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Going without eyeglasses

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  • Marioun
    ... I tried this, but my eyesight is so bad I couldnt see across the table and didnt recognize my own son...So I invested in some contacts, which even so dont
    Message 1 of 26 , Nov 4, 2006
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      > I do this whenever I am in an exposed position or wearing fancy
      > headgear (usually at feast, when I don't have to see much further
      > beyond what's going on at my table), don't have to do needlework and
      > the event isn't too crowded.

      I tried this, but my eyesight is so bad I couldnt see across the table
      and didnt recognize my own son...So I invested in some contacts, which
      even so dont compleatly correct my vision as well as glasses do, but
      for the period of occasional weekend events, dont cause too much of a
      problem, no headaches so far.


      deb
    • Andrea Hughett
      ... I suspect that as a young lady with my poor eyesight in the 12th century, I probably would have been given to a monastery as soon as it became evident. It
      Message 2 of 26 , Nov 6, 2006
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        --- Francesca Tiepolo <moonlightfairy911@...>
        wrote:

        >
        > I would think people back then who had poor vision
        > just learned to compensate & their eyes adjusted
        > naturally without them straining all the time. Signs
        > were not always 'written' as many could not read...
        > merchants & Inns would have signs large enough to
        > see from a distance. If you lived for years in a
        > town you would be familiar with things so you would
        > know where the tree stumps, pot holes, wells etc
        > were.
        >

        I suspect that as a young lady with my poor eyesight
        in the 12th century, I probably would have been given
        to a monastery as soon as it became evident. It would
        most likely have worked out well, too. My near vision
        is good enough for sewing and reading, my sisters
        would be familiar enough that I would recognize them,
        beyond a few feet away, by voice and general outline,
        and furnishings would be sparse and seldom changed.

        There is a modern trilogy (I think - it may have more
        or less than three books) about Guenivere which
        portrays her as nearsighted. In later life she
        realizes that her aversion to wide open spaces may be
        related to her poor vision. Anyone know the one I mean?

        Andrea of Anglespur
        kitscaa Gwervyl verch Hywel Gwyddwyllt
        So many books, so little time!

        __________________________________________________
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      • asackville@juno.com
        Hi all! The experiment went fabulously! Once I got used to the fuzziness of everything around me I had no problems. No headaches other than the one I woke up
        Message 3 of 26 , Nov 6, 2006
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          Hi all!

          The experiment went fabulously! Once I got used to the fuzziness of
          everything around me I had no problems. No headaches other than the
          one I woke up with, which going without my glasses actually helped
          relieve. I took my Anglo-Saxon breads and cereals class, complete with
          handouts, took my cheesemaking class, with handouts, was asked to
          judge some lace that was gifted to Their Majesties, did a little of my
          own needlework (and it was easier to do without my glasses...go
          figure), stood guard duty outside the Royalty Room, and sang a mini-
          concert. I bought a couple of good books from Folo and actually
          managed to read some points in one of the books. I really didn't have
          any problems at all and I've been dependant on my glasses since I was
          seven. It was kinda freeing, actually. Just recently there had been a
          blow-up in my local group and I had been on the receiving end of some
          of the flack and fall-out and without being able to see faces clearly
          I couldn't tell if someone was pulling faces at me. That was pretty
          cool. This is an experiment that I will not mind repeating.

          Fionnuala
        • Terri Morgan
          ... ... Cool! I do it for LH demos and have found that it s about the same for me - there were some scary moments when I had to walk a block to find a
          Message 4 of 26 , Nov 7, 2006
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            > The experiment went fabulously!
            <snip>
            > Fionnuala

            Cool! I do it for LH demos and have found that it's about the same for me -
            there were some 'scary moments' when I had to walk a block to find a
            bathroom and had no escort but at the same time, it was almost like I'd let
            my eyes out of a cage for a day... kind of a weird feeling of freedom. After
            30 years of wearing glasses as a programmed action, it was very odd and
            rather fun to go without. Of course, where I do LH stuff, it's mostly nice,
            grassy parks with clear differences between woodland and 'people space'. I
            haven't tried it at someplace wild and woolly - and don't think I will.

