Thursday, 13 August 2009

The Eyes Have It

They say you can tell a lot about a person by studying their eyes. Supposed to be the window to the soul, aren't they? I think there's a lot in that actually, often I've found that upon meeting someone for the first time, a quick glance into their eyes can reveal several answers to many of the questions I might have about that individual without me even having to ask. What colour are their eyes? How many eyes do they have? Are they cross-eyed? Do they wear glasses? Are they asleep? That's to name but a few. Yup, take it from me, if you know where to look and what to look for then a person's eyes can hold a veritable wealth of information about them.

What you probably couldn't tell about my eyes in particular just by looking at them, is that I have an astigmatism in the right one. Basically this means that instead of being the proper round shape like the left, my right eye is elongated at the back, sort of like a rugby ball. You can't tell from the outside because the messed up bit is all backstage in my skull, but it means I have blurred vision when viewing anything past the end of my nose pretty much. Why I am I telling you this? Aye well just cool your boots a second, alright? I'm getting to that. God, I don't know, honestly, you can't wait a minute, can you?

Anyways, I was offered two possible solutions to fix the problem. I could get a corrective contact lens which would crush the offending eyeball back into shape, or alternatively I could just plump for the tried and tested pair of glasses. Didn't really fancy either of those options frankly. The lens sounded bloody awful, like some sort of hideous, medieval torture device; although I thought I might be over reacting, so just to put my mind at rest I asked my optician if it was as uncomfortable as it sounded. He laughed, shook his head reassuringly and said, "Oh yes, yes. Quite painful, yes." Bit of an oddball my optician...still, at least he's honest. As for the specs, well, aside from them being quite old fashioned these days, they'd be a hassle too. In my experience if you're not constantly cleaning them, you're losing them or breaking them. Plus Macaulay Culkin had glasses in 'My Girl ' and look how he ended up. Exactly. Dead. Stung to death by bees. I wasn't about to make that same mistake, no sir.

Eventually I declined any treatment and soldiered on for a while, blurred eyesight and all. It was during this short time however that I'm sorry to say, I discovered what put the 'stigma' in astigmatism. I mean sure, they said nobody could tell the difference between my eyes, but I soon found this wasn't the case. People were subtle about it, but I could read the signs. I think it was the way when I was talking to someone, they would be smiling and holding eye contact most of the time. Bastards. Clearly smirking at my facial affliction! Suddenly I could relate to how The Elephant Man must have felt all those years ago. The final straw came when I was sitting at the dinner table one night telling a story and happened to say, "Steve and me" Straight away my mum jumps in with, "Steve and eye son, you say Steve and eye." I couldn't believe it, my own mother was at it now! I genuinely don't know what hurt more around that time, snide jibes like that, or the numerous lampposts I walked into due to my impaired vision. Probably the lampposts, to be fair…there was a lot of them you see…those really sturdy stone ones too…yeah, thinking back on it now actually, the lampposts, definitely the lampposts. Nevertheless eventually I got fed up with such devious mockery and made an appointment to be fitted with a corrective lens.

God, it was excruciating. Literally the only way I can think of to describe the feeling of having this contact in, is to say that it was as if those little guys from Gulliver's Travels – the Lilliputians – were having a 24-hour rave on my eyeball. I stuck it out the best I could for four days, but breaking point was reached on the morning of the fifth, when I woke up sprawled out across the floor with a raging hangover, a half downed bottle of cheap whisky in one hand and a crudely sterilized teaspoon in the other. I don't know what I was thinking, I guess in a moment of madness I just figured if Colombo could successfully pull off that look (which he really can, can't he?) then maybe I could too. It's just lucky I'm such a locally renowned lightweight or I'd have been in real trouble. Admitting defeat, I took the lens out and decided to take my mind off the whole thing for a while by surfing the net. Ironically, it was while doing this that by happy accident, squinting with my nose pressed right up against the monitor, I discovered this:

Nuff said really. Glasses seemed the natural choice after that. I hadn't forgotten the afore mentioned risks that went with such a decision mind, but I managed to find a pair that went nicely in an ensemble with my full protective bee keepers suit, so it worked out okay in the end.