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Little Miss 4 Eyes tells us what it is like to wear glasses as a child

Updated on February 14, 2016

Stop, Look and Listen!

Please stop and listen
Please stop and listen | Source

The day I saw red

The man stood in front of me and fitted the weirdest pair of spectacles across my eyes. He inserted a lens first into one side of the frame and then another in the opposite side. He asked me to read the letters and numbers from the chart on the wall and as I did so, he kept on changing the lenses. It was not long before he and my mother were selecting a pair of spectacles from the small range he had there for children. They tried to involve me in the choice. but it seemed to me that there was little choice. I left it to them for how does one know if something suits you if you cannot see what it look like when you are wearing it! I do recall though, that they chose a small pair of pink framed spectacles and afterwards we left that place with my Mother agreeing to come back with me the following week.

A week later we were back to see the man. I now had a name for him. I also fully und+erstood the reason for our return. I was coming back to have my first pair of spectacles fitted.

Mr. Moffatt spent a little time adjusting the ear pieces of the pink spectacles and as I watched, I saw that the little frames now contained glass. He warmed the soft plastic of the arms, bending them and molding them with his fingers. When he was finished, he fitted the glasses to my face, making sure as he did so, that the arms fitted snugly behind my ears. He straightened his back and turned to lift the large Venetian blind which hung over the window behind him. Light immediately flooded in and he indicated to me to come over and take a look outside.

Still wearing the unfamiliar Glasses I walked across to the window and stared out in wide-eyed surprise. I exclaimed out loud, Oh, I said, it is so red! I stood there a while, just looking at the large red and white sign outside. I can still see it now, just as if it were a vision firmly imprinted deep within my mind. I had never seen a color so vibrant before!

Those little pink frames

I carried the small pair of pink framed spectacles carefully to school the next day. Seated at a double desk alongside one my school mates, I shyly took the glasses from their small case. They lay on a small soft piece of yellow cloth. I put them on, just as my mother had instructed me to do so and then I found that I was been gawped at by the rest of my classmates. Perhaps it was my own embarrassment which caused them react in that way but from that day forward, they teased and taunted me for wearing those glasses. They chanted the words ‘four eyes, four eyes’ and those little pink framed glasses went straight back into their little case and they stayed there and only came out when I had no choice.

Not pink but gold glasses!

A vintage pair of spectacles
A vintage pair of spectacles | Source

Not fashion statements either!

Rather than wear them, I would ask a classmate to read what I was could not to see on the blackboard. I did not want to face the humiliation of having to wear those glasses again. I missed a lot and never did quite see those same vibrant colors again. I found it difficult to cope with my increasing poor sight. At the same time, I grew more dependent on my classmates to help me see what was written on the board. I could not find the courage to explain to them, why it was that I so needed their help. My mother would ask me whether if I was wearing my glasses at school. My sisters told tales on me and yet I still could not tell her the truth. I found it easier to try to cope by copying the work of the person sitting next to me, much easier than wear those glasses! And as I grew older, the glass was replaced by even thicker glass. My complex about wearing them grew. I could not see beyond the humiliation of having to wear those glasses! I could not see that inside I was just a normal child, just like every other child, that was, except that I had to wear those glasses. They made me feel ugly. I could see no sign of beauty in this child and had someone tried to tell me I was wrong, I would not have believed them. Spectacles were not fashion statements then as they are today. I never was able to bring myself to accept that I really did need those glasses.

Neither fashionable or practical!

Neither fashionable or practical - a child's pair of gold spectacles.
Neither fashionable or practical - a child's pair of gold spectacles. | Source

Contact Lenses

At age sixteen I left school and in six months I had saved up enough money for my first pair of contact lenses. They were my first major purchase. They were made of permeable glass and were nothing like the disposable contact lenses of today. Wearing them for me was magical, hard and not always comfortable but I would wear them as if my whole life depended on my wearing them. I felt as if a great weight had been lifted from my shoulders. The complex though not completely gone was as least partially hidden from the world and for the first time in many years I was able to see the world as others saw it. Those colors were bright again. but they were never quite as bright as that first day when I first saw red. They lifted my spirits and transformed me from an ugly Ducking to a young lady.

Blue eyes!

