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Danny Tyree: Does anybody else out there hate bifocals?

Posted: October 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: October 7, 2013 2:00 a.m.

This summer, shortly after turning 53, I finally “upgraded” to bifocal eyeglasses, and I must admit that I am underwhelmed.

Don’t label me unpatriotic just because I don’t turn somersaults for this invention by Founding Father Ben Franklin. I’m not anxious to wear a potbellied stove on my face, either.

I was in denial about needing glasses at all until high school. Until about the time Fonzie made it cool to wear eyeglasses in one (later neglected) episode of “Happy Days,” I just compensated by sitting as close to the front of the classroom as possible, no matter what it took.

Maybe now you’ll understand the cryptic, misleading “Lap dances well with others” notation in my Permanent Record.
I’ve probably been eligible for a bifocal prescription for a decade or more, but one optometrist told me I could keep a regular prescription if I was willing to take my glasses off in order to read close up.

I was happy to oblige because I considered bifocals to be a sign of (ugh!) aging.

I didn’t want to give up all the accolades of strangers, who were always shouting, “Look how that young whippersnapper rocks his double chin, gray stubble, male pattern baldness and crows’ feet!”

I gave in to the inevitable partly because I found myself having to whip off my glasses an exasperating number of times per day and partly because we finally got vision care insurance.

I wish I had read the fine print. The insurance does a great job of paying 100 percent if you merely want some frames to fool Lois Lane. If you actually, you know, NEED some help, it gets a lot stingier. (“Ooo! Beauty was in the eye of the beholder! Preexisting condition! Too bad!”)

Despite all my caterwauling, I acknowledge that I’m not as bad off as some people who wear bifocals.

I have never had the severe headaches or stomach-emptying nausea. It’s more a matter of aggravation, distraction and split-second disorientation. (Was that a cloaked Predator alien I just caught a glimpse of?)
With the hope that springs eternal within the human retina, I always expect a quantum leap improvement when I get a new pair of spectacles; but usually I have to content myself with some marginal advance.

I guess I’m spoiled; I realize that a person with a new prosthetic limb will have to adapt and adjust, but I expected my newfangled “progressive” lenses to be “plug and play.”

I am heartened to know that ongoing research seeks to eliminate the limited field of vision in current bifocals. I just wish the scientists were receiving more funding.

I keep fuming about precious dollars being diverted to pressing issues such as The Sociological Impact of Flatulence In Underwater Basket-Weaving Mussels. At least I can see RED with my current glasses.

Until the new miracle lenses are available, I’ll have to accentuate the positive and content myself with a “glass half full” philosophy. 

As they say, “In the kingdom of the blind, the one-eyed man is king and the man with bifocals is prime minister — until he gets dizzy at the top of the stairs and tumbles all the way down and learns his medical coverage is just as pathetic as his vision insurance.”


©2013 Danny Tyree. Tyree welcomes reader e-mail responses at His weekly column is distributed exclusively by Cagle Cartoons Inc. newspaper syndicate.


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