I apologize for disappearing for a while, but there's a good reason for it. If I wasn't 25 I'd probably start to develop a complex about now and think that I was getting old. First I hurt my knee running during Thanksgiving and I'm still a bit gimpy. Now there's this!
For the past couple months I've been battling off and on headaches; headaches that do not make painting or sitting in front of the computer very much fun. Within the past week the headaches have grown worse! Amidst the uncool jokes from my husband saying that I had a brain-tumor, it was suggested to me that maybe I should get an eye exam. I thought "That's crazy! I have fantastic, almost super-human vision! I don't need an eye exam." I always had great vision growing up; never needed glasses or contacts. I always loved to play "The Alphabet Game" on long car rides with the family growing. You know "The Alphabet Game," right? It's the game where you try to be the first person to get through the alphabet by spotting words on billboards, bumper stickers, and the like. For example you see a billboard for Applebee's, there's your 'A'; now you move onto 'B.' 'Q' was always a tough one. If you got to 'Q' first you prayed that the car would pass a Quality Inn, otherwise you'd be stuck there and everyone else would catch up to you. 'Q' was the worst. Anyway, I digress.
So I started thinking, "Well...it has been at least 11 years since I've had an eye exam;" so I called up the eye doctor and scheduled an appointment. When I arrived I had a seat in the waiting area where I enjoyed a short educational program on cataracts. Did you know that there are three different kinds of cataracts? I know all about them now and I am well prepared to recognize the symptoms when and if they begin to appear in about 50 years.
Pretty soon I was called back for my exam. I've got to say, that first puff of air that they blow into your eye really catches you off guard. They also took pictures of the inside of my eyeballs, which was really cool to see. Well, when they take the pictures you really CAN'T see for a minute or two. That is one bright light they flash in your eye. What's really fun is trying to walk and follow someone down a hall right after they take the picture, and you can't see where you are going because all you have is that after-image in your field of vision from the flash so you're temporarily blind. There's a photo of what the inside of your eye looks like. Mine looked pretty similar to that.
Anyway, it turns out I need glasses. The doctor asked me about how much time I spend in front of the computer. I told him not as much as someone who sits at a computer all day at a desk job, but then I told him I spend the time that I'm not on the computer painting with my face close to a canvas or tiny wooden tile. Apparently I have trouble focusing on things up close, which I had no idea that I did, and with all the extra paintings and pendants I created in the months leading up to Christmas it really put a strain on my eyes which led to my headaches. So the doctor asked for some of my business cards (score!) and gave me a weak prescription for some glasses. He told me I should paint a portrait based on the photo of the inside of my eyeball, and I said that yes, it would make for an interesting self-portrait.
I'll spare you the details of the painful experience of picking out frames. I felt like Sarah Palin was watching me the whole time. There was a big smiling poster of her beside some glasses that looked like hers. I also have a larger than normal head, which made almost every pair of glasses I tried on look like glasses that belong to a child. It's embarrassing and oh so sad.
So my point in sharing this story with you is that if you are an artist who works up close with your art all day and you are having headaches or eye pain, go get an eye check up. You may need glasses or a change in prescription. I think technically you're supposed to get an eye exam every year, but I won't tell anyone.