Once or twice over the following years, I managed to lose a lens or two, either on the floor or when one had been accidentally caught up in my clothing. On those occasions I felt so much panic, the very idea of my being forced to wear an ancient pair of thick pair of glasses in public, until the missing lens could be found or replaced was enough to send me into a flat spin. If unforeseen circumstances forced me to wear those glasses, I was instantly transported back to ‘complex mode’ and I would avoid going out until my beloved contact lenses were returned to me, where they should have been, covering both of my eyeballs. I wore those contact lenses faithfully for the next twenty-five years. I even had a pair of blue ones made once, how daring was that! My blue eyes shone even more brightly and it was lovely to receive the occasional compliment! Contact lenses helped restore not only my confidence but also my faith in humanity.

Sticky Tape

My fear of losing the lenses was tangible. The thought of having to wear a pair of glasses which were either out of date or whose arms were held together with sticky tape was palpable. I could not afford to have both an up to date pair of modern glasses as well as a pair of contact lenses made at the same time. I lived in fear of losing my lenses. I could bear the thought of having to resort back to wearing an unfashionable or damaged frame.

Choose the right Surgeon

I cannot emphasize enough that you choose the right surgeon. Although I have suffered no complications from this procedure, I do know others who have.

Dr. Michael S Kritzinger

Then the opportunity came for me to have Lasik Surgery. I waited two years for the appointment which would change my life. Dr. Michael S. Kritzinger performed the operation. Sadly he died tragically in a helicopter crash on 28th April 2000. He is said to have been one of the most experienced and skilled refractive and LASIK eye surgeons around the world who have performed this operation. His contributions included LASIK Nomogram software development. He also held U.S. patents on instruments and LASIK techniques and was the first to introduce LASIK surgery to South Africa. I was a very fortunate patient.

Lasik Surgery

The operation was performed one evening. I left the clinic that night with both of my eyes bandaged. I slept the night through and returned the following morning to have the bandages removed. A few eye drops were placed into each eye, after which I was asked to blink a few times and then, when my eyes had cleared, I looked across the room, to where I could not only see, but read every single word on the chart on the wall. It was stunned. It was so very reminiscent of the first day when I had seen red!

Spectacles, Contact Lenses and LASIK Surgery

I have survived glasses and contact lenses and also LASIK surgery. I remember laying in my bed the first night after my operation with the bedroom curtains drawn wide open and as I lay there, I could only marvel at the sight, for, without any glasses or contact lenses I could see those stars shining brightly back at me. It was a glorious sight.

The gift of sight!

More recently I underwent a cataract operation. My sight after the operation was as good if not better than after I had the Lasik surgery. Sadly, a few days later, I developed floaters in the eye but. for the most part, these have improved with time and I still do not have to wear glasses. In the future. I will need another operation for a second cataract which is slowly growing but modern eye surgery has done its best for me and it has been a real blessing. I am forever grateful to modern technology and medical science for the gift of sight.

LASIK Surgery

© 2014 Sally Gulbrandsen

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    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      klidstone1970

      It is always good to know that one is not alone when it comes to life's experiences, good or bad. Love kids, don't always love the way they treat others especially when it comes to bullying. I Am glad my story rang a bell with you even though I wish the outcome for your own eyes had been a little better. Lets hope that medicine science will find better ways of improving the eyesight of many more people in the future.

      I very much appreciate your stopping by Kim.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • klidstone1970 profile image

      இڿڰۣ-- кιмвєяℓєу 2 years ago from Niagara Region, Canada

      This really hits home, Sally. I was in grade 3 when I got my glasses and on my birthday of all days! I was so upset afterward, my dad took me home instead of dropping me back off at school. I was teased as well. Relentlessly. The summer I was going into grade 9 I got my contacts. Loved them, but when I started having children just went back to wearing glasses. I had Lasix done, but over the years it has reverted back and you guessed it...glasses. It was even retouched, but again...glasses. Two years ago I was diagnosed with a cataract in my right eye along with a "freckle" that is watched. They are not giving me much trouble now, but I'm sure they will eventually. I just wished to say thank you for your story. I'm sure it rings a bell with many of us.

      Kim

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      I loved hearing your take on wearing glasses. You were very lucky to have such a sweet kind friend, especially one who made you feel so good about yourself. I think we would all turn out very well with if we had people like that in our lives.

      Thanks for sharing your story in such a warm friendly way.

