Nerd Vision, or, How I Learned to Love Not Having Glasses

Posted by Autumn

I always wanted glasses. Glasses made people look smart. It’s like kids who think smoking is cool (which it’s NOT). I thought kids who wore glasses were smarter than kids who didn’t. All the smart kids on television wore glasses. I mean, Velma solved 99.9% of the mysteries on Scooby Doo. And what was her accessory of choice?

It sure as heck wasn’t a wimpy ascot.

Last year, in an attempt to have a more total-body approach to health, I saw the optometrist for the first time. Memories of eye exams in grade school and the DMV vision test wrapped me in a foolish state of naiveté. This would be easy—I could still read street signs a city block away!

I continued on this fluffy cloud of optic ignorance until a co-worker asked me if someone was going to help me get home. Help me home, I wondered. Why?

“If they dilate your eyes, you’ll need help getting home.”

I had no idea what this person was talking about, and rather than reveal my ignorance any further, I lied and said that my roommate would pick me up.


The first part of the exam was easy. Look up, look to the side, look at me. Can you read the 3rd line of this chart?


Then came the dreaded pupil dilation. It was like sitting in a dark room for ten or twelve hours, and then someone turns on the “Friday night lights.” Vision blurred, eyes swam in thick, greasy tears. It didn’t hurt necessarily, but I definitely could not read the street signs. I didn’t walk in front a bus or anything, probably because for once in my life I obeyed the crosswalk signals. The bright orange blob means Stop, the squishy white amoeba means Go.

So after all that, the diagnosis is that I still have 20/20 vision, but my eyes are beginning to show signs of fatigue and eyestrain. I spend about eight to ten hours a day staring at a computer screen. Not to mention the tiny screen on my iPhone, which I probably stare at for a minimum of four hours a day. I can’t help it—Words with Friends is an incredibly addictive game, people!

The good news is there are a lot of easy things I can do to rest and rejuvenate my eyes, as my optometrist was only too happy to list in detail:

  1. Get an eye checkup every two years. (Not surprising this one came first, but I know it is important.)

  2. Don’t smoke. Smoking harms the delicate tissues of the eyes.

  3. Simple eye exercises. Look up, look down, now roll your eyes.  (An excuse to roll your eyes 25 times everyday? Works for me!)

  4. When working on the computer, rest your eyes for a few minutes every 40 minutes or so. (When the boss asks if you’re sleeping on the job you can tell him or her, “I’m just resting my eyes” and mean it!)

  5. Avoid glare on your monitor.

  6. Don’t read or work in dimly lit areas. (No worries there! I’ve got an OttLite at my workstation!)

As much as I want to be a crime-solving Velma, I’m glad I still have good vision. Remember how many times Velma lost her glasses and was reduced to crawling on the floor, whining, "My glasses! I can't see without my glasses!" Or the time, several times really, she unwittingly took the offered hand of a werewolf/vampire/swamp monster, thinking it was Shaggy come to her rescue? Yikes!

I'll find some other nerd-girl accessory to show off my smarts. But not the chunky orange turtleneck with the linebacker shoulders--I live in Florida, after all.

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