            But it was really neat, the way my innards relaxed, rather than tensed up,
            as the day went on. And now I'm thinking I might try a later-period outfit
            with a veil. I've avoided them all this time because I look like one of the
            singing nuns from the 'Sound of Music' but without my glasses - maybe not.
            It'd be worth it to find out. There's a whole bracket of time I don't
            attempt because of that restriction of pride.


            Hrothny
            (trifocals w/2 prisms, at no less than -6.5, for those who'd like to compare
            to their own prescription.)
          • Sandra Dodd
            -=-And now I m thinking I might try a later-period outfit with a veil. I ve avoided them all this time because I look like one of the singing nuns from the
            Message 5 of 26 , Nov 7, 2006
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              -=-And now I'm thinking I might try a later-period outfit
              with a veil. I've avoided them all this time because I look like one
              of the
              singing nuns from the 'Sound of Music' but without my glasses - maybe
              not.
              It'd be worth it to find out. There's a whole bracket of time I don't
              attempt because of that restriction of pride.
              -=-

              Before I wore glasses, I wore wimples and veils most of the time.
              The glasses just don't fit with that.
              I have three magnifying glasses. Two can be hung on a belt. They're
              good for reading, or looking at embroidery and such if someone wants
              me to look at their work.

              I have to be very trusting with food. <g> The first few years I wore
              glasses I didn't wear them to eat. Now I do. I just want to know
              pepper from dirt, y'know...

              AElflaed

              [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
            • Francesca Tiepolo
              Oh I hope someone can post the title or author of that book(s) ~ would enjoy reading it!! I had to chuckle envisioning a whole monastary of nearsighted women (
              Message 6 of 26 , Nov 7, 2006
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                Oh I hope someone can post the title or author of that book(s) ~ would enjoy reading it!!

                I had to chuckle envisioning a whole monastary of nearsighted women ( I would have probably been there too!) wondering around 'bumping' into each other! <g>

                YIS

                Francesca Tiepolo

                (sorry I can't trim the post - it doesn't show me any of it in my reply to email window)



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              • Sharon L. Krossa
                ... Do keep in mind that in the Middle Ages, just like modernly, people learn to adapt and adjust to their physical disabilities that can t be fixed . The
                Message 7 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                  At 4:41 PM -0800 11/7/06, Francesca Tiepolo wrote:
                  > I had to chuckle envisioning a whole monastary of nearsighted
                  >women ( I would have probably been there too!) wondering around
                  >'bumping' into each other! <g>

                  Do keep in mind that in the Middle Ages, just like modernly, people
                  learn to adapt and adjust to their physical disabilities that can't
                  be "fixed". The relevant experience we should be considering, with
                  regard to the medieval near-sighted and visually impaired, is not
                  that of modern people whose sight _can_ be corrected by modern
                  technology, but that of modern people whose sight can _not_ be
                  corrected -- that is, those who are always visually impaired or even
                  blind (not just when they choose not to wear their glasses).

                  And their experience -- their ability to function, including
                  recognizing people (by means other than clear vision), not being
                  doomed to constantly wander around bumping into objects and people,
                  etc. -- strongly suggests that medieval people with similar visual
                  impairments would also be able to function. Some of the specific
                  adaptations may be different in our different ages (e.g., a seeing
                  eye servant/family member rather than a seeing eye dog for the blind,
                  a generic staff rather than a special white cane with a red tip,
                  etc.), and there would have been more things that really were simply
                  impossible (e.g., reading for oneself, as braille did not exist --
                  but of course, few could or needed to do that, anyway, in the Middle
                  Ages), but the basic ability to function, and even make a living,
                  would not have been all that different (or, if it was different, in
                  some cases it may have been easier then than now, giving the much
                  greater dependence on such things as reading, driving, etc., today
                  than historically, as well as the greater emphasis on independent
                  accomplishment, and scarcity of servants, today).

