Great Britain

Glasses are seen as taboo, especially for young women – but this specs-hating culture is sadly shortsighted


n telly very few people wear glasses unless they’re advertising specs, in which case, “look at all the happy glasses wearers”. In real life, loads of us need our vision correcting and, personally, my glasses are the first thing I reach for in the morning and the last thing I take off at night. Most people I know, even if they aren’t full-time specs wearers, need some for reading or driving, but this is never reflected in dramas on the box. No one ever opens a letter and then has to scrabble around in the fruit bowl for their reading specs. Similarly, the baddie fleeing the crime never has to reach in the glove compartment for his getaway driving glasses. On-screen everyone has 20/20 vision, especially women, unless they are cast as plain or clever.

Apart from being madly shortsighted, I also suffer with a boring syndrome called dry eye disease. This condition, which is especially prevalent amongst post-menopausal women, has begun to strike much younger folk of both sexes, mostly due to lifestyle choices, and the pandemic is making it worse.

Before we get onto that, let me just put you straight about dry eye disease. It’s one of those conditions that once you’ve got it, you can’t get rid of it. It’s treatable but not curable. For me, this means hot compresses, drops and sleeping with cling film patches over my eyes. This last fact is something most people can’t get their heads around, that every night, once my eyes are loaded with lubricating ointment, I cut two squares of cling film, close my eyes and attach the patches to my face. The cling film helps to form an overnight moisture chamber and ensures my eyes feel comfortable for most of the next day. Around 7pm, they’re dry again and I start to reach for my preservative-free drops and microwavable hot compress. All this is doable, until it isn’t.

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