By Barbara Falconer Newhall
One of the perks of having lots of years under your belt is that one fine day you get to have your cataracts done. Which means, if you’re seriously nearsighted like me, you get treated to a pair of brand new, precision-made, bespoke, intraocular lenses — and then you see yourself in the mirror for the first time since fifth grade.
I’m a minus five or six myopic, really nearsighted, and I haven’t seen my actual face since I was ten. I’ve been wearing glasses every day, all day for my entire school-aged, teenaged, middle-aged life.
Glasses off, my face is a blur in the mirror. Glasses on, I can’t see myself any better — not the real me, anyway.
Am I pretty? I wouldn’t know. Mouth and nose are in place. Ears don’t stick out. But my dark brown eyes and matching eyelashes? I can’t get a good look at them through my high-minus lenses. There’s a lot glare, for one thing. And the super-thick lenses shrink everything behind them, causing my eyes look beady and my eyelashes stubby.
But what if my eyelashes aren’t really stubby? What if they’re long and swoopy? What if my serviceable brown eyes are actually doe-like? Sexy even?
My first cataract surgery was coming up. Time to find out. I got out my trusty point-and-shoot, took off my glasses, and snapped some pictures. Glasses back on my face, I studied the photos and tried to get used to the sight of the new — that is to say, the old, really old — me.