I can see clearly now…

True confessions time:  I have terrible eye sight.

Now everybody says they have terrible eye sight, but I really do.  Oh, it’s definitely not as bad as it could be.  I mean, I don’t have bifocals yet (knock on wood) & my eye doctor (whom I visited just today) said my macula are immaculate.  But for some people, glasses are just helpful.  For me, they’re absolutely necessary.  

I don’t have a bedside clock, for example.  I just wear my watch to bed.  It’s big & ugly, but it has indiglo & I can bring it right up to my nose without waking up all the way. And this is handy because I’m constitutionally unable to go back to sleep unless I know what time it is.  I can’t explain it; I just know I have to know.  So I wear my watch to bed.

When we’re lying in bed at night with our books & screens, and my husband wants to show me something on the iPad or in a magazine, he can’t just tilt the screen & say, “Hey, check this out.”  He has to reach over & put it about six inches from my nose.  

Driving?  Ha.  I was at the wheel on a rainy Saturday recently & I pulled off my rain-spattered glasses so my husband could give them a quick wipe for me.  We made it about half a block before we decided that perhaps it was better for me to just look through the rain drops than have dry glasses.  Safer for everybody.    


It wasn’t but a few days after that when I was giving my glasses a quick wash.  I opened the towel & discovered them in two neat halves, the nose bridge snapped clean through the center.  I had a minor moment of panic.  The last time I’d gotten new glasses, I’d had my old pair made over into prescription sun glasses.  Which promptly broke.  Did I have a back up pair?  How old were they?  Lord knows I didn’t want to go back to contacts.  I know they work for many good people, but they always make me feel like I’m wearing a scoop of sand in each eye.  They’re definitely special occasion wear.

Happily I found an old, sturdy pair buried in a drawer.  And when I say “old,” I mean it.  I think I was dating my husband when these frames were in daily rotation.  (We’re having our 14th anniversary this summer.)  Luckily, the 80s had already taught me some important if harrowing lessons about trendy glasses by the time I bought this particular pair.  These frames were classics.  I’ve been wearing them for a month now, & have actually received a handful of compliments on them.  

But I deserve new glasses.  It had been a solid four years since my last pair, & my rule is every three to five.  So I’ve been doing some serious frames shopping, only to rediscover this tragic fact:  It’s about as hard to find good glasses as it is to find good jeans.    And finding decent jeans that flatter your body & don’t cost the earth?  It’s a certifiable miracle.  (Am I right, ladies?)  So I finally just today pulled the trigger on a new pair.  I think I like them but it’s hard to tell.  I had to take my glasses off to try them on.  I’ll have to let you know in a week to ten days. 

So how about you?  Do you panic when you blow out the knee of your favorite jeans or break you five-year-old glasses?  Or are you already in the car heading for the mall with a smile on your face & a song in your heart?  What’s the last important-to-you item you had to replace?    

Images courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net

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  • Amy Conley says:

    Is he coming here?

  • Jane says:

    Hello Susan,
    I need to replace my glasses. I need the extra thin lenses because the regular lenses are so heavy. They’re so expensive, but comfort is important, too. Luckily I’ve never broken/smashed my glasses. I switched to disposable contacts because even if there’s a tear you have another pair handy.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Jane, it’s like we’re the same person! I, too, have such an extensive prescription that regular glass lenses are prohibitively heavy. So I have to pony up for the poly-bi-carbonate-or-whatever lenses. And I always just get a box of disposable contacts so that I can wear them every once in a blue moon–say for waterskiing, or a day or rollercoastering–then throw them away at the end of the day. Bliss! Nothing feels better than throwing away a pair of contacts!

    • Caren Crane says:

      I’m with both of you on the extra-thick coke bottle lenses! I always get the expensive high-index plastic. Throw some scratch resistance and anti-glare stuff on there, and it’s pricey!

      Worst lens fail: I had scratch-resistant coating on a lens that was scratched by a baby’s fingernail. I kid you not!

