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Bill and Bob, Millennium Square, Bristol by Cathie Pilkington. Seeing things? I stumbled - almost literally - across these cute Jack Russells doggy-paddling at the edge of a water feature. I'd never noticed them before but they have apparently been there a while. Just goes to show I need new glasses . . .

The great face furniture hunt is on!  I know, I know, I was meant to write a post about redressing the balance between being deaf and being hearing but yesterday gave me new insight into living with a CI and so I’m concentrating on that first. I’m seeking that rare beast, a pair of specs which will co-exist happily with my processor on my little ear AND cope with my very strong prescription! I had my eyes tested on Friday and went on the specs hunt yesterday and today.

I currently have a great pair of glasses which have a very thin arm and sit just right above my ear. They are so light and the arm so thin, bypassing the scar so neatly that I didn’t have to take the arm off following surgery, as some people find they have to for a few days after the operation. Implant positioning, including the internal magnet and pedestal, varies according to the physiology of the individual: size of head, size of ear, any individual quirks or malformations etc. Now I have quite a small head and little ears so the lower edge of the internal magnet piece is quite close to the back of my ear, probably about an inch away, meaning that I can’t have glasses with thick or rigid arms. At the same time, even though it is as tiny as you can get, the arm is actually competing for space with my processor behind the ear and both JUST fit together on my ear without pushing the processor off my ear. Anything thicker and the processor sits far less securely on my ear. Sadly the funky specs currently available with very thick ear-pieces make it difficult to find something suitable. Additionally some of the rubber covers for thin metal arms have a sharp edge which could rub on my scar – though I’m told they could be customised to fit the whole length of the arm, or be trimmed down so they don’t scratch.

Thin arms seem to come more routinely with rimless glasses and I’d really like a pair of rimless ones – but the high prescription in my right eye means that even with ultrathin plastic lenses it is difficult to fit that lens into rimless frames. I found a lovely pair in a supermarket opticians yesterday – rimless, with thin titanium arms, wide enough vertically to have the funky fashionable look, but thin enough horizontally not to compete with my processor behind the ear. The rubber tips were lovely and soft and the whole just sat really comfortably behind the ear, bypassing the internal component nicely. They ticked all the boxes for comfort and looks for me, and I really want them – but they’d only be fine with my left eye. The right is a different matter entirely at -8 . . .

Back to square one: I might have to consider getting my current pair reglazed. My options at the moment are very limited and the great face furniture hunt continues. One optician suggested having teens’ glasses as I could have them made a little wider: my head really isn’t that big so it would be feasible. It is possible that with advances in technology the ultrathin lenses will gradually encompass stronger and stronger prescriptions, but I want to see well now, and being deaf it is pretty much imperative to complement my defective hearing with as much clarity of vision as I can muster – even if I now hear well enough at the optician’s to understand what is said when tested in the dark or behind the lens machine.

Pre-implant I had to have things explained to me before being plunged into the dark, or pop my head out from behind the lenses to try and lipread the optician’s instructions. Enduring the blinding flashes of retinal photography was terrifying -last time I was so blinded in my right eye I insisted on waiting until the vision had recovered before they did the same to the left – the thought of being unable to see to communicate, even if only briefly, was horrifying. I think a year ago that was a new one on them, and now explaining my CI-influenced limitations to various optical assistants I get the feeling I’m leaving an equally bemused trail of folk behind me.

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