                  And while I'm intrigued by the idea that some visually impaired women
                  got sent off to nunneries, I'm curious is this conclusion is based on
                  some specific research by someone? That is, what known examples do we
                  have of visually impaired women in nunneries -- especially of women
                  being sent to nunneries specifically because they were visually
                  impaired?

                  I haven't myself done any specific research into what sorts of things
                  medieval blind and visually impaired people did, but just in general
                  I am aware that there are known to have been medieval (and early
                  modern, and ancient) musicians/poets/minstrels/entertainers who were
                  blind. An example that comes immediately to my mind is "Blind Harry",
                  who was the author of the famous 15th century epic poem about Sir
                  William Wallace. Also, in the late 17th/early 18th century, there was
                  O'Carolan, the famous blind Irish harper. Much earlier, of course,
                  was Homer (who was known in the Middle Ages, too).

                  Of course, these examples are of people who were identified as
                  actually blind -- I suspect that discovering what the merely
                  near-sighted did will be harder to determine, as I expect it would
                  cause less comment.

                  In any case, it might be interesting to collect together documented
                  examples of occupations, etc., of historical medieval blind/visually
                  impaired people...

                  Sharon
                  --
                  Sharon Krossa, skrossa-ml@...
                  Need help with technology for your research or teaching? Hire me!
                  http://MedievalScotland.org/hireme/
                  Resources for Scottish history, names, clothing, language & more:
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                • Sandra Dodd
                  -=-And their experience -- their ability to function, including recognizing people (by means other than clear vision), not being doomed to constantly wander
                  Message 8 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                    -=-And their experience -- their ability to function, including
                    recognizing people (by means other than clear vision), not being
                    doomed to constantly wander around bumping into objects and people,
                    etc. -- strongly suggests that medieval people with similar visual
                    impairments would also be able to function-=-

                    They weren't trying to read Newsweek.
                    (That was my first indication that I needed glasses, when I was 40--
                    couldn't read Newsweek or Time Magazine.)

                    If an older woman couldn't still weave or embroider, she should still
                    have been able to spin. Maybe not LEARN to spin, but if she'd been
                    doing it all her life, it wouldn't require sight to know whether the
                    thread was right.

                    AElflaed

                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • Alexis
                    ... would enjoy reading it!! ... women ( I would have probably been there too!) wondering around bumping into each other! ... Pls tell me you both would
                    Message 9 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                      --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Francesca Tiepolo
                      <moonlightfairy911@...> wrote:
                      >
                      > Oh I hope someone can post the title or author of that book(s) ~
                      would enjoy reading it!!
                      >
                      > I had to chuckle envisioning a whole monastary of nearsighted
                      women ( I would have probably been there too!) wondering
                      around 'bumping' into each other! <g>
                      >
                      > YIS
                      >
                      > Francesca Tiepolo

                      Pls tell me you both would have been in a Convent!!! Not to say
                      brailing the monks might not have been fun, but way too much time
                      doing penances.

                      You would not have to worry about recognizing people. Just answer
                      yes Sister and you are off the hook.

                      BTW blind people can weave if someone sets up the loom for them.

                      Yis,
                      Cassandra
                    • Terri Morgan
                      ... Trivia point: Convents are for people who take simple vows (they can leave*), of either sex, monasteries for folks of either sex
                      Message 10 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                        > Pls tell me you both would have been in a Convent!!!
                        <snip of fun comment>

                        Trivia point: "Convents" are for people who take simple vows (they can
                        leave*), of either sex, monasteries for folks of either sex who make
                        perpetual vows (they can't leave unless the Pope releases them from their
                        vows).

                        Some Orders use the two 'house designations' interchangeably while others
                        are quite strict about which is which... but secular folks tend to think
                        that convents are for women and monasteries are for men, usually thanks to
                        inexact writers of fiction.


                        But the mental image of someone 'brailing' the monks gave me a much-needed
                        giggle.