      Sally

    • Emese Fromm profile image

      EmeseRéka 2 years ago from The Desert

      This is such a great read! Thank you for sharing your story. I can relate to some of it. I needed glasses since my high school years and for the first year or two I never wore them in public, especially not in school. No one ever teased me that I remember, but my eyes were at the time my pretties feature (that I have gotten compliments for) and I didn't want to loose that. I grew up in Romania and we never even heard of contacts at the time, let alone eye surgery, so I had no choice other than wear the glasses or deal with not being able to see very well. I was very fortunate though with one of my friends, who realized that I needed and had glasses and pretty much forced me to wear them in school. He also made sure to compliment me on the way they looked on me and some of my other friends did it, too. I tried contacts once a few years ago, but couldn't deal with them. I don't mind wearing glasses now, I would never consider surgery. I admire you for that, it was so brave of you. So glad that your eyesight is good now. It makes such a difference on how we perceive the world. Thank you again for sharing your story.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      They certainly are - which is what makes life so interesting. I appreciate your stopping by to comment.

      Thank you,

      Sally

    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 2 years ago from California

      This is a wonderful story and thank you for sharing it. Our journeys are so interesting!

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      MizBejabbers

      One sees life very differently when one is young. I was such a sensitive child then. I can say that it is a relief to discover that I am a lot wiser and very comfortable with myself just as I am. I am so grateful to have ended up with better sight than I had as a child. It does sometimes seems to me, just like a small miracle.

      It was good to hear your story. Like you, I have my eyes checked regularly, as should everyone. Our eyes really are the window to our soul.

      I appreciate your taking the time to comment. Thank you for the vote up++

      Best wishes

      Sally

    • MizBejabbers profile image

      MizBejabbers 2 years ago

      Oh, Sally, those glasses didn’t make you feel ugly; the other children did. What a pity they treated you that way and that you missed out on so much because of it. This hub attracted me because I have experienced everything in the same order, except for the taunts of other children. I didn’t develop myopia until after my freshman year in college. My sight dwindled so slowly that I didn’t realize that it was going. When I got my first pair of glasses, I stood at the window of my house and marveled that I could see bricks and board siding on houses a block down the street. I was 21.

      Then as I aged, came the thick glasses. I tried the old hard plastic contact lenses in the 60s and 70s, but I was allergic to the solution. I wore them for awhile anyway, but then I had the same experience with the soft ones.

      I have to say, though, that I really enjoyed my aviator frames of the 1970s.

      I had lasik in 2003, a year later, I had lasik again because my eyesight kept deteriorating. Then I had cataracts removed from both eyes and came out of that surgery wearing glasses. I have since had to have YAG laser treatments on both eyes. After thousands of dollars, I still have to have my prescription changed every year or two. I hope you escape that. It seems like when the eyes start to go, it is a never-ending process. Voted up++

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      D.A.L

      Lovely to find you on one of my pages. I am afraid it is true. I have inherited my father's dry wit. It am afraid his humor has rubbed off without my having noticed it. I very much appreciate your very kind comment, the vote up, interesting and useful.

    • D.A.L. profile image

      Dave 2 years ago from Lancashire north west England

      Hi Sally, i am so glad I came over to see your work {about time I know}. This was a beautifully written account of your experiences. It has a unique style that holds the attention with a hint of dry humour which I thoroughly enjoyed. Well done.Voted up, useful and very interesting.

    • sallybea profile image
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      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Jo Goldsmith

      You are one special lady, you always know how to make someone feel good! Blessing to you too Jo and always!

      Sally

    • Jo_Goldsmith11 profile image

      Jo_Goldsmith11 2 years ago

      A great write up Sally! I had to wear glasses as a kid too. I still should be wearing them today. Especially when I drive. And most times I do wear them while driving. :-)

      Kids can be so cruel, and I am reminded as my memories of those childhood days and the need to wear glasses came to mind.

      Shared and up as anyone who reads this, will definitely

      "see you in a new light". :-) Blessings this Sunday and always!

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Hi Devika

      Not to worry, thank goodness times have changed and even little people grow up and they don't mind so much anymore

      Good to hear from you and hope your New Year is a terrific one.

      Sally

    • DDE profile image

      Devika Primić 2 years ago from Dubrovnik, Croatia

      Hi Sally thanks for sharing your experience here about wearing glasses. Some people are just so small minded and don't care about the feelings of others. Wearing glasses shouldn't be thought of as a bad idea. A Happy New Year to you.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Writer Fox

      How lovely to find you gracing one of my pieces of writing and how delighted I am to hear that children in your country get glasses for free. I do know that it was very difficult for my parents with six children to bring up, to provide decent health care for us.

      Actually I did not grow up in the UK so I would not like to comment on the UK culture of bullying and ridicule.

