If your friends are anything like mine, casual conversations these days often turn to a discussion of the amazing television series they’ve been watching on streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon.

I appreciate their enthusiasm and write down their recommendations, fully intending to check them out as soon as I have some free time.

The problem is that my choice when I have free time leans toward reading a good novel versus binging on TV. My enthusiasm for reading became especially fierce during the COVID lockdowns, and it remains a passion today.

The beauty of a good book is that I can enjoy it on a lazy Sunday morning as I linger in bed or during that short half-hour before I need to begin cooking dinner or while relaxing outside in my lawn chair overlooking the rose garden.

Also, reading allows me to use my imagination. Even though the author uses words to paint a picture, I get to fill in all the gaps.

Elin Hilderbrand’s books about Nantucket awaken my senses and trigger some wonderful memories. As a kid we vacationed in Cape Cod, and my parents retired there, so I have fond memories of lying on the warm sand, taking long walks on the beach during low tide and listening to the seagulls wail.

Recently, my friend Ellen gave me the book “Girl Obsessed” by Vivian Rhodes. The author lives locally and is a mystery novelist and an Emmy-nominated television writer.

I was excited to read the works of a local author, and as a mystery lover I cracked open the book with much anticipation.

I hadn’t read a hard copy book in a while, and I soon realized why: It just took too much effort. The words looked a little fuzzy, and it was hard to keep my concentration. After a chapter (which was great by the way), I went online to order the book for my e-book reader.

Ah, that was so much better. I could customize the font size for my comfort, and if I was reading in bed at night or outside under the sun I could adjust the screen light.

That, of course, highlighted a problem.

When did it become so uncomfortable to read a hard copy book? When was the last time I’d seen my eye doctor? Was my vision failing me?

I had been wearing glasses since third grade for nearsightedness, but about 25 years ago I had Lasik surgery.

They performed a procedure called monovision, which corrects one eye for distance and one eye for near vision, eliminating the need for reading glasses.

What an amazing procedure it was. I’m sure I felt a lot like people who have just had cataract surgery, seeing the world in a much clearer way.

There was one downside.

When taking an eye test (at the DMV or most recently for a company physical) I must explain that my left eye was corrected for distance but my right eye was corrected for close reading, and therefore I would fail the distance test when just using my right eye.

If I know I’m going to have to take an eye exam, I come armed with a letter from my doctor stating that I had the monovision procedure.

Since it had been a year since my last eye exam, I booked an appointment. The doctor said my eyes were experiencing normal aging. Presbyopia, or “aging eye,” is a condition where the eye naturally loses the ability to focus on objects up close. This makes it difficult to read small print or clearly see objects close to the eye.

While I still passed my eye exam, he said, if I wanted a pair of glasses to make reading a hard copy book more comfortable, he could write me a prescription.

I have just come from an eyewear retailer, where I ordered a new pair of glasses.

The doctor tells me I can use them at my discretion and using them will not worsen my eyesight.

Good to know, as I have a small library of hard copy books waiting for me to enjoy.

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