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Barbara Lombardo of Saratoga Springs, NY, is a journalism adjunct at University at Albany and retired executive editor of The Saratogian, The Record and the Community News. Follow her on Twitter @Barb_Lombardo.

Monday, January 6, 2014

Look, Ma, no duct tape: New year, new trifocals

The week before Christmas I did something I haven’t been doing enough: Exercised at the Y. Then I did something I never do: Took off my glasses. After barely breaking out dainty beads of perspiration, I stepped off the machine — and onto my glasses. Snap.
Now I was really sweating.
I can see without my glasses. I can legally drive without them. But I can’t read anything smaller than the event sign outside the Saratoga Springs City Center.   

It was a Saturday morning and I went straight from the Y to Vaughn Vision, where a very nice woman tried to superglue the teeny plastic nose piece. Try electrical tape, she advised, handing me back my two-piece trifocals. It’s more subtle than duct tape. Very professional.
Next stops were CVS for reading glasses and Price Chopper for electrical tape. She was right, it was more subtle than duct tape. But it held about as well as the glue.
Three days later I was back at Vaughn for the full-fledged eye exam that was due anyway. I tried on every pair of glasses, twice, and bought the first one I looked at, which shockingly resembles every pair I’ve owned for the last decade. They felt right on my nose.
Then came two weeks of waiting, during which I alternated between no glasses, reading glasses, prescription sunglasses, trifocals from two prescriptions ago, and the electrical tape glasses. When I went to see my sister in a play in Albany, everyone on stage was beautifully air-brushed, softened around the edges. But when I tried to text message her about the performance, my iPhone screen was a blur.
So I was delighted Friday morning when the call came that the new glasses were in. They felt good. Everything straight ahead was amazingly sharp — but everything in print, not so much.
You may need a day or two to get used to them, she told me.
I’m not leaving with these, I declared; it’s like the shoe salesman telling you it will feel better later.
Call later if they’re not right, she reassured me, and I promise we’ll take care of you.
So I left, skeptical. But I think she was right. I can see again. Better than ever. Near. Far. Out the back of my head. (OK, the last one was something I learned from my mother to tell my kids, and may or may not be true.) And when I go back to the Y, I’ll keep my glasses on or in a case. You know the sound I don’t want to hear: Oh, snap.


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