Broken Glasses

Peace Corps / Friday, April 13th, 2012

I’ve decided there’s something wrong with American vision correction. I discovered this today while I had the easiest eye exam of my life and bought the cheapest glasses of my life, in Ukraine.

While I was vacationing in Spain, I mysteriously broke my glasses while I was sleeping. I took them off when I returned from the bar, set them on top of my bag inside my locker the hostel provided, and went to sleep. When I opened my locker in the morning, I found the broken glasses. My guess is that they either slipped off my bag and were smushed against the locker, or they were caught in the hinge of the locker, causing them to snap. I doubt if I’ll ever know for sure.

Tradtional eye exams in America consist of the eye doctor putting some fancy glasses in front of my face and asking me which is better, one or two. He’ll flip back and forth between the two a couple of times but honestly, it’s not enough for me. When I’m looking at one, I can’t remember what two was like and vice versa. I don’t know which is better so I guess. I think this affects my prescription, if only a small amount.

In Ukraine, I sat in front of a machine, rested my chin on a small ledge and my forehead on another. Then the machine was lined up with my eye and I watched as a red barn in a field came in and out of focus. It took about two minutes for each eye and somehow it determined my prescription. It was easy and there was no anxiety over choosing which was better.

The last time I bought glasses, I opted for the cheapest, most generic black frames I could find. The frames alone cost $50 and then there were fees for the lenses. Today, I did the same thing, opted for the most generic frames I could find. The frames, along with the lenses cost 260 UAH (roughly $32.25). Other volunteers joked that they were going to stockpile on frames in Ukraine and then just get lenses as they needed new prescriptions when they’re back in America.

The best part of my day, following the realization of having to return to Kiev next week just to pick up my new glasses (a six-hour round-trip), was setting it up so the glasses could be delivered to me. We have our Meet Your Neighbor meeting next Thursday in Sumy, and my regional manager will be there heading it. Fortunately, she’ll be in the office the day my glasses are ready and will bring them with her to the meeting, saving me a day of travel. The only way it could have been better was if my glasses had never broken in the first place.

2 Replies to “Broken Glasses”

Leave a Reply