Saturday, 15 May 2010

Eye Spy

My last post was about my eyes, or more accurately my appalling eyesight. For this post I want to talk about the problem I have with eyes.

I hate them.

Perhaps that’s too strong a word.

I love gazing into Mrs PM’s eyes and I have no problem looking at a person’s eyes when I’m talking to them. In fact, it is sometimes difficult to drag my eyes away from the other person’s eyes, particularly if they are female. I try not to look men in the eye because, typically, it is a sign of aggression. I only do so when I’m trying to make a point.

But I love looking at women’s eyes. They are fascinating.

So why did I say that I hate eyes? Allow me to explain.

In my opinion eyes belong in eye sockets and nowhere else. That’s where they live. That is their accommodation and it is permanent accommodation. They have no business trying to escape from their prisons. Moreover, I should only be able to see that fraction of the eyeball that protrudes from the eye socket.

Furthermore, eyes should not be touched by anything but the inside of an eyelid. And I mean anything. I don’t want to see fingers near eyes and definitely not anything sharp. I can watch horror films but the moment anything like a needle goes anywhere near an eye I’m afraid I have to vomit.

Finally, eyes should be appreciated from a distance. I don’t want to get up close and personal with anybody’s eye – not even my own. I do not want to see bloodshot eyes or weird eyes.

You may have guessed something about me but if you are still puzzled then allow me to make my position clear.


Allow me to take you on a journey through my life in order to explain how this weird fear of eyes has hindered me.

I used to love playing football but my appalling short-sightedness was a major problem. In the early days, when I first acquired glasses, I used to play wearing them. You can imagine what happened. I destroyed several pairs and totally annoyed my parents. Balls have hit me in the face, I’ve suffered cuts and glasses have flown off my head only to be stamped on accidentally by myself and others in an attempt to find them.

At junior school I was told in no uncertain terms that I was not allowed to play football in my spectacles. And this left me with several grave problems; I couldn’t see my team mates; I couldn’t see the ball; I was hopeless as a result.

So I suffered until I left school and went to university. My mother wasn’t well off and I was left to fend for myself on a paltry student grant. The subject of contact lenses came up and some of my friends were starting to invest in them (or more accurately their parents were).

I couldn’t afford them so I didn’t bother – that is until I started playing football at work.

All of a sudden I had the cash to be able to afford them. I played football several times a week in a brightly lit enclosed gym and I could cope with the difficulty of not seeing because everybody wore bright clothes; I just passed to a distant red blob for example.

And then we started playing 11-a-side outside and I simply couldn’t see. The goalkeeper hoofed the ball up the field in my direction and all of my teams mates yelled “Dave! Dave! DAVE!!!!” as I ran blindly up the wing. I turned around and simply could not see the ball until it was two inches from my face, giving me approximately one nanosecond to move my head out of the way. Of course I failed, got the ball square on the nose and fell over in a heap with all players laughing at my blind stupidity including my own team mates.

I played with my spare glasses on one occasion and the ball smacked me square in the face, causing the frames to dig in and cut my just above my eye, wrecking yet another pair of glasses.

I had to get contact lenses.

My optician was offering a “contact lens” trial for the princely sum of £15. The idea behind it was that I would allow a man to put a pair of contact lenses in my eyes to see how they felt and whether they were suitable.

And it was a trial and the biggest waste of £15 in my life.

Each time he approached my eye, I flinched and pulled my head back. Deep down in my mind, my fear of eyes was kicking in. My brain screamed at me:


After ten minutes of frustration, he started to get annoyed.

“LOOK – I HAVE TO DO THIS!” he said, trying his best to be friendly with his patience at snapping point.

“OK, I’m sorry,” I said.

He tried once more and this time I forced myself to comply.

“That’s better,” he said as he gently approached my eye.

And then I flinched again. I thought he was going to punch me.

At that point, something happened within. My brain had been screaming at me not to allow this man to touch my eyeball or even get within an inch of it. The effort and the fear combined to create a tsunami of nausea within.

“I feel sick,” I declared.

The optician almost fell off his chair. Panicking, he rushed out of the little room, while I sat there like a complete lemon, clutching my head and trying to surf the wave of queasiness threatening to engulf me.

He returned with a glass of water and said “I don’t think contact lenses are suitable for you.”

No shit, Sherlock!

Suffice it to say my brush with contact lenses failed. Who was I kidding anyway? There was no way I would have found the courage to put them in and take them off. Shortly afterwards I gave up football.

I was quite pleased to have failed because a friend told me a horror story about his experience with contact lenses. He had wobbled home drunk one night and collapsed onto his settee where he fell asleep. He woke up at three in the morning and decided to find his bed. However, he was convinced that he still had his contact lenses in and spent a good ten minutes pinching his eyeball trying to extract them, only to discover that he had taken them out earlier.

I think I threw up at this point in the story.

Mrs PM used to wear contact lenses and glasses occasionally too.

