Considering a monocle

Three years ago I noticed my vision was a little out of focus — highway signs were a little blurred and I started compulsively cleaning my eyeglasses, believing that they were smudged or, after a while, scratched. So I went off to the opthamologist for a new pair, the first time I had seen an MD about my eyes in a few years (having used the usual optometrist services attached to places like LensCrafters).

The doc looked into my eyes and asked me how old I was. 45. Did I work around hazardous chemicals? No. Was I a weightlifter? No. Did I use steroids? No.


I had cataracts. A clouded lens in my left eye with a less clouded one in my right. Excellent. I had a vision of wearing a pair of these for the rest of my life.

On my way to my AARP membership and a walker twenty years too soon. I was bummed. I needed surgery, not a new pair of glasses, so I called my buddy, Dr. Dan and he referred me to an eye surgeon at Mass Eye and Ear, Dr. Dmitri Azar. Azar did the procedure under local. Essentially he zapped the old lense, broke it up ultrasonically, sucked it out of a tiny incision and replaced the lens with a plastic one.

I felt like someone poured a mixture of Tabasco sauce and powdered glass in my eye, and got to sport a pirate’s eyepatch for a couple weeks. Today, left eye is awesome, but I have to wear a contact lens in my bad right eye.

This sucks. I liked glasses. I’ve worn them since I was 12 years old. I wake up in the morning and I see the left half of the world just fine, but need to stick a floppy piece of plastic into my right eye. I still need glasses to read, so I constantly am running to the drugstore to spend another $10 on a pair of cheap reading specs.

I went to an optometrist and asked for a special pair of glasses. Essentially a clear piece of glass over the eye with the artificial lense implant, and a corrective lens for the right. Logical? Nope. The optometrist decided he had to correct some of the cataract eye and came up with a pair of glasses that make me cross-eyed. Literally. I want to throw up when I wear them.

It is time to get a monocle.

We’re talking Mr. Peanut. German generals in World War One. The Monopoly Tycoon.

From the Wikipedia:

“A monocle was generally associated with rich upper-class men. Combined with a morning coat and top-hat, it completed the costume of the stereotypical Capitalist in the game of Monopoly. Monocles were also stereotypical accessories of German military officers from this period, especially from the First World War, where the stereotypical German Oberst would plot the demise of enemy forces with monocle in place to examine attack charts. German officers who actually wore a monocle include Erich Ludendorff, Walter von Reichenau, Hans von Seeckt and Hugo Sperrle.

Monocles were most prevalent in the late 19th Century but are rarely worn today. This is due in large part to advances in optometry which allow for better measurement of refractive error, so that glasses and contact lenses can be prescribed with different strengths in each eye, and also to a reaction from stereotypes that became associated with them. The monocle did, however, garner a following in the stylish lesbian circles of the mid 20th century, with lesbians donning a monocle for effect. Such women included Una Lady Troubridge, Radclyffe Hall, and Weimar German reporter Sylvia von Harden.”

Now to find one.

Author: David Churbuck

Cape Codder with an itch to write

0 thoughts on “Considering a monocle”

  1. Well David I can picture a sailor with an eye patch, but somehow the monocle doesn’t fit with quahogs. Maybe if you got a cane and top hat.


  2. Since we celebrated “talk like a pirate day” last week, perhaps it’s time to do a “talk like a prussian general day.”

    Talk to Charlie Atchue at Atchue Opticians in Worcester, MA – if he can’t find it or make it, it can’t be had. He’s also got enough of a sense of humor that he’d probably go above and beyond just to say he did it…

  3. Actually, I’ve been thinking about getting one myself. My wife wears one contact so she can read with her non-dominant eye. I’ve got 20-20, but at 55 years old, I’m starting to have a little trouble reading in poor light. If my wife can have one contact, why can’t we have one eyeglass? Check out this website:

  4. Well David I can picture a sailor with an eye patch, but somehow the monocle doesn’t fit with quahogs. Maybe if you got a cane and top hat.


  5. Well David,
    Actually, I have produced a cataract monocle for my left eye which has been assisting my vision for a considerable time. I have spoken of it at length, during the evolution of the design, on Skin Cell Forum, in the General Health Section. I have actually made nine monocles at this point, but several were designed for testing purposes rather than for daily use. I actually use three of these monocles (only one at a time of course). One is most useful for reading, another for watching TV, and the third for driving.

    I dropped in to read your comment, titled Considering A Monocle, on because you too were dealing with a cataract, and might be a fellow traveler in the land of invention and innovation. All inventors need to be as diligent as they can to assure that their product in development is not one that would infringe on other prior work of another.

    It was a relief to see that your comment was a general and speculative one, and did not represent a product of your design and original contruction. That is to say, nothing in your remarks suggests that you, or anyone assisting you with your vision has developed anything that is “new to the art.”

    But since you are having difficulty with a cataract, and are considering a monocle to deal with it, you should know a bit about the limitations of this approach.

    First, you are exceedingly unlikely to get an ophthalmologist to go in this direction with your treatment. I know this with a considerable degree of certainty.

    Second, even the cataract monocle I have produced, will very likely only be usable for perhaps a year or two. I am blind in my right eye because of an untreated advanced cataract that is well beyond the stage that could be helped at all by a cataract monocle. And I expect that, even with my left eye, the great usefulness of this monocle will come to an end in 2009. This will force me to get the right eye surgical lens replacement, or get a white cane with a red tip. There are some nutritional interventions which may delay the worsening of cataracts, but none which I have found will arrest or reliably reverse cataract development.

    I hope this provided you with a little food for thought.

  6. i was wondering if you knew, is it possible to change the lenses for seeing at farther distances?

    and if thats possible, i’ll have to find a place that will change the lense to a perscription one…
    do you think there will be any hope in that?

    im just curious, and i havnt succeeded in any of my searches for the answers

    thank you for your time

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