      Your comment is valued and appreciated, thank you

      Sally

    • Writer Fox profile image

      Writer Fox 2 years ago from the wadi near the little river

      I truly enjoyed reading your personal story. It's amazing that there are so many ways to correct vision problems now. I wonder what people did hundreds of years ago? How fortunate you are that lasik surgery cured your vision problems.

      I cannot imagine children being bullied for wearing glasses! How sad. (There is a lot more bullying and ridicule in the UK culture than what I am used to.) In my country, children who need glasses get them for free so wearing glasses is quite common.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      teaches12345

      It was definitely the right route for me but once again I cannot emphasize the need to choose the right surgeon for this operation.

      Glasses have become status and fashion symbols thank goodness.

    • teaches12345 profile image

      Dianna Mendez 2 years ago

      I got my first pair of glasses when I was in the seventh grade. I was finding it hard to read the blackboard and they made quite a difference in my ability to get good grades. Thanks for sharing from your experience. I have often wondered about lasik surgery, it seems it may be a good alternative for some people.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Pawpawwrites

      Good to hear that your wife had a good result with cataract surgery. As you say it really is amazing what modern surgery can do. It is good that your eyesight has improved as you have grown older, perhaps all those hours working them on a computer! They say it should a negative result rather than a good one but sometimes I think the exercise might do the eyes good:)

    • Pawpawwrites profile image

      Jim 2 years ago from Kansas

      My wife also had cataract surgery with great result. It is amazing what they can do.

      I started needing glasses to drive, when I was about 30. Strangely though, my eyesight has improved as I got older. I only need glasses to read now.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      It certainly is MsDora. I appreciate your stopping by to comment. Thanks so much for your best wishes for my future vision.

      Sally

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Isaac Weithers 2 years ago from The Caribbean

      Sally, glad you were finally relieved from the burden of glasses. All's well that ends well; you have a great appreciation for modern technology. Thanks for sharing, and all the best with your vision, going forward.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      tillsontitan

      I think we should still be aware that every operation carries it's risks and in my opinion it is just too easy these days to walk up any high street and have this surgery performed. Personally I would do my research very carefully before I went ahead with LASIK surgery. The person doing it had needs to have an exemplary track record, which is why I waited two years for the right person to be able to perform it. Our eye sight is much too precious to take risks with it.

      A friend of mine did not heed my advice and did exactly that. She went to someone because the place was convenient for her. The result was disappointing and not what she expected.

      I think as the comments continue to grow on this hub, it will get a mix of opinions expressed here.

      I just hope that I can make people aware that there are risks, these do need to weighed up very carefully first.

      I am so glad the outcome of your relatives operations was a good one.

      I very much appreciate your comments, vote up, useful, awesome and interesting.

      Thank you,

      Sally

    • tillsontitan profile image

      Mary Craig 2 years ago from New York

      What a sad but "happy ending" account of your experiences! It is certainly beautifully written with your feelings showing through.

      My mother had catact surgery and suffered terribly from a stitch left in her eye for a year! Two of my grown children had Lasik surgery and are totally thrilled with it.

      I am sure this will help others wondering whether or not to go ahead with Lasik surgery. Well done from start to finish.

      Voted up, useful, awesome, and interesting.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Jodah

      It is good to hear of your experience of wearing glasses in school. It is always nice to know that there are people out there who can relate to my own experience. Sharing these stories can be so very helpful or even 'sight saving' as with DJ's experience of steroids. Being made aware of what can happen when we are taking medication, is such a good thing.

      I very much appreciate your telling your story.

      Thank you for the vote up.

      Sally

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Faith Reaper

      Thank you for sharing your story. One really does need to make sure that you have regular eye checks, always better to be late than sorry!

      Floaters in one's eye's can be a very frustrating thing, more noticeable I think when I am outside in the sunlight.

      I hope you husband makes a good recovery from the detached retina. I can imagine what he might be going through.

      Thank you for the vote up, pin and tweet, it is much appreciated.

      Best wishes,

      Sally

    • Jodah profile image

      John Hansen 2 years ago from Queensland Australia

      Thank you Sally for sharing this. I can relate as I was the same as you in school. I was in 8th grade when I found I needed to wear glasses. I don't know if it is any difference being a boy or girl but our experiences were similar. I was too embarrassed to wear my glasses in class and struggled through high school often unable to read the board and copying notes from the person sitting next to me or finding excuses to get coser to the blackboard. My grades inexplicably worsened even though I was putting in extra work studying at home etc. Now that glasses are more fashionable and accepted I wear them all the time. My eyes have always been very sensitive so I doubt I could cope with contact lenses. Thank you also to DJ for mentioning the link to steroid inhalers and cataracts. My daughter has always had bad asthma and had to use steroid inhalers. So far she has avoided cataracts though as far as I know but it is good to be informed. Voted up.

