About two weeks ago, I lost my glasses. In the house. It was the weirdest thing. I lose pens all the time (and if they’re really expensive, usually find them); leave my iPod headphones in clothes; have two watches because one of them is often off on some mysterious excursion; but I never lose my glasses.

However, this time, I took them, put on contacts, found some reading glasses (talk about something that I lose!), then… I have no idea what. The glasses were abducted by aliens, or something.

I had been thinking about buying some new ones anyway, and thought I needed to get my vision checked, and have enough contacts and reading glasses to function perfectly well, so it wasn’t the end of the world.

Since high school I’ve worn wire-framed glasses: aviators, round standard issue minority professional glasses, or variations of those two. I decided to go with something different this time. Black Oakley metal frames, black on the outside, red on the inside.

via flickr

I’m glad I’ve got them. Not only do I like the look, but I’m really glad to be able to see in the distance, then read something in front of me, without having to look down; reach in my jacket for reading glasses; reach in another pocket for them; possible look elsewhere; put them on; then look down and read. It’s bad UI for your eyes.

In the last couple days, I’ve gotten better at reading without my reading glasses; not great, but between my eyes reshaping themselves a bit, and my brain being better able to puzzle out fuzzy shapes and interpret them as words, I was fairly functional. It’s a reminder of just how much our sense of the world, and our senses, function at an intersection of technologies, bodies, and brains. We think of vision as something that’s pretty straightforward, but in fact it’s not: there’s a complicated collaboration between glasses or contacts (or glasses and contacts); our eyes (and the muscles that adjust the shape of our eyes); and our brain’s ability to process the signals it receives, and the control it can exert over how the eye behaves.