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By Staff | Jan 28, 2009

When you hear the word “cheater” what comes to mind? The kid that sat next to you in math class and copied your test answers. When your doctor tells you to cut back on food and diet to lose weight, you then order a double cheeseburger and fries covered in gravy plus a diet drink to comply with you doctor’s orders. Or perhaps an illicit affair between two people may come to mind.

These are a few ways we cheat on others and ourselves sometimes in daily life, but the point of this story is the cheating we do to compensate for our aging eyes.

The first sign of cheating is often when you are reading a magazine or newspaper and feel the need to hold the printed page at arm’s length to see the words clearly.

Next, at a yard sale you see a kid’s small plastic magnifying glass on a table for a nickel, and you buy it, confident you can quietly slip it into your pocket to read fine print and hope no one will notice.

Then one day while you are checking out of a discount store you see a pair of reading glasses for just one dollar. You tell yourself that you don’t really need them, but you pick them up and place them on the counter and check out anyway.

The first time you need the small glasses you look around to see who may notice if you are using the cheap reading glasses. Causally you remove them from your pocket; you slip them on the end of your nose to see last night’s ball game scores. At first you are reluctant to let others see you with the small pair of readers in your daily routine. You have joined the ranks of cheaters who secretly need those checkout counter cheap glasses.

After a while the 1.5 magnification of the cheaters is no longer enough to read the small print of your evening paper. You return to the discount store and take the test. You know the test, the one where you try on different magnifications and try to read one of the five lines that has progressively smaller print. After trying a couple pairs you find a set of cheaters that make it easier for you to read the eyeglass test. You can see the words with the 2x magnification, but the 2.5x magnification makes the words much clearer.

By this stage in your battle with diminishing eyesight your vanity has gone by the wayside. You find yourself wearing your cheaters more and more to function in the daily world of printed material.

The inexpensive cost of readers causes us to become collectors of the cheap reading glasses. We have a pair in our coat pocket or purse. A pair that slides back and forth across your truck’s dash. And when you open your car’s glove box, two pairs fall to the floor.

In your home there is a pair you keep on the bathroom shelf. The ones you keep on the kitchen table your wife keeps moving to the junk drawer next to the sink. Another pair in the bedroom that has one of the ear covers missing, but no matter, you read for only a few minutes before falling off to sleep anyway.

In the small wicker basket that your wife keeps beside your favorite chair is your TV remote and three pair of readers. Each pair has a different magnification that you have accumulated over time. Each evening you try a different pair on until you find the ones you need to see the buttons on the remote.

At the beginning of being a cheater you hide the cheap glasses in your pocket so no one will see them. By the end of denial you share your one dollar readers with anyone who needs them for a moment to cheat the loss of eyesight.

As we age Mother Nature plays a cruel joke on each of us and turns us into cheaters.

We use the dollar glasses to tell ourselves we really don’t need prescription glasses. We convince ourselves we only need them occasionally and see no reason to visit the optometrist.

For just one dollar plus tax we try and stave off one of the curses of old age. Then at a restaurant, looking over your cheaters to read the menu, a young lady asks to take your order and informs you about the seniors discount special that evening.

Mother Nature has cheated you out of perfect vision at the same time the world cheats you out of the dream of youth and makes you charge your next meal on an AARP discount card. With my cheaters of 3x magnification I’ll see you Thru The Lens.