28 Mar 2018

The Madagascar Fruit Bat and Me

The big problem with reading glasses is the on, off, on, off. My nearsightedness is manageable though I am not sure Dave would agree with me on this – a while ago we were out for a run and I delightedly exclaimed “oh look, a bunny”. He calmly replied “that’s a leaf”. Oops. But while I am able to see where I’m going, I can’t see my watch, phone or my bike computer. This makes it particularly tricky during training or races, where clearly wearing cheaters is not an option. In my last two races, I had little or no idea how I was doing because I was unable to read my watch and could barely read my bike computer. I’d complain to Dave, “I’m blind as a bat.” My optimistic husband would smile and tell me all about the Madagascar fruit bat with large eyes and excellent vision for nocturnal feedings.

As my frustration grew I began to search for solutions. Short of bringing back the monocle, I had to solve the problem. I would like to share two options that worked for me that may help others struggling with the same issue.

Stick-on bifocals At Ironman Switzerland, we met a lovely couple from Colorado. Laurel was racing and her husband Kurt was her pit crew. I noticed she wore glasses all the time and asked her what she did during the race. She showed me sunglasses with a small stick-on magnifier on the bottom part of the lens. When we got back, I did some research on the cost of converting my Oakley’s to progressives – it was quite expensive. Dave did some research online and we found some stick-on lenses. They are a non-permanent portable solution to add ‘cheaters’ to any sunglasses. I was able to read my watch and see my bike computer without interfering with my ability to see distance. We trimmed the lens a little with a pair of manicure scissors to give me a perfect custom fit. A wonderfully effective, affordable solution!

Unfortunately, this didn’t solve my indoor workout issues and the pool workouts. That’s when I found this solution.

Monovision – For those unfamiliar with the term, monovision refers the treatment of presbyopia where one eye is treated to improve distance vision and the other eye is treated to improve near vision. Essentially, the brain learns to use the distance focused eye to view distance and the near focused eye to view near. This is achieved through the use of contact lenses. I am fortunate that my distance vision is fine so I only need to use one contact to see close. I worked with my eye doctor, trying correction on both eyes but we finally found that a single lens was all I needed.

I was not a contact lens wearer so to be honest, it has taken some practice to be proficient enough to not take a day and a half to put in and remove the lens! It was a little frustrating but the first time I put in the lens and picked up phone to send a message, I was hooked. I could see to read, I could see to write a note, I could see my watch and my bike computer!

Some people it can take a week or two to get used to monovision. True story…back when I took my MBA, my good friend Chris sat next to me in class and was struggling with reading his computer, seeing the front board. Dave told him about monovision and he tried it. During the first few weeks while he was adjusting to one lens, a colleague who sat across the room came up to him and said “stop winking at me!” He persevered and adjusted. And you should too.

Check with your doctor to see if this is an option. I buy daily wear contacts in bulk so it is zero maintenance and very economical.

So, if you ever see a Madagascar Fruit bat flutter by and you notice it’s wearing a monocle, say hello, it’s likely me!


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