Thursday, October 18, 2012

Ophthalmology and Weaving

I really should call it, "Educating the Opthalmologist about Weaving."

Over the summer, I had cataract surgery on both eyes. In the process, I went from being very nearsighted (fine for a weaver!) to having 20/20 distance vision but very poor near vision. That's what happens to aging eyes - near vision fades pretty quickly.

The opthalmologist keeps wanting to pigeonhole me in with the older folks who only need to see the TV, the bingo card, and the large-type Reader's Digest magazine. The first pair of glasses with corrective lenses - the pair that Medicare covers (or at least, gives an allowance toward) - had the upper 50% of the lens uncorrected (since I'm 20/20 for distance, right?), the lower-middle 25% set for about 1-meter distance, and the lowest 25% set for reading distance (maybe 16 inches from my nose).

Those are great for the grocery store, because I can see the strawberries at the far side of the produce department, and also read the tiny print on the ingredients list on the cereal carton. Also great for driving; I can see the big-rig truck on the highway, and also the dashboard, all at the same time, just by raising or lowering my head. Works for knitting while watching TV, too. But.

I got the glasses from the Opthalmologist's optometry department a couple of days ago. After using them for several weaving sessions and being very unhappy with the experience, I went back today, armed with "show and tell" consisting of one woven piece (a scarf made of 60/2 and 120/2 silk) and some photos of the looms I work on.

I had to argue with the doctor for much too long before I was able to persuade him that what I really wanted was a pair of glasses for *WEAVING* since I only go to the grocery store twice a week, and weave most of the day every day. He finally relented and designed me lenses that have the upper third of the lens set for about a meter away, the lower third set for about the location of the fell of the cloth when I weave, and the middle third about half-way between the two.

These are "progressive" lenses, so there's no sharp line between the various zones, the magnification just transitions gradually from one to the other.

Anyway, enough rant. These are the "show and tell" photos I brought along. I don't think he had any idea what a loom was, and these helped. I thought you might also be interested...

Dobby loom front and side:


Jacquard loom front and side:


Laura Fry said...

I struggled with my new glasses this year too. So not nice. :(
Hope the new ones work well for you!

Helga Jossen said...

I totally understand the problems with getteing the right glasses!
I have the great luck that the father of my Opthalmologist was a weaver. What a superb coincidence! He knows exactly how my glasses should be.

neki desu said...

i hate my progressive glasess,i can relate to your woes.
hope you knocked him dead with your loom photos. i am in awe here of your studio set up, and i'm a weaver:)

HelenR said...

I'm an optometrist by day and a weaver by night, short sighted as well - I understand your pain but Australia is a bit too far away for a consultation. If the new glasses aren't as good as you need, sit comfortably at your loom, don't worry about whether the vision is right, measure the distance from the outer corner of your eye to the fell line or whatever else is out of focus and go back and ask them to design glasses to suit your working distance. It's also possible to design glasses for the distance you used to be able to work at with your glasses off. In my case that's about 8 inches, fantastic for sorting out any thread that's in the wrong place. And if that doesn't work I could probably suggest a friend who is not too far from where you are who might be able to help

SpinZen said...

That's why I haven't been back to the eye doctor. It's silly, I know. Thanks for putting it out there and making me feel like I'm not the only one!

Alice said...

What a terrible experience! I think you should look for another ophthalmologist. Just my two cents.

Anonymous said...

Sandra, your looms always make me jealous - everytime I see them I wish they were living in my studio. Sorry about the eye glasses saga, hopefully your new set of glasses work perfectly.

Connie Rose said...

I agree with Alice -- you'd think if you're paying for glasses out of pocket, you could get exactly what you want/need from the get-go. And don't you absolutely hate being pidgeonholed!!

But glad you'll get what you need in the end.

Sandra Rude said...

Thanks to all of you for your commiseration! I knew I wasn't the only weaver whose eyes are aging faster than her shuttle.

Helen, thanks particularly for your feedback as both optometrist and weaver. The distance from my eye to the fell of the cloth was the distance I gave the doctor as the "near" range, and 1 meter as the "far" range. I think he's got it now. However, the optician who orders the lenses was another educational opportunity. She's only made lenses in the 50/25/25 proportions, and doing the math to get the new ones in 33/33/33 proportions really confused her. We had to go over the numbers several times before she had an "aha" moment.

You'll all probably hear more on the subject once the new glasses are here and field-tested :-)

Teresa Ruch said...

Same problem. I finally told them I needed it for computer work and that my reading focus was 6 inches from my body not on my chest. That worked.

Anonymous said...

What a thoroughly annoying experience. Now that you've trained them up I hope they will spread the word! Perhaps a collaborative research paper is in order?

Rebecca Mezoff said...

My father is an ophthalmologist and has designed many such pairs of glasses for my mother and himself for music--so Mom can see the harpsichord keyboard and the music and so he can see the music stand and the conductor. There are some doctors out there who understand, but I bet many more who don't. Fortunately I won't need my own weaving glasses soon and unfortunately when I do, Dad will be long retired.