She has no qualms about touching her eye or doing anything else with them. It was no surprise to me when she announced a few years ago that she was going to have laser eye surgery.

As is usual with Mrs PM, she doesn’t do things by halves; she goes in stampeding like a crazed animal.

“I’m going to have both eyes done at once,” she declared. “I need you to come with me.”

At the time I didn’t know anything about laser eye surgery. I am a curious soul so I did a little research. I wish I hadn’t.

Naively, I assumed that the laser altered the shape of you lens, thus correcting the focal length.

What I discovered chilled me to the very marrow of my bones, so much so that I can barely bring myself to type the words that describe the procedures available. Suffice it to say it involves cutting and burning the eyeball.

On the day of the surgery, I escorted Mrs PM to the clinic in the centre of Manchester, like the devoted partner I am. Mrs PM was calm and assured, if not a little nervous; I was a total wreck.

Mrs PM was offered valium; I demanded some but was refused.

As we waited, I noticed three other people, one of whom had one eye bandaged. Mrs PM, succumbing to the effects of the valium, was called in.

The guy with the bandage started a conversation with me.

Mr Bandage: Are you having your eyes done?

PM: No! I’m too squeamish.

Mr Bandage: You should you know – it’s fabulous.

PM: Why is your eye bandaged?

Mr Bandage: Oh they got it wrong and are doing it again.

AGAIN????? So this man’s eye had been butchered, they had messed up and now his eye was going to be butchered again?

Mrs PM went in for her “treatment”. At this point I noticed a funny smell pervading through the waiting room.

PM: I wonder what that funny smell is.

Mr Bandage: That’s the laser burning her eyes.

PM: You mean that the smell is burning eyeball?

Mr Bandage: Yes – that’s a good way of putting it.

He watched in amusement as I rushed to the bathroom to do battle with yet another eye-related tsunami of nausea. I just got out in time to see a valium-drugged Mrs PM wobbling out of the eyeball burning room.

Thankfully, Mrs PM’s laser treatment worked a treat and she now has perfect eyesight.

I, on the other hand, have the same poor short-sightedness coupled with long-sightedness.

How the hell can I have BOTH???

To cure this new problem with my pathetic eyes, I have just acquired a pair of varifocals. I am just getting used to the concept of having to adjust my eyes to look through the correct part of the lens - and I haven't fallen over once.

I suffered headaches for the first day, coupled with a “swimming sensation” and a total fear of walking downstairs – it was as if I looking at stuff through drunk eyes.

Thankfully I am used to them now and don’t wobble around like a crazed drunkard.

It does mean that I can see distance and read without having to take off my glasses.

Well, that’s enough about my eyes. I’ve suffered name calling, humiliation and nausea. I’ve suffered pain, torment and heartache.

The one good thing about this modern world is that wearing glasses is now considered “cool” so I look like a fashion icon.

My new glasses, selected by Mrs PM, are trendy and make me look, in her words, “sexy”. Other ladies have said that I look "intelligent".

Take that Joe 90! Take that Milky Bar kid! Take that skinheads who took the piss out of me in the pub. Take that kid whose nose I bloodied for calling me "four eyes".

I love my glasses.


River said...

When my daughter had her laser eye surgery she had her eyes done separately, I think two weeks apart.
I'm in a similar position regarding contact lenses. At each eye exam, the doctor puts those eye drops in that are supposed to indicate something or other and my eyes water so much it's like I'm crying a river. She once said my eyes were so sensitive I shouldn't think about contacts. I'm happy enough with my glasses. I have two pairs that allow me to focus on close things like books, computer screen, (I keep one pair in my locker at work), and I have a pair of bi-focals that I wear when out and about and for watching TV so that I can read during the commercials.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

The optician also said that my eyes were too sensitive. I too am happy with my single pair of varifocals.

I just wish God had given me a better pair of eyes.




Pegasus Kelly said...

Beloved B is an optometrist. I have often wondered why I did not date someone useful, like a dentist. Until the day I needed glasses myself...

River said...

God is a practical joker.

Kath Lockett said...

Love Chunks had his eyes done via laser back in the 1990s and like River's daughter had each one done a fortnight apart.

To him it was worth every second of discomfort and for the next six months or so, he nearly drove me insane reading every single street sign, bus advertisement and car license plate that he could.

Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi Pegasus Kelly,

I would have loved to have dated a hairdresser, dentist, doctor or optician myself. Ultimately I ended up with an IT specialist - just like me.

You can imagine how boring our conversations are when one of us has had a hard day ...




Plastic Mancunian said...

Hi River,

Ha ha - you are so right.

I am reminded of that fact every time I look in the mirror ...




Plastic Mancunian said...

G'Day Kath,

Mrs PM did that too. She challenged me to read signs that I could barely see with my glasses - and then tried to badger me into having laser surgery knowing full well that I would rather have extracted my fingernails with a chainsaw ...