                        Hrothny
                        *without losing their ability to be in Communion with the Church/God.
                      • Cynthia J Ley
                        ... Francesco Landini, a famous composer during the 1300 s is nearly always identified as being blind. He composed music, sang, and played the portative
                        Message 11 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                          > In any case, it might be interesting to collect together documented
                          > examples of occupations, etc., of historical medieval blind/visually
                          >
                          > impaired people...
                          >
                          > Sharon

                          Francesco Landini, a famous composer during the 1300's is nearly always
                          identified as being blind. He composed music, sang, and played the
                          portative organ.

                          Arlys
                        • Robert Van Rens
                          ... Master John of Calador, OL (Northshield) is an accomplished weaver - and he is not only blind, he lacks hands as well. Eadric the Potter
                          Message 12 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                            >
                            >BTW blind people can weave if someone sets up the loom for them.
                            >
                            >Yis,
                            >Cassandra

                            Master John of Calador, OL (Northshield) is an accomplished weaver - and he
                            is not only blind, he lacks hands as well.

                            Eadric the Potter

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                          • Tiffany Brown
                            ... The British BBC TV show worst jobs in History claimed that the sort of giant man powered hamster wheels used to drive cranes/winches in construction of
                            Message 13 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                              On 09/11/06, Sharon L. Krossa <skrossa-ml@...> wrote:
                              > In any case, it might be interesting to collect together documented
                              > examples of occupations, etc., of historical medieval blind/visually
                              > impaired people...

                              The British BBC TV show "worst jobs in History" claimed that the sort
                              of giant man powered hamster wheels used to drive cranes/winches in
                              construction of cathedrals were generally manned by blind people.
                              That it suited better as a fully blind person wasn't subject to the
                              same fear of heights when they couldn't see how far up they were
                              constantly. And could put in a useful days work, needing only to be
                              lead to work at the start of the day. This is hardly a citation, but
                              a starting point for research.

                              I can imagine a range of manual jobs being given to sightless people
                              eg polishing or sanding objects, braiding, turning a handle, etc. If
                              many were considered charity cases (feel free to object to this) then
                              they might be cheap labour for repeditive jobs- working only for basic
                              food and lodging with no extras.

                              Teffania
                            • NINacide@aol.com
                              I think sight helps a lot when sanding or polishing. Just my 2 cents, don t mean to contradict you. Mikhail [Non-text portions of this message have been
                              Message 14 of 26 , Nov 8, 2006
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                                I think sight helps a lot when sanding or polishing. Just my 2 cents, don't
                                mean to contradict you.

                                Mikhail


                                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                              • Chris Laning
                                Actually, I think nearsighted people whose vision isn t corrected might have some advantage when it comes to extremely fine work. The reason for the most
                                Message 15 of 26 , Nov 11, 2006
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                                  Actually, I think nearsighted people whose vision isn't corrected
                                  might have some advantage when it comes to extremely fine work.

                                  The reason for the most common type of nearsightedness is a
                                  difference in the shape of the cornea, which moves the optimum focal
                                  point closer to the eye than it is for "normal" sighted people. So
                                  while it may be harder to focus the eye sharply at far distances,
                                  it's actually _easier_ for nearsighted people to focus at very close
                                  distances, closer than a normal person can focus. Being able to see
                                  clearly at closer-than-normal distances means you don't need as much
                                  magnification to do fine, close-up work -- though of course, HOW
                                  close you can focus depends on just how nearsighted you are. So while
                                  your ability to navigate in unfamiliar environments, recognize faces
                                  at a distance, etc. might be impaired, you might actually be _more_
                                  able to do certain tasks easily (such as fine embroidery) than your
                                  normal-sighted companions. While some form of magnification was
                                  available at some times and places in the Middle Ages, precisely
                                  ground glass lenses were expensive, so being able to do without them
                                  might be something of an advantage.

