lens in relation to your eye) was more extreme. It was driving me nuts; the upper field of my vision strobed, especially when I turned my head. I adjusted them and things got better. But the next time I go in, I know to mention the tilt and a few other things. (Avoid manufacturer’s lens marks in obtrusive spots, extreme angles on the temple joint, and screws that go in from underneath. I mean, WTF.) Without insurance, my glasses would cost over $600; with it, they cost about $400. It’s ridiculous that vision is not part of basic health coverage and it’s ludicrous what’s considered a “vanity” option on glasses versus a necessity (high-index plastic is a necessity on a strong prescription, but not according to insurance companies). I’m sympathetic to anyone who needs glasses and can’t afford them. (Remote Area Medical does wonderful work, but they shouldn’t have to fill the gap.)

  183. 183
    Batocchio says:


    You’re right about it being a vicious cycle, and with a desk job it can be tough. I found I had more energy after exercising again, and starting small helped (walking a loop around my office building twice a day). I do more intensive stuff these days, too, but simply planning more walking into my week did make a difference in terms of energy and stamina.

  184. 184
    peachkfc says:

    Oh for God’s sake, get over yourself. I’m going to be 60 in January and I have had to pay many hundreds of dollars every year for many years for coke-bottle lenses for severe astigmatism and nearsightedness, then age-related farsightedness, plus separate computer glasses, plus prescription sunglasses. But I’d put up with that with no complaint if my glaucoma would disappear. I already have some vision loss and could go blind and oh yeah, I have early cataracts and retinal damage, too.
    That said, for decent prices on glasses, try Target Optical, I’ve been going there for a couple of years, and the prices are.great.

  185. 185
    peachkfc says:

    P.S. I love progressive lenses, I have no idea what all the bitching is about. Yes it takes a couple of days to adjust, big deal.

  186. 186
    Jack Hughes says:

    @Keith P.: I’m with you.

    I started wearing glasses in second grade — gradually working up to 20/400 coke bottle lenses. I had LASIK at age 50 and became an unofficial, uncompensated spokesman for the procedure. Totally painless with immediate perfect vision and no negative effects.

    Best money I ever spent.

  187. 187
    dww44 says:

    @Alabama Blue Dot: At about 20 years older that you are, my Mom’s droopy eyelids decided to fold under, resulting in excruciating pain from the eyelashes scraping her eyes. Since she lived in a very small and rural town, we had to drive 45 miles to an Opthamologist to have in- office after hours surgery performed on the spot to lift those lids and give her relief from that pain. Of all the things she had go wrong over the years, that was by far the worst of them all, vis-a-vis her ability to cope.

  188. 188
    donquijoterocket says:

    Your Grandmother was only partially right.Dying young will keep you from getting older ,but one can keep themselves from getting old that’s not an inevitability.I really wish they’d invent a lense material that repels dust, grease, body oils, and other stuff you have to clean off them every now and again.

  189. 189
    CanadaGoose says:

    Soon you’ll be really old and then you’ll need cataract removal. Both eyes done now and I don’t wear glasses at all. I can see better than when I was a kid.

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