Phantom Glasses Syndrome

It pains me to admit that despite my commitment to remaining as immature as possible, my eyes have ignored the mandate and grown up.  In fact, they’ve embraced middle age with the same fervent enthusiasm as a teenager with a first crush.

The instructions on everything are now written in much smaller print than they used to be.  (That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.)  My distance vision is sharp and clear, but I spend far too much time hunting for the correct pair of reading glasses.

One pair for computer work.  Another pair for close work.  A third pair for that awkward range between one and four feet.  Bifocals for when I need to alternate frequently between close and mid-range.  I have umpteen pairs of glasses lying around the house, but the chances of finding the pair I need when I need them are slim to none.

Not only that, but I’m developing Phantom Glasses Syndrome.  Again.

When I was young I wore glasses fulltime.  When I finally switched to contacts it took about two years for me to stop pushing my glasses up on my nose even though the glasses were long gone.

Just to compound the embarrassment, I was young enough when I started wearing glasses that I didn’t know the significance of the middle finger.  And when I first developed the habit of pushing up my glasses, that was the finger I used.

Trust me, you haven’t been truly humiliated until you realize you’ve inadvertently flipped the bird to the entire audience at a public-speaking competition.

At least these days I know enough not to involve the middle digit in my habitual tics; but there’s still ample scope for embarrassment.  My distance vision is so good now that it drives me nuts to look through reading glasses and have everything in the distance blurred.  So if I look up from my close work for even a minute, I perch the reading glasses on top of my head.

You can see where this is going.  Yep:  Me, running around loudly cursing my lost glasses, only to have Hubby point out that they’re on the top of my head.

And that’s my other problem:  After spending so much time with my glasses up there, I feel the grip of the earpieces on my temples whether they’re there or not.  So now whenever I need glasses, I pat the top of my head first.  It’s okay if the glasses are actually there, but it looks pretty damn foolish when they’re not.

Fortunately I’ve discovered that my need for dignity is inversely proportional to my age.  So I’m thinking about adding a verbal tic to that habit just for shits and giggles.  Imagine, if you will, a middle-aged woman patting her own head and murmuring softly, “Good girl, Diane; good girl!”

I haven’t done it yet, but I’m tempted.  It would make social gatherings quite a bit more interesting… at least until people stopped inviting that weird old bag who keeps patting herself and mumbling.

But I suppose that’s still better than flipping everybody off.

Or maybe not… 😉

Anybody else have Phantom Glasses Syndrome?

47 thoughts on “Phantom Glasses Syndrome

  1. After wearing glasses for more than 60 years, cataract surgery relieved me if that necessity: it has been three plus years and as my eyes get tired I still reach to remove my glasses to rest my eyes an d many time at bedtime reach to put my phantom glasses to place 5hem on the night stand. I laugh every time I do it.


  2. Bahahahahahaahahahahaha at Imagine, if you will, a middle-aged woman patting her own head and murmuring softly, “Good girl, Diane; good girl!”…I did and it was hilarious! I do love reading your stories…you make me laugh 🙂


  3. Why on goddesses green earth are you concerned with dignity at this point? I kissed mine goodbye long ago and embraced my undignified self. I am now free. Or at least cheap.


  4. My problem isn’t the phantom so much. I’m practically blind, can’t see far, but as I age I can’t see close either. I got progressive lenses but can’t stand to wear them while reading and wearing them as a headband doesn’t work for me so I stick one of the stems down my shirt or top and anchor it with my bra. This works pretty well until I fall asleep reading at which time they have a tendency to fall out. So when I wake up, can’t see to find them, l’ve learned not to get rid of old glasses. I can still see well enough to drive in the older glasses in case my lost glasses remain lost for more than a few minutes. Which happens at least a couple times a week.
    But I’ve just realized that I do have the phantom issue but I pat my chest looking for my glasses instead of my head …..huh. Love your blog and books! sg

    Liked by 1 person

    • Understand completely. Before the cataract surgery, if I misplaced my glasses I was in trouble. So I *made* myself remember specifically–every–freaking–time–where I put my glasses.

      Post=surgery, life is so much better! But still, I do know exactly what you are talking about. You are amongst friends, Sue. Just so you know..


    • Thanks, Sue! 😀 Even when I wore glasses fulltime my vision wasn’t terribly bad; but I completely understand about keeping old glasses. I never got rid of my previous prescription, just in case. When I had LASIK surgery and my vision was corrected to perfection, it still took about 2 years before I finally felt secure enough to get rid of my glasses.

      And now I’m duplicating the process with reading glasses. The more things change, the more they stay the same…


  5. I started with readers and often ended up with two pair “lost” on my head. Now since I can’t wear trifocals, I juggle 3 pair. The doctor didn’t t hink I needed midrange so no bifocals, back to readers for the computer so now. You know if you lose readers, you just replace them for cheap. Lose these babies and you just stay blind for a year!


