About halfway through shooting The Movie, the propmaster asked, “Hey, where are your glasses?” I had taken them off to check my email, and left them sitting on the dining room table. It’s part of his job to recognize continuity issues, so it’s natural he noticed something was off.
But it was only his comment that made me realize: Holy shit. I wear glasses.
The truth is, I’ve had glasses since high school, but I’ve never considered myself a glasses-wearer. I’m near-sighted, with mild astigmatism. Originally, the glasses were only for driving at night and watching movies on the big screen. After college, I found myself wearing them for watching TV. Then, several years ago, I started wearing them for all driving, day and night. But I work at home, so I don’t drive much. And TV hours are limited, particularly with the baby. Most days, you’d only find me in glasses for ninety minutes, tops.
Then came The Movie.
Whereas a writer only has to look at the words on the screen, a director has to look at actual things: people, props, stupid bamboo plants that keep getting moved into the shot to conceal light stands. In having to look at all of these things at various distances, I found myself wearing my glasses 12 hours a day.
The crew naturally assumed I was a person who wore glasses full-time, so any moment where I had them off was an anomaly. Thus Greg Props’s question. Thus my dismay: Without realizing it, I’ve become a (nearly) full-time four-eyes.
I’ve got nothing against glasses, really. They work. But they kind of suck for a director. When we were filming out in Malibu, they kept getting streaked with sweat and sunscreen. When looking through the camera lens, one has to take them off, adjusting the diopter to find focus, which screws it up for the operator. Mostly, they just get in the way. I have magnetic clip-on sunglasses which work okay, but honestly look stupid. The alternative — carrying around prescription sunglasses — just isn’t going to happen.
Contact lenses aren’t a terrific solution for me, partly because my eyes freak out at the mildest irritation, and partly because my reading vision is better without them.
All of which serves as introduction to the real topic at hand: laser eye surgery.
My uncorrected vision is good enough that I’ve put off LASIK for years, assuming (correctly, as it turns out) that it would get better and cheaper. But in putting it off, I’ve also gotten older, which means that correcting my distance vision will put me in reading glasses sooner. Maybe immediately. (This isn’t particularly a laser thing; it’s a time thing. As you hit your 40’s, your eyes lose the ability to focus clearly at short distances. Fixing one’s nearsightedness often hastens the need for reading glasses.)
Is losing my distance glasses worth adding reading glasses? Maybe. And considering I’ll eventually need reading glasses anyway, it might be time.
One possible alternative to the either-or scenario is monovision. That’s a terrible word for it, because it conjures up images of Colonel Klink, patch-wearing pirates and the foreign policy of George W. Bush. A better term would probably be “split vision” or “asymmetrical vision.” Basically, they correct one eye for distance, and the other for reading.
The literature touts it as the “best of both worlds,” but clearly it’s a compromise — your distance vision isn’t as good as it could be, nor is your reading vision. But good enough is often the best solution.
I’m test-driving it now, wearing one contact in my right eye (my dominant eye). So far, it’s pretty good. My distance vision is much sharper. The challenge is reading. I can focus with either eye separately, but together, things tend to be a bit blurry, as if the right and left are fighting about who should be in charge. From what I’ve read, your brain eventually figures out how to make sense of it.
For now, I’m enjoying my monovision experiment. But it’s brought up another issue: sunglasses. I didn’t have any non-prescription sunglasses, so I had to borrow a pair.
I guess you never really get away from glasses.