    • Faith Reaper profile image

      Faith Reaper 2 years ago from southern USA

      Hi Dear Sally,

      Thank you for sharing of your personal experiences with the need for glasses at a young age, and I am sorry you experienced such taunts from your classmates. Times sure have changed for it seems to be "cool" as they say to wear glasses nowadays.

      I am glad you had the surgery and it has made such a difference in your life. I just wear reading glasses now, but need to make an eye appointment as I can tell my eyesight is getting worse. Just this past year, I have the floaters too and, initially, they were so frustrating to me, but now I do not even noticed they are there unless I really think about them. They eventually fall to the bottom of the eye. My husband had to have surgery for a detached retina lately, and that has been a slow process of recovery for him.

      Again, thank you for sharing.

      Having sight is a precious gift!

      Up +++ tweeting and pinning

      Blessings always

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      DJ

      There is no need to feel terrible about my being teased for wearing glasses. If it had not happened I would not have had a story to share.

      It is good that you had an Ophthalmologist with lots of experience and a knowledge of your own situation. We really do have such a lot to be thankful for.

      Your comment is appreciated as always.

      Sally

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Hi, Sally,

      I am so glad that you understood your need for contacts and then surgery. Some people do not adjust to the stigma of wearing glasses.

      Years ago, I looked down the street, and put my hand over one eye, only

      to be shocked that I could not see much of anything. When I went to the opthamologist he said, "You must be asthmatic." "Well, yes, but how do you know that?"

      "Because, you have full blown cataracts and are blind in one eye."

      I asked, "What does asthma have to do with a cataracts?"

      "Steroid inhalers are given for asthma and they cause early development

      of cataracts."

      So, I had surgery on both eyes. I can see anything far off, very good.

      Now, I have to have cheaters for anything within arms distance, as I cannot even read the time on my watch.

      I enjoyed your story but felt terrible that you were teased about glasses.

      DJ.

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      Thank you very much Billy, I especially appreciate the comment about this being well written. Thanks too for taking the time to comment, I do know how pressured you must be, that just makes me value it more.

      Sally

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 2 years ago from Olympia, WA

      I'm sorry I'm late, Sally. I had saved this to read, then got inundated with emails and almost lost this one. Anyway, I love how you added a personal touch to this account. Very interesting and well-written. Thank you for sharing your experience with us all. I've had glasses since I was five and never had a desire to try contacts. Happily, my eyes really haven't deteriorated over the years, but if they do, I'll remember what you said about Lasik surgery.

      bill

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      annart - how nice is that! I appreciate your sharing that.

      Sally

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      Yes, I'm extremely proud of my father. He was also a great photographer!

      Ann

    • sallybea profile image
      Author

      Sally Gulbrandsen 2 years ago from Norfolk

      annart,

      I am so in admiration of people who give sight to others. You must feel very proud of your father.

      There is as you say so much beauty in this world. I love nothing more than being out in nature with my macro lens and that in itself has opened up a fascinating world for me. I never imagined it could be so interesting or ao beautiful. It is easy to think that it is the wider world filled with visible things but our world is made up of so many fascinating tiny things which are not visible on the surface. It is a joy to have good eyesight now and I owe it to people just like your father. It is my hope that people will identify with this hub.

      Thank you for your comment, it is appreciated as always.

      Sally

    • annart profile image

      Ann Carr 2 years ago from SW England

      This is fascinating and such a good account of your experiences.

      My father was an ophthalmic optician. I had to wear glasses for a short while whilst still at primary school. Fortunately, no one teased me but I have a sneaky suspicion that it was because they all knew and respected my father, rather than any redeeming quality on my part!

      These days, as you say, glasses are part of fashion and we can have just about anything. I wear mine much more now, especially for reading but increasingly for distance. I find they're not particularly comfortable after an hour or two but I'm too squeamish to have anything done to my eyes like laser work. My partner has had cataract ops on both eyes and has had blurred bits left but generally is ok; after all, it's better than slowly going blind.

      I have sympathy with anyone not seeing well. We have so much beauty around us that I'd hate to not be able to see it.

      Great hub, Sally. I'm sure many will identify with this.

      Ann

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