My First "Prescriptions" (before most of you were born!)

Since beginning this restorative journey, I have been fascinated by the whole adolescent ciliary-muscle-spasm business. Since my story as a 13-year-old was the typical “can’t see the blackboard” tale, I have wished that I had any idea what my prescriptions had been over the years. I had been taken, during my teen years, to a rather historic and impressive eye hospital in Johnson City, Tennesse, which is where I had all my examinations until I got contacts during late university years. But, almost on a lark, I sent an e-mail on Friday (without much hope) to that hospital asking for my records from the 1960s. I had an immediate courteous reply promising to order research in their files, and now after four days, I have these records!

While I have learned to read prescriptions when transcribed by people here on Endmyopia, and I know how to write prescriptions when I order lenses, there is quite a bit that I am not sure of in these handwritten records. Can someone be kind enough to interpret them for me? I’m very interested in the progression (and now, happy regression) of my refractive state.


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Odd, the “Without and With” pinhole measurements. Do you recall being tested with pinhole glasses?

I have no idea what that means.

thats incredible that you still have it!

Sorry, I was born in 1945, so have beaten you to it. :smile:

If you have not already looked up pinhole glasses, here is a link.
Pinhole Glasses: Nearsightedness, Astigmatism, and More.

I was interested in your astigmatism - it remained stable in the years covered by these prescriptions. Has it remained stable since then?

I have no idea. The only thing that I know about recent prescriptions is what was on my boxes of contacts, which tell me nothing about astygmatism.

And, by the way, I didn’t know that those documents indicate astygmatism, and the fact that I can’t make out the information on them is the reason for my inquiry above. What do they tell you about astygmatism, if I may ask? I am aware of no astygmatism issues affecting my vision.

Your astigmatism corrections were -0.75 x 105 and -0.75 x 90 on the first prescription and stayed pretty constant after that, with a 0.25 increase in the last prescription, and only a small change in axis of astigmatism. This is not much astigmatism, and may have been left off when you started wearing contact lenses. If you have no astigmatism correction now, consider yourself lucky to have dropped one complication along the way. :smile: If you still insist on finding out about astigmatism, have a look at the guide we are working on. Working Group on Astigmatism Guide. This may be more information than you need. :wink:


My attempt on reading these old prescriptions:

Using the example of Age13:
Eyes without correction : 20/60 and 20/50 (On Snellen this corresponds to ~-1.25D)
With -1.25D correction with pinhole glasses: 20/25 both eyes (this is ~-.025D but negligible)
Full 20/20 vision could be achieved with the following test lenses
OD:-1.25SPH -0.75CYL axis 105
OS: -1.37SPH -0.75CYL axis 90

For the rest in general:

Vision without / with / pinhole line:

  • Without
    So they first meaured your vision on Snellen without any corrections.
    In my opinion this only makes sense up to about -1.5D above that the chart is just too much outside of your bubble to get anything clear, not matter the letter size. In your case it only made real sense with the first reading, the rest was outside of -1.5D
  • With
    Measurement with test lenses (I guess SPH only)
  • Pinhole
    Visual acuity when cutting out the out-of-focus rays (see more at the end of the post)
    If this doesn’t bring you to 20/20 then you have an issue with the eye.
    If this brings you to 20/20 then cyl is the solution.

And then the summary of the measurements:
The last 2 rows, OD / OS shows what corrections you needed for 20/20 vision.
You were always corrected to 20/20.
And then you always have the SPH, the CYL and the axis.
Your main diopter got worse and worse each year, your cyl stayed the same or reduced, and the axis is unchanged (did you have the same room with the same desk and same lights at home for studying?)

Interesting parts:
You have -1.37 at the age of 13 and -2.87 at the age of 16 => It looks like the test lens could measure eigth of diopters not just quarters.
I wonder if then you got -1.37 and -2.87 in actual glasses or just the quarter near it.

At age 15 they added colour blindness. Are you colour blind? or was it a temporary observation?

Here is how the pinhole glass works.
“A pinhole occluder is an opaque disk with many small holes through it, used to test visual acuity. The occluder is a simple way to focus light, as in a pinhole camera, temporarily removing the effects of refractive errors. Since light passes only through the center of the eye’s lens, defects in the shape of the lens (errors of refraction) have no effect while the occluder is used. In this way we can estimate the maximum improvement in a patient’s vision that can be attained by lenses to correct errors of refraction. This can be used to distinguish visual defects caused by refractive error, which improve when the occluder is used, from other problems, which do not.”

