Back in January the side piece on my spectacles broke. I wrote about it in The repair cost that took my breath away.
Well, the other day the frames broke again, in exactly the same place. This time I was able to visit my regular optometrist. They ordered in a new side piece and were able to replace it for me within 24 hours. That was $120 well spent.
The old specs
In the meantime though, I still needed to be able to see. If I can’t see I can’t work, and I had a lot of work to do.
First I tried my sunglasses. They are a similar prescription to my regular specs, but are very dark, and polarised. The screen on my old, old iPod looked psychedelic through them. My laptop screen looked OK, but I could barely see it, even at maximum brightness.
The sunnies didn’t work for me.
Next I tried my very much older, regular prescription glasses. That prescription was too old. It was only a short time before I started feeling odd, and a bit headachey.
Maybe I could balance my one-armed frames on my nose?
No. The frames are ‘sprung’. Without the other ‘arm’ to hold them at the correct angle they just sat crooked on my face and I couldn’t see straight.
How about no glasses at all?
This was where I really discovered what I hope will be a major benefit of the iPad. I use my laptop on my lap. To read the screen without glasses I had to lift it with one hand and hold it against my chest.
That meant one hand was busy holding a heavy item in place and the whole machine was in a position where I couldn’t really type or use my graphics tablet.
I tried my iPod touch and iPhone. They are a great size and shape for using while not wearing glasses, but their screen size makes them unsuitable for anything but casual reading. They aren’t nearly big enough to work on.
The iPad, on the other hand, would probably have offered a very useful blend of size and weight.
In the end I gave up and read a book for a while.
What? No backups?
I’ve been wearing specs for more than 40 years, apart from a decade long flirtation with contact lenses. This is the first (and second) time I’ve ever needed a backup pair that did more than these outdated or dark prescriptions could offer.
I need backup glasses!
After all, I have a spare computer I work on when my main Mac is not available or convenient. I have a Time Capsule that backs up all my files.
My glasses are essential to my working life, and I have no effective and current backup.
I’m off for an eye test soon. I know these glasses use a prescription that’s slightly out of date — it has been for a few years now. I also know these lenses are deteriorating slightly. The surface shows signs of degrading.
I’ll probably lash out and get new top-line prescription lenses put into these same frames. I go for thin, anti-reflection, high refractive index glasses these days.
And when I do that, I’ll make sure I get a copy of my prescription so I can buy a really really cheap pair of backup glasses. I’ve been told of a couple of places on the Internet where glasses are really cheap. All I need is the cheapest possible pair that has an accurate prescription, so I can wear them if something bad happens to my daily-use pair.
More than a decade ago I learned about the need to make web pages accessible. I understood it on an intellectual level, and as a human rights issue, and have championed it ever since.
I don’t know that I’d ever empathised though.
My eyesight is poor. For the last 40 or more years I’ve enjoyed the benefits of technology to compensate for my poor vision.
Suddenly that technology went away and I found myself disabled in its absence. I wanted to work; I needed to work; I was unable to work.
I’m very privileged. The technology to correct my vision has always been available to me. My ‘disability’ is temporary, even optional. I can take my glasses off and put them back on again whenever I feel like it.
Even this latest interruption lasted less than 24 hours.
People who are unable to access technology, or who are barred from using it because others can’t be bothered to let it do its work can’t just decide to do things differently.
A blind person who needs alt text for images on a web page, for example, can’t just stop being blind and look at images. Someone who is physically unable to use a mouse can’t just change their mind and use one to click on a web page anyway.
My 2 insights
So there we are. I had 2 insights: I need cheap backup glasses that work, and making sure websites are accessible just isn’t optional.
What are your thoughts and experiences?