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George H. W. Bush was right; That vision thing is pretty important

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POSTED August 1, 2013 1:36 a.m.

I can see these words as I type them.

But if I remove my glasses they become smudge streaks with no definition and no sharpness. They merge as an incoherent line similar to a modern abstract painting but with much more fuzziness.

I cannot make out faces clearly without my glasses. Shapes aren’t in focus as much as they are blurs.

This has led to some interesting encounters over the years with people who have been in various exercise classes with me where I do not wear glasses since the only thing worse than my eyesight is the amount I sweat.

Typically, when we’ve crossed paths somewhere, they will mention they know me and I’ll look at them with a quizzical stare. Then they will say something along the line of “We’ve been in the same Tuesday morning exercise class for the last year,” noting they are directly behind me most of the time.

I will apologize and then offer them to look through my glasses. More often than not they are stunned at what they can’t see and often feel as if they are getting instant headaches. That even goes for people who wear glasses.

I’ve worn trifocals for a good 20 years. Before that it was bifocals. I have never worn “normal” glasses, per se.

Between my two eyes, I’m far-sighted, near-sighted and have astigmatism. My lazy eye issues were so bad when I was young I wore an eye patch for nearly two years along with eye glasses.

You can understand why I’m impressed with the talents of folks like Michael Lavieri, Greg Miller and Fred Stellhorn. They are all optometrists I have used at one time or another. Their dedication to their profession is why people like me can see.

If a prescription is off just a smidgen it can make everything from reading to even walking down the street a challenge.

I do not have to imagine what life would be like without glasses.

I know.

Until I was 5 years old, I was constantly running into things. Often I’d misjudge steps. My hand-eye coordination — which is anything but great now — was non-existent. Toss a ball my way and more often than not I would get hit. I didn’t see my mother clearly until I started wearing glasses.

When it was determined my coordination issues might just have something to do with my eyesight just before I entered kindergarten, an optometrist referred me to an eye surgeon.

Powerful glasses and working with my lazy eye avoided the need for any surgery.

I’ve never had a problem wearing glasses, even when I was younger when some peers — and an amazingly high number of adults — taunted me for being “four eyes.”

Call me what you want, I could see.

It’s easy to understand why I view the invention of eyeglasses that date back at least to 1286 as being much more amazing than anything to come out of the Silicon Valley.

We have a nasty habit of taking things for granted whether it is our eyesight, the ability to hear, touch, smell, or taste. We have to have our senses to enjoy life whether its nature, the seemingly mundane stuff of day-to-day living or the latest cutting edge technology.

An iPad doesn’t work very effectively if you can’t see what you’re typing or accessing on websites.

With all due respect to those who have proclaimed people such as Steve Jobs, Bill Gates, Larry Ellison, and Mark Zuckerburg as major forces for change in this world, they rank behind those who help sharpen the most essential machine of all that we possess — the human body — whether they are optometrists, physicians, dentists or others who work diligently to make sure we can maximize what we have been given.

Nothing from the likes of Samsung, iPhone, Google et al can come even close.

All the upgrades in the world to a smartphone are trivial at best compared to the impact an upgrade to your own body, whether it is improved vision or better health that the men and women who toil in the heath care fields can provide.



This column is the opinion of executive editor, Dennis Wyatt, and does not necessarily represent the opinion of The Bulletin or Morris Newspaper Corp. of CA.  He can be contacted at dwyatt@mantecabulletin.com or 209-249-3519.

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