                                  (This, of course, leaves out all the possible complications -- a good
                                  many people who are nearsighted also have astigmatism or other visual
                                  problems, which might interfere with good close vision as well.)

                                  I also suspect that many people who have never experienced vision
                                  correction might be less aware of limitations and actually might see
                                  better than modern people who _have_ worn glasses. I can certainly
                                  remember that when I first wore glasses (around age 8 or 9) I was
                                  surprised at how much blurrier my vision was when I took them off
                                  than it had been before I ever tried them.

                                  My eye doctor later explained to me that there's a reason for this:
                                  being able to see "clearly" is actually as much a function of the
                                  brain as it is a function of the eye. The eye always presents the
                                  brain with multiple images, varying in sharpness, and with time, the
                                  brain learns to pick out the one that's clearest and ignore all the
                                  others. Glasses, in particular (it's less true of contact lenses)
                                  change the focal distance in such a way that the brain is forced to
                                  choose a _different_ image than the one it would choose without
                                  glasses -- as witness the fact that most people take a few days to
                                  adjust to glasses with a new prescription (I always found that my
                                  feet looked too far away until I adjusted). Then when you take the
                                  glasses off, the brain still chooses the same (new) image, which is
                                  now fuzzy. So someone who's never tried spectacles might very well
                                  see a bit more clearly at a distance than someone who's used to
                                  spectacles.

                                  While I think most people know, I should also point out that physical
                                  disability didn't necessarily "doom" a woman to life in a monastery.
                                  Parents' reasons to dedicate a daughter to a monastery were many and
                                  various, including how much it would cost to provide a marriage dowry
                                  versus a monastery entrance fee, the daughter's own preference,
                                  possibilities for a politically successful marriage alliance and so
                                  forth. A disability that affected the possibility of bearing children
                                  might well tip the balance toward monastery life, since a woman
                                  suspected to be "barren' would be a much less attractive marriage
                                  prospect, but I'm not sure one could say that other disabilities
                                  would necessarily have the same effect. I don't have a lot of data on
                                  this subject, but it would be interesting to find out to what extent
                                  this common stereotype actually is or isn't borne out by the facts.
                                  --
                                  ____________________________________________________________

                                  O (Lady) Christian de Holacombe , Shire of Windy Meads
                                  + Kingdom of the West - Chris Laning <claning@...>
                                  http://paternoster-row.org - http://paternosters.blogspot.com
                                  ____________________________________________________________
                                • Sue Warner
                                  ... Oh tell me about it--- My eye Dr. has *estimated* my vision at 5/1400, needless to say my *clear* vision stops about 3 inches from my nose. (I am literally
                                  Message 16 of 26 , Nov 12, 2006
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                                    --- In Authentic_SCA@yahoogroups.com, Chris Laning <claning@...> wrote:
                                    >
                                    > Actually, I think nearsighted people whose vision isn't corrected
                                    > might have some advantage when it comes to extremely fine work.

                                    >>>>>Much Snippage<<<<<

                                    Oh tell me about it---

                                    My eye Dr. has *estimated* my vision at 5/1400, needless to say my
                                    *clear* vision stops about 3 inches from my nose. (I am literally at
                                    arms length to the eye chart till I can see the "big E" on top.)

                                    However, withen that 3 inches of clear vision I can see things that
                                    most other people can't.

                                    A for instance - when I was younger I had contact lenses (can't wear
                                    them anymore-->sigh<) and I kept the right one frome the left one
                                    straight by the code numbers around the edge. His Nurse told me that
                                    she needed to use the microscope to see them and I wasn't supposed to
                                    know that they were there.

                                    I now work in the electronics devision and I can't tell you how often
                                    my co-workers call me over to "read" the numbers on the parts. They
                                    need to find an open microscope to read them.

                                    So you won't find me at an event without the specs, I would be too
                                    much of a health hazard to myself and the people around me. (tent
                                    ropes disapear and so do the list ropes at a distace of about 3 feet.)

                                    Mariassa Ashgrove (the near blind - thank you glasses)
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