Search brought up this guy with the beard and a video about pinhole glasses :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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Many, many thanks, Bianca for going to the trouble of that very fine explanation!

And, yes, I am color-blind but had no idea of it until that day, which my little brother recently reminded me of, because he was in the room.

A possibly amusing sequel to that is that, on the next Sunday afternoon when the compulsory visit from the grandparents, with garden tour and discussion of my appearance was in conversational progress, my grandmother, when she heard about the color-blindness, expressed disbelief, saying that no such thing had ever been known in our family. Whereupon her husband of many decades, a man of few words, admitted that he was totally shades-of-grey colorblind (unlike me, who am only partially colorblind). So little do people often know of other people’s vision issues! (And she never had been able to understand why he was so bad at picking strawberries!)

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Thanks, Ursa. I am completely unaware of any astigmatism problems.

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Lucky for you. It goes to show that if you do not start correcting for it it might go away on its own.

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Said another way


Have you tried those color-blind correcting sunglasses? Supposedly they’re amazing for some people. I guess it just filters out light in the muddled region where the perceived colors are overlapping. The people they work for are blown away by it.

No, I haven’t heard about them. And I don’t want to try any other manipulations of my vision at this point when my emphasis needs to be on myopia. But thanks for the alert. I’ll look into them. (I have several observations to make about my experience with colors in AF but will save that for another time.)

There’s a bunch of (oddly moving) youtube videos of people trying them on for the first time. If they work they work right away to allow full-color vision, I don’t think you have to adapt to them like prescription lenses or anything. Might be fun for the novelty factor if nothing else. You could probably return them to Amazon if they’re no good or don’t work for you.

Boy sees COLOR for the first time! - YouTube

Something to try some day when you’re bored. :slight_smile:

There’s a lot of misunderstanding about color-blindness. I am classified as “red-green” color-blind. That doesn’t mean that I can’t see red or green. I see all the colors. My colors are just different from other people’s and some combinations don’t work well for me. This is revealed in the tests in which people see numbers that I don’t see. When I was a consultant for a major classical record label, all album covers were passed through me because my level of color-blindness is common among males (inherited through the mother, like baldness, without her being either color-blind or bald), and sales would be hurt if those men couldn’t read the covers. So I’m puzzled by that video. If the child had never seen colors before, as is implied by his surprise and joy, how did he instantly recognize and name individual colors? I’m suspicious.

That’s the Daily Mail sensationalizing the headline. The way the glasses work is that for many colorblind people there are frequencies of the spectrum that are triggering both your red and your green color receptors so you’re seeing something like brown instead of red or green because colors in that zone of overlap are hitting both receptors the way brown might.

red green overlap

The glasses act like a notch filter for the frequency band that is hitting that zone of overlap. If have that particular type of red-green colorblindness then it should work for you. It doesn’t cure anything or change your color perception permanently or anything like that, but it might give you very clear distinctions between red and green and let you see color a lot differently (better red-green distinction at least) while you have them on.

There are thousands of similar videos on youtube from people who have tried them. How well they work depends on how well your situation lines up with the frequency they block. Some people get a very dramatic visual experience out of them.

For some colorblind people, donning EnChroma lenses is nothing short of life-changing. For others, the experience is lackluster.

Depending on what type of red-green colorblindness you have, the glasses will or won’t work. If you have only red and blue receptors (dichromat) the glasses won’t do anything for you. If you’re an “anomalous trichromat” and the notch filter lines up with the zone of overlap they might be great.

It’s one of those five-star or zero-star products. [I wouldn’t spend money on it without knowing whether or not it would work for you but if you got a chance to try it for free sometime it seems like it would be a cool thing to try.]

That in no way describes my color-blindness. My reds are red and my greens are green. Only browns are brown.

I have no idea which kind of red-green colorblindess you have or what your subjective experience of color perception is like and I’m not trying to tell you anything about your eyes. I’m just saying if you happen to have one particular type of red-green colorblindness there are some people who seem to get some kind of impressive visual experience or improvement from some glasses that have been invented, so it might be a cool thing for you to try some day if you haven’t heard about it or tried it already.

edit: I’m not trying to tell you how to live your life (I hope that isn’t how it comes across), just letting you know about some invention that sounds cool to me that might or might not be useful to you.