  • Amy Conley says:

    I’ve lost a lot of weight recently and now none of ny clothes fit right, including my jeans. I did go try some new ones on a couple of weeks ago and found a pair of Levi’s I loved. They were even in the size I wore in hhigh school (30+ years ago), but I didn’t have anyone with me
    to tell me if they looked as good as good as they felt.

    • Susan Sey says:

      First of all, congrats on the weight loss! That is a really significant accomplishment, & I’ll bet you’re looking and feeling great!

      As for the jeans situation, man, that’s tough. As we all know, there is a world of difference between jeans that feel good & jeans that flatter us. And you can’t count on a salesperson to be objective. You definitely need a girlfriend–better yet, a sister–to go with you. Sisters are better at brutal honesty, but a girlfriend is gentler. Up to you, but one or the other is an absolute necessity when jeans shopping. Good luck!

      • Amy Conley says:

        Oh no, I never go. Clothez shopping with either of my sisters! First of all they don’t live close and secondly they have zero sense of style. My go to person is my daughter, but she was working that day. Soon though. Heck, even hubby gives better advice (for jeans at least) then my sisters. They would be wearing “mom jeans” while shopping with me. LOL

  • Susan, oh, dear, you’re speaking to someone who’s been putting off buying new glasses for far too long. It’s at the point where there’s a whole gap in my life of stuff I just can’t see. There’s the stuff I can see with my glasses and the stuff I can see without my glasses. And then the Grand Canyon between. I’ve got a book due in two weeks then it’s me and the optometrist, baby! My eyes have changed a lot in the last few years too – prior to that, they stayed fairly stable but my long vision has improved slightly and my short-sightedness seems to have become VERY short indeed.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Anna, you’re cracking me up. I hope your visit to the optometrist results in your triumphant return to the world of middle distance. There’s probably some good stuff in there you’ve been missing. 🙂

      Good luck on getting the book in! I’ll be sending creative vibes across the miles!

  • flchen1 says:

    I totally hear you, Susan (although depending on how close you’re standing, I might or might not see you 😉 ) I also have horrible vision–without my glasses, I’m not sure it’s safe for me to leave my bed, much less the house! When my little ones were little, I had to train them not to touch my glasses, which I usually put on the nightstand when I’m sleeping. DS2 actually broke the frame on a pair before he got that lesson down, and I had to frantically dig through my drawers until I found the old, back-up pair. Ugh!

    And yes, shopping for new glasses is about as easy as shopping for new jeans–that is to say, not very easy at all! Hope you love your new ones! 🙂

    • Susan Sey says:

      Fedora, I totally hear you on the training your kids about the glasses situation. Mine learned very early that if they wanted to get me out of bed to do anything for them, they would first need to locate my glasses & hand them over. Carefully, keeping their grimy little fingers off the lenses.

      It was amazing how quickly they were able to pick that one up.

  • Annie West says:

    Susan, sorry to hear about the broken glasses. I need to get some new ones too after some recent treatment but I’ve got too much on to factor in the time it will take to wait for them (I have an overseas trip coming up). So when I get back… In the meantime I’m making do.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Oh, Annie, isn’t that *frustrating*? I mean, this is the age of instant gratification! How on earth does it still take 7-10 days to get a new pair of glasses??

      That said, I hope yours are worth the wait. The best things in life usually are, & a cute pair of glasses definitely falls into that category. Enjoy your trip!

  • Helen says:


    I got new glasses last August and I totally changed to bigger frames and a maroon colour instead of the smaller wire type frames and everyone was shocked it took me a few weeks to get used to them LOL and I always make sure that the last pair I had is close at hand in case I break these I could not go without my glasses because I couldn’t read 🙂

    Have Fun

    • Susan Sey says:

      See, now, I can’t drive without my glasses, but up close? I’m good to go. Which is awesome because just reading your line about breaking your glasses & not being able to READ? I had a minor panic attack on your behalf.

      I told Mr. Sey just the other day that there were a lot of things I was prepared to give up to old age–exercise, comfortable chewing, reliable digestion–but my eyesight? Never. I would fight that one to the bitter end. They’ll put me in my grave with my To Be Read stack still clutched in my ancient hands.

  • Laine says:

    The problem is that when trying on a new pair of frames I can’t see well enough to know if I really like the look. And I don’t trust my husband’s opinion.

