If You Hate Your Glasses, You’re Not In Charge Of Your Visual Lifestyle
Most people like to think they are in control of their lives. Even when life gets hectic and seems out of balance, we convince ourselves it’s temporary and we’ll be back in the driver’s seat soon. But control is an illusion we must see through in order to really have a say in how we live our lives. And in order to see through the illusion, we need to recognize when others have more influence on us than we’d like to admit.
I Hate My Glasses!
A few weeks ago I met a woman (not a patient) who told me she hates her glasses. When I asked her why, she didn’t have a single answer. She had several answers. A list, in fact. I could tell she had thought about hating her glasses for a long time. The list went on, but included some pretty significant complaints:
- Blurry vision
- Distorted vision
- Wrong color
- Uncomfortable frames that pinched and kept sliding
- Thick, heavy lenses
I felt bad for her. I knew her workday consisted of not only mounds of paperwork, but also hours on her computer and other digital devices. Worse, she had a strong prescription and she didn’t have the option of removing her glasses for a break. To top it off, it was her only pair. At the moment, she didn’t have any other visual options.
I asked what went so wrong when she bought them. She blamed the business and salesperson that sold her the glasses: “They just didn’t get it right.” If that’s true, then she was sold a poor pair and was stuck with what she got. That’s a shame. On the other hand, she could have been offered a really nice pair but declined. In that case, she failed to understand the benefits of investing in her eyewear and visual lifestyle (you could argue that this is still not her fault, because no one educated her). Either way, she wasn’t happy. This was a daily struggle for her.
Why Put Up With It?
I then asked, “Why would you put up with anything you hated that much if it was something you relied on every day?” She replied, “Because my vision insurance won’t let me get another pair until next year.” That didn’t surprise me, but it does disappoint me every time I hear it. And I hear it a lot.
I explained to her that she was allowing an unknown office worker in an insurance company to control her visual lifestyle for her. Instead of listening to her doctor, her optician, or even herself (she knew she needed something better), she listened to her insurance company. By appearances, she was trapped. But she trapped herself. She could have bought another pair or several pairs of glasses. Or she could have considered contact lenses or even refractive surgery.
How Many Pairs Of Shoes Do You Own?
I have often wondered: what if people had shoe insurance? What if shoe insurance denied payment for new shoes? Would anyone put up with a single pair of shoes they hated, yet had to wear every day? Of course not. Most people would simply go out and buy the shoes they wanted or needed. Plus, they’d buy custom shoes to fit the activity:
- Cross training shoes
- Office shoes
- Running shoes
- Shoes for specific sports
- Shoes for working in the yard
You get the idea.
Why then, does this concept not apply to eyewear? Why don’t more people realize they have a choice when it comes to living the visual lifestyle? I meet a lot of people who have only one pair of glasses, and many of them do not like the pair they have.
Who’s really in control?
You are in control of your visual lifestyle. You just may not realize it. I know this because I’ve seen thousands of patients who, for some reason, relinquish that control to:
- Health insurance plans (“They only pay for glasses if I’ve had surgery”)
- Vision insurance plans (“They only pay for one basic pair”)
- The status quo (“I’ve always had only one pair”)
- Family (“My mom/dad/grandmother always had only one pair”)
- Friends (we may enjoy advice from our friends, but they’re not usually eye care professionals)
- An eye doctor (yes, especially if he or she misunderstands your needs)
- An optician (same reason as eye doctor)
- The least common denominator (“I want the cheapest thing I can get”)
If you are going to live the visual lifestyle, you need to get in control. When you let others decide for you, your results will be limited at best. Only you know how you use your eyes every day. Think about your visual needs and choose for yourself how you want your eyes to work as you participate in and enjoy each of your daily activities. Then find an eye care professional you trust to help you make it happen.