I’m sitting in a lecture theatre during my first year of uni when I scan the huge room hoping to spot someone with the same look as myself on their face. Confusion. Not confusion over the topic, confusion over the fact that there is obviously something wrong with the projector that is beaming our presentation up onto the giant white projector screen.
The words are blurry, the pictures cannot be made out and I can’t be the only one too concerned about the impression I’m going to make by telling our lecturer they clearly don’t know how to use technology. Why hasn’t anyone spoken up? I think to myself.
I struggle through the next hour, trying to improve my vision by squinting. Hallelujah! That works. But only for a few minutes before my eyes start to hurt and I can squint no more. I decide I can’t sit through the next semester with this problem and lean over to the girl sitting a chair down from me to ask if she’s noticed the same problem with the blurry screen.
“I’m not sure what you’re talking about,” she squawks back, annoyed that I’ve disrupted her through her frantic typing of notes. “There’s nothing wrong with the projector, maybe you need to go get your eyes checked,” she suggests before returning to her keyboard.
I was 19, never had any problems with my vision and fairly certain I had a few more years ahead of me before I would need to invest in a pair of glasses. As soon as I got out of the lecture I rang my mum to tell her about my bizarre experience. Working for a health fund, she quickly booked me in an appointment with an optometrist.
I thought I had years ahead of me before I would need to invest in a pair of glasses. Image: iStock.
When I presented myself at the appointment I was met by a short man with a bald patch and thick black rimmed glasses who ushered me into a chair before performing an eye examination. You’re probably aware of the ones. They go something like this:
Which lens is clearer, left or right?
Can you see the hot air balloon in the distance?
Can you read all of the letters on the third line? Okay what about the fourth and fifth?
Then a puff of air in the eye to conclude.
A few days later my phone began to ring. I answered to hear my optometrist speaking back to me as I heard the words, “Valentina, you’re short sighted and need to come back in so you can choose a pair of glasses.” As soon as the phone call ended everything clicked.