    • Yikes, you’re right! It’s scary how much glasses cost. I’m at the point where I buy one pair from my regular optometrist every couple of years or so (when I can get them at least partially covered by insurance), and the rest of the time I order them online from China for cheap. I’d love to support our economy by buying within the country, but when I have to choose between paying $500 or $25 for exactly the same vision correction, it’s not much of a choice.


  6. Like others, I’ve had cataract surgery, too, Years ago. About twenty years too soon, according to most. For me, it was welding for years and years. A common malady amongst welders, it seems.. Anyway, my distance vision is perfect since the surgery..

    So, also like others, I tried the readers. Had to at first anyway until my eyes healed completely and normalized. Indoors, readers are okay. Outdoors in the bright West Texas sun, not so much. Gotta have shades. But they gotta be prescription, and you’ve all heard this before.

    So I’ve standardized on two pair of prescription glasses. Untinted with clear tops and line-less transition bifocals on the bottom. That way, I can find a place where ANYTHING I want to look at is in perfect focus. And the other pair is tinted prescription shades of the same specs. With one added bit of trickery: The clear ones are legit industrial safety glasses…with the detachable side shields. So I’m legal when I’m teaching my lab classes with high-pressure hydraulics, tools, and other such stuff.

    Ya know, I’ve been wearing glasses every day of my life since I was seventeen. Lots of shop time since I was fourteen. Even watching TV in my home, cranked back in a comfy recliner, I still feel uncomfortable without hard lenses in front of my eyeballs. Glasses have protected my eyes for ‘way too many decades to go without them even when I can.

    So to answer the question, YES, I definitely have Phantom Glasses Syndrome. And it doesn’t bother me one little bit. Both my eyes still work very well because I’ve worn glasses all those years. Gad, the stuff they’ve protected me from!

    And CONGRATULATHIONTH!! You are THO CLOTHE now! You THO rock, thithter! 🙂


    • Pea Eth: My safety glasses look almost exactly like the so-called designer frames they replaced. Stylish, even. We use an optician in private practice in town, but we get our frames and order the lenses and all that from our local Sam’s Club store. The lady who fits our glasses is absolutely the most skilled we’ve EVER found at dialing-in line-less bifocals and getting frames to fit perfectly the first time. Rosa is phenomenal. We will not willingly deal with anyone else..

      And the best part, I discovered, is that the legit safety glasses frames that look exactly like a good many of the designer frames in the next case down the wall–are you ready for this?–COST TWENTY DOLLARS. Yep, instead of $250 or more.. Seriously. Twenty bucks for safety glasses that are indistinguishable from the spendy stuff.

      Unless they come to their senses before I need my next pair, I’m pretty sure where I’ll be buying my glasses from now on. Check into it. Might be worth a look. Couldn’t hurt, right?


    • Wow, that’s awesome! How often do you get style, safety, and affordability in one package? Safety glasses are a whole ‘nother thing – I also have handfuls of safety glasses scattered around; plus my polycarbonate full-face shield for woodturning (which also works nicely if I need to wear reading glasses and still have eye protection). It’s all essential, but it’s also more STUFF to juggle.

      And thankth! I have houseguests this week, but I’m… almost… there with Book 12. Just a couple more good writing days and it’ll be done!

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Oh my gosh, yes. Touching the top of my head at least 4 times a day is what I do. I wear “regular glasses” most of the time. Since I had cataract surgery I don’t need distance glasses I need reading glasses. Its to much trouble having separate readers, so I wear a combination. However, here in sunny Florida, sun glasses are a must. Therefore, I wear “sunnies” and put the regular on top of my head and switch back and forth when going indoors. Most of the time I look like I’m playing that game tap your head and touch your tummy, except I hang the “other pair” on the neck of my Tee. Talk about looking strange. Luckily at 77 its whats expected of me.


    • I’m glad I’m not the only one! The “sunglass juggling act” is yet another reason why I don’t want to wear glasses fulltime. I guess at some point I’ll become more irritated by never having the right vision at the right range than by having glasses on my face at all times; but that hasn’t happened yet. 😉


  8. As a person plagued with shitty eyes from my teens (long and short vision) I’ve been (un)lucky enough to wear glasses constantly. I do get one weird aspect of phantom glasses as a result; when I’m actually not wearing them (after showering, before bed, when I want to look gorgeous and young not like a frustrated old biddy), I usually end up stabbing myself in the eye with my finger. Now I’m not sure why my finger needs to come into contact with my eyes quite so much, but it goes a helluva way to explain why my glasses always have fingerprint smudges on them.


  9. No fun, but when all else fails, get a good pair of no line bifocals. “Real” glasses ain’t what they used to be. They only look dorky if you want them to.


