“Professor” D

Sergey Brin, co-founder of Google appear

(Still remember Geordi La Forge from the famed Star Trek the Next Generations with his high-tech eye-wear? We may be seeing technology catching up on the low profile eye-wear with Google’s Glass Project and that could be start of things to come. Who knows, perhaps we can even replace our human eyes with its limitations with a high-tech robotic eyes? Image source: http://resourcemagonline.com)

This year could mark an important year in my son’s life – it is the year he started to wear a spectacle. It was something we did not expect to happen so soon but since he had complained that he could not see what is being written on the blackboard from the back of the class and thus missing to copy down some assignment, we knew we need to act fast. We had talked to his teacher and got him to sit in front but in the long run, it was not that helpful. It is either we play ignorant whilst he continue to fall back on his studies and his eye-sight get worse or get him to see a eye doctor and then a proper spectacles.

It was the same dilemma that probably faced my Dad when I said the same thing many, many years ago when I too had the same problem. But back in the 1980s, wearing a spectacle seemed to be a big taboo sort of. Perhaps it is due to the size of spectacles back then – it was not small, looked ugly and came without added technology such as multi-coating, high index and light sensitive lens. Contact lens was almost non-existence. And given the fact that no one in the family (and that included those at my uncles and aunties side) wears a spectacle, you were looked at like an alien when you wear one in front of them.

It took some sound advice from my class teacher to get my Dad to “see things from my point of view” and we were off to see an optician. Let’s just say that things gotten clearer since then. And my son remarked the same when he got his “stylist” spectacles. And things have changed too – instead of the usual weird looks from our relatives, it seemed more acceptable now for one to wear spectacles especially if you read a lot of books. One even remarked that my son now looks like a professor.

Perhaps there is another point on view on why we should not be wearing spectacles:-

The problem with glasses and contacts are that they are crutches. Just like using leg crutches to help you walk when you are recovering from a broken or injured leg, glasses give you the instant gratification of being able to suddenly see clearly with eyes that have lost the ability to focus well on their own.

Glasses are a quick fix indeed! However, they don’t address the root cause that allowed your eyes to get out of shape in the first place: deformation of the actual shape of the eye. Myopia (near-sightedness) is caused by elongation of the eye; hyperopia (far-sightedness) by the eye becoming shorter in length.

And just as one’s leg would never fully recover, but would actually become weaker, if you continued to use crutches indefinitely, the use of corrective lenses allows your eye to become progressively weaker — either more myopic or hyperopic, as the case may be. The use of laser surgery may seem to be the best of all fixes, by permanently re-sculpting the cornea. But the risks and complications can be significant, and continued bad vision habits can result in the need for repeat surgery.

(Source)

It does makes some sense but it takes a lot of practice and patience to maintain the “eyes exercise” and get on with daily activities without wearing any spectacles. Certainly it is not an easy thing to do. Otherwise many opticians would have gone out of business fast. But moving forward, things may change in the near future – we one day may not need to wear spectacles:-

Short-sightedness, or myopia, which makes distant objects appear blurred, often begins in childhood, and it appears to be growing in the UK – now affecting about one in three British adults. But a scientific breakthrough announced this week could start to reduce that number within a decade.

Scientists based in London have identified a gene that causes myopia and are confident that drugs could be developed to halt the distorted growth of the eye that brings about the condition. In about 10 years, short-sightedness could be cured through eye drops, says Dr Chris Hammond, who led the research at King’s College London.

(Source)

Coming back to my son wearing one, we do try to get him to be less dependant on his spectacles by getting him to do some basic eyes exercise and to use his eyes unaided if possible. Not that we have anything ugly against him wearing spectacles – we just worried that it will deter him from his usual active activities. But he proved us dead wrong the very next day – wearing a spectacle however did not deter him from his usual active activities – he still flies through his swimming practices on the weekends, setting faster pace every week and remains active in school as well. Of course, that causes us to constantly reminding him to be careful with his spectacles. He do forgets that he is wearing one especially when he high-jumps on the bed whenever he comes to our bedroom.

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