    • Caren Crane says:

      Amen, sister. Sending you a hanky wave! My daughters are the best people to give me honest opinions about frames. Or my sisters. None of them would steer me wrong and they are all insanely honest. My favorite thing is to put on a pair and hear and immediate, “NO!” That’s what I want. Brutal honesty!

      • Susan Sey says:

        There is NOBODY like a sister for brutal but necessary honesty. Amen, Posh. I have three of them, so sometimes get a pinch more honesty that I truly desire, but it’s never more than I need. Just more than I want.

        I’m looking forward to my daughters reaching that similar age of usefulness. Right now, they’re still in the MORE GLITTER stage of fashion sense. I’ll be patient. It’s coming….

    • Susan Sey says:

      Never trust your husband’s opinion on fashion related items, Laine. NEVER. I once attended an entire wedding (plus reception!) with my sweater on inside out. And the one person who’s supposed to fashion check me? Or at least be the most invested in my personal appearance? (That would be Mr. Sey.) He never noticed a thing. I had a big white TAG sticking out. Gah.

      • Laine says:

        One warm day I went into the loo at a shopping centre and was very embarrassed to find my mascara had run everywhere. When I challenged my husband as to why he let me walk around looking like a panda he said he hadn’t noticed.

  • Caren Crane says:

    Susan, Laine, Fedora…my people! I’l admit I have more than once stumbled, Helen-Keller-like, to the bathroom without glasses in the dark, but it isn’t safe. I can’t find my glasses without my glasses on. It’s pitiful!

    I’ve worn them since 4th grade, so I have had the world’s ugliest frames and some that I mourned. I am currently mourning my last pair. They were SO CUTE! But the optician I usually use doesn’t make glasses there, she sends them off. Wherever she uses requires a brand new pair of frames. So when they stopped making my favoruite Kenneth Cole red & black frames, I had to change it up.

    Like y’all, I cannot tell AT ALL what I look like in a pair of frames. It’s all guesswork. Which is one reason I use the optician I do. Dianne has FABULOUS taste and has yet to steer me wrong. (Like yours, Laine, my DH is NO HELP.) Except…the frames I have now, while trendy/classic and perfectly cute, are not nearly as cute as my old frames. They are olive green, though, the same color as my eyes and make them look greener. Dianne was smitten with that. I bought into her smit!

    So, while my eyes do look very green to those who pay enough attention to notice (hardly anyone), most people’s glance just bounces off them. And me. *sigh* I am dead envious of my oldest sister’s new deep purple frames. They are adorable!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Caren, I identified with each and every word of your post. I shopped far & wide for my most recent pair of frame, but ended up buying from my optometrist. They have a small but extremely well-curated selection of frames & I inevitably walk directly to the pair I fall in love with. I never allow myself to look at brands or prices while I’m selecting the finalists. There is no place for penny-pinching or brand loyalty when you are choosing something that’s going to sit ON YOUR FACE for the next 3-5 years, right?

      That said, this most recent pair I picked out? I was not in the least bit surprised to find they were Kate Spades. This’ll make my 3rd pair of KSes in a row.

      I’m such a creature of habit.

      Either that, or good ol’ Kate makes a great frame for my face.

      I’m going with door #2.

  • Anna Sugden says:

    Ah Susan, I’m beginning to learn the issues of declining sight (blasted age!) and glasses that walk by themselves! I’ve always had perfect vision, until the past couple of years when reading has become more difficult and long distance more blurry.

    Luckily Doc Cambridge is an excellent judge of frames, so I’ve got some cute pairs. The problem is I keep forgetting to take them with me, so I need multiples pairs … just in case. I also find varifocals too hard to use, so have resorted to bifocals and separate reading glasses. Of course, with all of those pairs, I’m not too fussed about perfect frames anymore and go for cheap ones that look good. It’s amazing what you can find!

    • Susan Sey says:

      Have you ever frames shopped on the internet, Anna? I’ve heard more & more people doing this, especially people who like to switch up their look a lot & need multiple pairs of glasses. I just ponied up the big bucks for my go-to, wear-them-every-day pair, but I’m thinking about buying a couple pairs of cheapie, from-the-internet pairs from the internet. Maybe sunglasses, or a colorful frame….

