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My eyes are dim


Monday was a banner day. After waiting at a walk-in clinic to learn I can’t hear out of my right ear because “sometimes ears just get that way,” I went to the eye doctor where I learned my eyes are failing rapidly. I’ve worn contact lenses my entire life and apparently that’s not good. Plus, I stare at a screen all day, either writing on my laptop or reading on my Kindle. Even though I’ve dialed up the fonts as large as they’ll go, it’s still a strain on my eyes.

So I’m in glasses while my eyes heal. At night, I wear ointment. Ointment! That’s a sexy word. In a few weeks, we can reassess. I don’t see well in glasses, and my eyes are too dry for laser correction, so I’m not sure where we will land. The problem is mainly with my right eye, so perhaps I can wear a jaunty patch and bring the whole pirate look back. If nothing else, I can rock Halloween.

I hate not being able to see, as reading is my life. Plus I like to go to the gym and eye glasses are a pain during step class.

The only positive thing in all of this is that my Christian Dior cat-eye trifocals cover up my sun damage and the magnification gives me those of-the-moment manga eyes.

Everything has started falling apart and the worst part is whenever I go to the doctor, they tell me this is normal. I’m simply at the age where I need to wear several pairs of reading glasses to read a recipe or help my children with their homework. Often I see women–much older than me–with full-time caregiving responsibilities for their grandkids. How do they do it? The very idea makes me want to take a nap.

I’ve always been OK with aging: It beats the alternative. Somehow I thought this attitude would shelter me from the storm, but as soon as it started messing with my eyesight, aging felt personal. And now, like Dylan Thomas, I, too, rage against the dying of the light.

Lately I’ve been listening to podcasts about aging and have been mainlining evening primrose oil, omega 3s and slathering myself in yam cream. I know it’s important to embrace things with an open heart and to focus on the positive. I’m trying to focus on the good things about aging. Age has taught me how to avoid bad men, terrible fashion trends and that most movies aren’t worth seeing until they end up on Netflix. And thanks to my newly deadened tastebuds, I thoroughly enjoy cruciferous vegetables.

How are you embracing aging? Loving it, tolerating it or putting your head in the sand? Let’s discuss. Just make sure you talk into my good ear.


Just a reminder that we are kicking off the 1010 Park Place book club in November. Our first pick is Holly Robinson’s Folly Cove. Click on the link for more information.

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With an MBA in Finance, JEN LAWRENCE worked in investment banking; was Executive Director of a Children’s Museum and is a pioneer mommy blogger. Jen writes and speaks about women in business, critical thinking, strategic planning and is the author of Engage the Fox: A Business Fable About Thinking Critically and Motivating Your Team. When your world’s been blown apart, Jen Lawrence can help you pull yourself together, and pinpoint those next steps that will help you find your new normal. She can also be found at

17 thoughts on “My eyes are dim”

  1. Jen, I love your writing. You bring humour and grace to your subjects – even ones like diminishing hearing and eye sight! Esther xx

  2. I’ve always had bad eyes, but a few years ago contact lens no longer corrected for my astigmatism, so I now wear glasses. As far as hearing… I was doing fine until a recent rock concert where I sat directly in front of speakers that were the size of Suburbans. What did you say?… Oh, Tuesday will be fine. xoxox, Brenda

    • Lol. Yes, rock concerts are bad. Every time I’m at one, I swear it’s the last time. But then, someone else comes to town and I’m there all over again. We can all yell at each other in the seniors’ home. On the plus side, we’ll all look fabulous to each other even if we don’t! xoxo

  3. You’re right…aging is all good until something of importance goes haywire. Even the small things with aging begin to noticeably become annoying. But, it’s good to keep a sense of humor about it, which it seems you are.

  4. I enjoy the freedom of being less of a people-pleaser (at least most of the time) . Having lived through what is “history” for younger people gives a less frantic perspective on current events. Recently, several friends my age, and younger, have died, so I appreciate each day that I have that much more.

  5. Oh my God! I’m going through the exact same thing down to the night ointment. Its also my right eye that’s been going haywire. I’ve been wearing contacts my whole life and at 60 (42 years later) its starting to catch up with me. So happy to hear I’m not alone. Let’s hope we both get what we need in the optical department. I’ve also had to wear glasses and don’t dig them. Give me back my contacts!

  6. YOURE RIGHT… aging beats the alternative.
    And a great sense of humor is a bonus as everything else heads south.
    (Literally, and figuratively, in the Northern Hemisphere.)

  7. I don’t think I would accept “ears sometimes are like that” although I’ve had a bit of a hearing loss (apparently thanks to an antibiotic I took for an ear infection; how ironic is that?). Reading this, I am grateful, however, that I never tried contact lenses. I’ve been wearing glasses since age 4 (all the time since around age 8) and I guess glasses have become a part of me.

  8. Sadly, I ‘smell what you are cooking’. It started with the radio in the car and the TV downstairs when I was walking on the threadmill ( yes, no running thanks to my aging knees). I thought it needed to be louder so I could hear my show over the squeak of the machine but it turns out our neighbours knew what I was watching and my husband found that too humorous for me to continue exercising. So after a doctor visit where I was told maybe I needed to clean my ears ( what? If you know me, you know I buy Qtips at Costco more than twice a year) an if that didn’t work, to accept that at my age that’s normal (I am 45!!). Anyway…here I am yelling at my family and two pairs of glasses ( one for far and one for near) and I am seriously considering finding one of those little pearly strings that go around your neck so you don’t lose your glasses. Add to that the night mouth guard to keep me from grinding my teeth in my sleep, an I am just the picture of sexy vixen. I hear you girl. Maybe not loud o clear, but I hear you 😉

  9. I believe that’s Yam Ointment. You are reminding me of my last optometrist appointment Jen. I had just been prescribed a stronger prescription again. “Doc,” I ask, “Again? What’s wrong with my eyes??”. She responds with measured cadence, tiger tapping on her chin, ” You just may have O.L.D”.

    “Doc… O.L.D…. O.L.D… What’s that ?”

    My optometrist is as funny a doctor as you are a writer. You both keep me in stitches

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