    • True! I’m not sure I could adjust to bifocals well, though – I’d probably have to go straight to trifocals with an uncorrected main lens plus a midrange and close section. I’m not looking forward to wearing glasses fulltime, though – I think I’ll swear and develop bad habits for a little while longer… 😉


  10. I hear you. My vision is all over the place, and I find I’m needing to wear reading glasses for small print. That’s in addition to my contacts. Without contacts in I wear progressive lenses. A fancy term for trifocals and beyond. 😁


  11. No Phantom Glasses Syndrome here… yet, Diane, although I think I will be developing one quite soon. That, or curvature of the spine as I find myself leaning in closer and closer to read things!
    When I used to wear glasses a few years ago (my eyesight improved so I had to stop wearing them!) my glasses were so lightweight, I didn’t know I had them on. I had to look for the frames around my vision to make sure!!! We’re a quirky lot, aren’t we? 😉


  12. I hated my glasses when I was younger and kinda refused to wear them. I did once sit on them and broke both arms. And had to get them repaired, my optician took pity on my and I got contacts I took to them like a duck to water. I do now wear glasses again though.
    When I first switched it used to frustrated me not being able to see when I first woke up and just before bed having taken the glasses off. I wear the all day, I’m not brave enough to wear them overnight though.

    I have been considering going back to contacts but as I did randomly flip people off trying to adjust glasses that aren’t there. I think everyone does it. I’ve seen friends for it after wearing normal sunglasses all day.


    • Right, I suppose that would be the same thing! Back when I was wearing contacts, the extended-wear ones were just coming out. They seemed like a good idea… but… I just never got around to trying them. After accidentally falling asleep wearing my regular contacts a couple of times and waking up with them welded to my eyeballs, I was too creeped out by the thought of having that happen every morning.

      I had LASIK surgery about 20 years ago, and it’s been great. So nice to have clear vision day and night! There was an adjustment with that, too, though: My eyes don’t focus as well now in low-light conditions and I instantly lost my ability to focus up close, which I could do as long as I was short-sighted. Still, I’m happy with the trade-off overall. Occasionally looking like a dork when I try to find my reading glasses is a small price to pay for being able to count the twigs on a tree on the other side of the yard!


  13. Instead of pushing my glasses up my nose, I adjust them by lifting them at the front corners. Ever since my cataract surgery, there’s much less difference between wearing and not wearing glasses, and this has led to a rash of poking myself in the eye. I’d really rather embarrass myself than poke my eye out, but it seems I haven’t been given the choice, maybe because I find lots of other ways to look stupid 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. This totally cracked me up. Yes, I have phantom glasses syndrom. I often wear contacts but sometimes wear glasses for several days in a row. After that, it takes me at least a day to stop pushing my invisible glasses up my nose.

    I’ve also had the experience of thinking I’m wearing my glasses when I’m not. Sometimes, I wake up before dawn and head downstairs for a drink of water, to pop in a load of laundry, let the dogs out or whatever. More than a few times, I’ve forgotten to put on my glasses and have been very confused about why everything is so blurry when I turn on the lights downstairs.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I tend to just let my glasses slip to the end of my nose and I look over the top of them. Have been known to stick them in my shirt and then walk around looking for my glass case only to find it empty and pair of glasses dangling from a button on my shirt. For years I’ve told the eye doc that my eyes are fine and that it’s my arms that are getting shorter.

    Actually I like your plan for patting your head, after all flipping off an audience should be saved for special, meaningful events.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, that’s an excellent point! I don’t speak in front of large audiences all that often, so it would be good to save something special for that. 😉

      I do the ‘peer over top’ thing, too, which works fine as long as I’m sitting down. As soon as I stand up, though, the ground in front of my feet is blurry so the glasses go right back up on the top of my head. There’s gotta be a better way…

      Liked by 1 person

  16. Sorry, no phantom glasses here. As a kid with phenomenal eyesight, I swore it would be the end of the world if I ever had to correct my vision with glasses and not also obtain correction of peripheral vision as well. Then, almost to the day I turned 40, I suddenly could no longer read any of the small print on anything any more. From the day I got glasses, I barely removed them from my face. I never lose them because if they aren’t on my face they are either being cleaned or repaired. Because I like to read myself to sleep, the glasses stay on all night too. Yes, I know I’m the weirdest of all weirdos for sleeping in my glasses, but on the other hand, since they aren’t rolling around piles of junk on the night stand and counters or falling to the floor, my glasses stay unscratched.

    Liked by 1 person

    • That’s fabulous! My mom was the same – her glasses were permanently on her face, even when she was swimming.

      So you must notice the same oddball feeling that I had when I wore glasses fulltime: When you do actually take them off for a few moments, your face feels naked and dangerously exposed – it’s like driving without a seatbelt or operating woodworking tools without safety goggles.

      …Or maybe I’m just a freak.

      …Or maybe that’s not a ‘maybe’. 😉

      Liked by 2 people

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