      Any thoughts on where to start? Or do you buy all yours in person?

      • Caren Crane says:

        Susan, I’m concerned with getting my focal point right when ordering online. They give you all sorts of ways you’re supposed to be able to measure it, but I don’t trust myself. My eyes are practically on top of each other and with my horrible vision, I could hurt myself if I get it wrong. 🙁 I’m a coward. I AM going to go to Costco next time, though. My oldest sister got 3 pairs of glasses (with progressive bifocals) for a little over $400!!

        • Susan Sey says:

          Excellent advice! I am deeply & emotionally attached to my Costco, so maybe that’s where I’ll pick up the prescription sun glasses my heart desires….

  • catslady says:

    I hold on to everything until they fall apart lol. Don’t get me started on glasses. I usually wear contacts but I can’t see close with them on so then I need reading glasses so I save the contacts for bowling. bocci, and movies lol. One thing I learned about glasses though is I will never again get the coating. I got two pair of the same glasses just in case one did break but the one pair is so foggy it’s unbelievable. Unfortunately the store went out of business where I got them so I’m stuck for a while. They were so expensive I have to save up for another pair or get something cheaper.

    • Susan Sey says:

      This totally happened to me a few years ago! I was on vacation & took a day-long bicycle tour. This was Ireland, so it was foggy & rainy & I was wiping my glasses with anything handy all day. I completely ruined the anti-reflective coating. Made the glasses all but impossible to use, especially at night. That was an expensive lesson, let me tell you!

      • catslady says:

        Because I had had a problem before, I was extremely careful and only used the special cloth I was given – didn’t matter. They went bad even sooner – I really think it was defective.

  • Shannon says:

    I know I need new frames. They recently got crushed after I dropped them. A wonderful optician took the very dead glasses and after probably 30 minutes of TLC brought them back to life. And she wouldn’t take a dime! They’re a little crooked but good enough for Sat/Sun wear.

    So I’m still putting off buying a new pair because a) they’re expensive and b) I have lost a perfectly good pair when I moved two years ago (I will find them just after I buy a new pair).

    In the past, I’ve found the sales associates to be pretty good at picking out a decent looking frame. Unfortunately, both of us have expensive tastes. I don’t find anything in the two for $120 section. No, I pick out the designer frame that goes for $400. Then there’s the thick vs. thin lens, the variation on bifocals which multiply each year–no line, progressive, etc. Just writing this has me thinking about how much longer I can do with the current incarnation.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Ugh. It does get overwhelming, doesn’t it? Pretty soon contacts start looking pretty darn good. And bless your optometrist for bringing your crushed glasses back to life! That’s amazing.

      Hopefully you’ll find something soon!

    • Caren Crane says:

      Shanon, I’m totally feeling your pain. I have had glasses resurrected as well! My current ones (which I’ve only had 5 months!) got smashed about a month ago. They are really resilient, but I had to work on the nosepieces, let me tell you. Not sure they’re quite right still. I need to go see my optician!

  • Laurie G says:

    I grew up with a brother and now a husband and son who cannot see the E on the eye chart. It’s
    very eye-opening to live with someone who relies heavily on glasses. My husband has severe astigmatism. Several years ago he wanted to get the lasix surgery but they denied him. We bought new frames and lenses last fall with the progressive trifocals and special thin plastic. The initial amount was over $800! We managed to get a small discount but now he only wants to wear them for special occasions and work. He uses his old pair for outdoors activities. Unfortunately he can barely see with the old ones. Very frustrating and embarrassing when he reads in public.
    Luckily I only need reading glasses and night driving glasses.

    • Susan Sey says:

      Wow. That is a LOT of prescription. Even mine aren’t quite that bad. I have loads of sympathy for your husband.

      And envy for you that your glasses needs are so light! Sometimes I think that if I had one wish it would be to open my eyes one morning & just SEE. No glasses, no contacts, just wake up & have the world accessible to me. Wouldn’t that be lovely?