Prov 17:22

A merry heart doeth good like a medicine... - Proverbs 17:22

Thursday, March 10, 2016

The Psychology of Eyewear

Do you have something in your life you’re convinced you need, but which you might actually be better off without?

We’re all familiar with the idea of mind over matter and how our brains play an incredibly important part in the well-being of our bodies. Pain can actually decrease with a placebo or by merely telling the patient a pain-killer is coming. The psychological hurdles that a withdrawing drug addict must leap can be far greater than the physical. If our brains are convinced we need something, our bodies have an uncanny way of cooperating with the conviction.

Apparently, this applies to our eyes as well.

For the last eight years, any observant co-worker could easily do a Terrie impersonation simply by changing their glasses every time they leave their desk, then switching back again when they sit down. Over and over, 14 times a day. And the really sad part is, both pair are bifocals: one pair for driving distance on top and reading on the bottom, the other pair for computer distance on top and reading on the bottom. The coating on both pair is wearing off, making them appear smudged and scratched. They are no longer improving my outlook on life.

So off to the optometrist I go. He checks me over thoroughly and floors me by announcing that I could actually drive without glasses if I wanted to. No kidding? With my weaker right eye covered, he showed me how I could actually see slightly better with my naked left eye than I could with the glasses I’ve been wearing!

So why do I feel so much more confident driving with my glasses on?

Then I remembered an incident from a few weeks ago. I’d been driving around town all afternoon running errands when I suddenly noticed I’d been wearing the wrong glasses the entire time! Once I knew it, I freaked out, convinced I would plow into somebody. Before I noticed, I had done fine.

“So is it just psychological?” I asked the eye doc.

“It certainly can be,” he told me. “Like a security blanket.”

Well, this news helped me choose the kind of glasses to buy and saved me the cost of a second pair. Without having to worry about driving lenses, I could focus on one pair that would work best for the bulk of my time. They’re called “office” progressives, where the largest part of the lens will be for computer distance, a smaller bottom portion for reading, and a still smaller portion at the top so I can look across a large room and clearly see who’s there—even with my weaker right eye. If this goes like I hope, I could complete my entire shift at the office without changing glasses once! 

The next day, I marched down to MPI and sure enough, passed their eye test without glasses. They removed the “corrective lenses required” restriction from my license on the spot. Then I dutifully put my glasses back on and drove away. 

Which didn’t dawn on me until hours later when I sat down to write this post. 

The new glasses should be ready in a week. Actually parting with my security blanket glasses might take a smidge longer.

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