"Pass 'em over," said our good friend Joe, to his wife, as we all peered at our menus in the darkened restaurant, trying in vain to read the tiny print without using the reading glasses that were making the rounds.
Sooner or later, many Canadians will find themselves stretching their arms out to the point of shoulder dislocation, or using a magnifying glass from their child's science kit to read the fine print on medications, food packages, smartphone screens and more, before they give in to having to buy the inevitable reading glasses.
Why does this happen? With age, the eye loses elasticity. It's a condition called presbyopia and it leads to blurred vision, most often affecting those over the age of 40.
Ingrid Kasaks, a credit card executive has had reading glasses for about two years, and she's not a fan. "Honestly I hate them especially at work where I have a laptop in front of me, but then in presentations which are displayed on a wall they have to come off" she sighs. "Looking at people they go on and then reading the paper in front or laptop they are back down." She laughs "And somehow they are constantly smudged."
Kasaks isn't alone. How much do we hate wearing our reading glasses? A recent Leger survey conducted for Lasik MD showed that 25 per cent of Canadians surveyed would be ready to spend an extra 30 minutes on their commute if they could get rid of reading glasses; 21 per cent of those surveyed would be willing to pack on five more pounds for freedom from reading specs. There were regional differences, however.
• In Ontario, 21.8 per cent of those surveyed agreed or strongly agreed with the statement that they would rather add 30 minutes to their daily commute if they could read without glasses. In Quebec, that number was slightly higher, at 22.8 per cent.
• Of Quebeckers asked if they would prefer to gain five pounds if they could eliminate the need for reading glasses, 25.4 per cent agreed or strongly agreed; in Ontario, that sentiment was lower at 22.6 per cent.
• Regionally, those in Alberta were most likely to agree with the statement that wearing reading glasses would make them feel old, with 29.6 per cent of those asked saying it would. The lowest number of Canadians who agreed: 19.2 per cent in Atlantic Canada.
• When it came to finding the need for reading glasses at work being the most bothersome, Albertans again agreed in the highest number, 40.3 per cent. Atlantic Canada residents again showed the lowest number in agreement, with only 28.1 per cent.
• Just over 25 per cent of Manitoba/Saskatchewan residents surveyed (25.4 per cent) agree or strongly agree they would rather gain five pounds than wear reading glasses.
• While 28.4 per cent of Ontario residents surveyed said reading glasses made them feel old, only 26.1% of Quebecers agreed with that sentiment.
• However, residents of the two provinces were practically in agreement about not liking the need for reading glasses at work, with Ontario respondents coming in at 34.6 per cent and Quebecers at 32.8 per cent.
So what's the solution? Some people are candidates and if they think laser surgery for presbyopia is for them, they could consult a medical professional while others will continue use more conventional means, like mom of two Robynne Ostry.
"I wear the reading glasses most of the time and it makes my life easier" she admits. "On the days that I don't wear them I get annoyed that I can't see the small stuff and have to root around to find some, which we do try to keep around the house in various places."
If you had to find a pair to read this article, you'll know where she's coming from, even if you can't quite see it from there.
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