Counted ahead in the post schedule and, barring any delays, the book should be completed on or around October 1st. I’ll have to think about how to handle the columns from 2018 that haven’t been compiled into a book yet… As much as I’d like to catch up to the present, it’s not really practical to buy all of those Famitsu issues at ¥399 a pop. So maybe we’ll have to wait until next year and hope they publish a third compilation.
BTW I’ve been forgetting to include my disclaimers, so: This column has nothing to do with FFXIV
#83: “The Evolutionary Theory of Glasses”
Published in 2017/05/04 issue
My eyes are actually really bad, and I don’t just mean the way they look. While I acknowledge that they look mean, the point is that my eyesight is dismal. Eye exams these days only measure from 1.5 to 0.1, so the last time I got an accurate measurement was several years ago. It was under 0.02.
When I was in elementary school, my eyesight was measured at above 2.0, so I became a bit of a class hero when I aced the schoolwide physical examination. Nowadays I don’t think of it as a big deal—it was just good eyesight, not X-ray vision or anything—but back then, it was really exciting. It’s a little dispiriting when I renew my driver’s license or take a medical checkup and can only manage a 1.0.
My eyesight took a nosedive in my second year of middle school. Back then, I was a bad kid that avoided my family a lot, but for some reason, I was addicted to reading to the point where I couldn’t sleep without reading through an entire mystery novel first. Reading a classical foreign mystery in my dimly lit room was as thrilling as going to a girl classmate’s room during a school trip (this is a hyperbolic example). It became an obsession. As a result, my eyesight worsened dramatically in the span of a year. Just like that, it went down to 0.3. It only continued to get worse from there. Everyone on my mother’s side of the family had poor eyesight, so it must’ve been hereditary.
I hated glasses, so even at school, I only wore them for the few days before a test when I had to speculate on the questions that would be asked. Not many kids wore glasses back when I was a student, and wearing them labeled you as the “serious” type. It sounds silly today, but that really was the case back then, and there was nothing you could do about it. I was decidedly not serious, so I couldn’t stand the shame of people thinking I was. Even when going out or playing sports, I somehow managed to get by with my naked vision. I think I only wore glasses when I was playing video games in my room.
When I entered high school, contact lenses were slowly starting to become more commonplace. They were fairly expensive, but I longed for them. Being able to restore my vision without the obvious presence of glasses sounded like a dream come true. However, I was shocked when I researched how they worked. There was no way I could do something as terrifying as attaching lenses directly to my eyeballs; not when I couldn’t even apply eye drops in a normal manner.
When I apply eye drops, I close my eyes tightly and drip the eye drops between my shut eyelids. Well, one or two drops isn’t enough at all, so I’m basically pouring them out. When I think it’s enough, I start blinking rapidly to let the eye drops in. Most of them end up going down my cheeks rather than inside my eyes, but it works out in the end. This is the only way that I can handle eye drops.
Since I’m that sensitive, I’ve never worn contact lenses a single time in my entire life. In 2004, the year I joined Square Enix, a vision correction technique called LASIK entered the market. It involved aiming a laser at the corneas, and there was no way I could undergo something so terrifying, so I gave up. To this day, I only wear glasses when I’m working.
As for why I’m rambling on about this, I recently bought a new pair of glasses. For the past few years, my eyesight has continued to worsen, to the point where new prescriptions only last about a year. I have extreme nearsightedness as well as strong astigmatism. Honestly, when I’m not wearing glasses, I can’t even read the text on a monitor 30 cm (1 ft) in front of my face.
It’s often said that “the child is father of the man,” and so to this day, I still think that glasses don’t suit me. I’m extremely reluctant to wear them in public, and that’s why you see me putting them on and taking them off all the time during streams like the live letters. My fatigue has been showing on my face lately, to the point where my assistant told me, “You should wear your glasses because you look better with them on.” But I still don’t like it.
The only glasses I can wear comfortably are sunglasses, and I’m very fond of my prescription pair. It’s amazing how they make you look completely different because your eyes can’t be seen. So, I wear my prescription sunglasses most of the time when I’m walking or driving. At night, I switch to regular glasses when I’m driving, but if I’m walking then I keep the sunglasses on. Thanks to that, I often get questioned by police officers. It’s been an educational experience.
Still, glasses sure have gotten cheap. Ten years ago, you’d expect to pay several tens of thousands of yen for a new pair of glasses, but now there are glasses stores all over the city, and you can easily buy a pair for ¥5,000. The stores even advertise that glasses are a type of fashion and so you should change them up based on your mood. The glasses that I bought the other day cost ¥7,800. It was a bit amazing that I could get thin lenses for that price.
Advances in manufacturing are obviously part of the reason why glasses have gotten so cheap, but another big factor is the rise in mass production efficiency that comes from increased demand. When I was in elementary school, there would only be 1-2 kids in the class that wore glasses. But now, around a third of the people around me wear them. That’s how bad the downward trend in eyesight has gotten. Humanity doesn’t evolve and regress within such a short period of time, so it’s surprising how much the average eyesight varies based on living environment.
Unfortunately, after putting on the years, I’ve finally developed farsightedness in addition to my nearsightedness and astigmatism. I can’t see text on my smartphone clearly. I try to refrain from doing things that immediately give it away, like holding my smartphone at a distance, but one of these days I’ll probably give up on hiding that, too.
Right now, we’re in the middle of checking the content for FFXIV’s next expansion pack, Stormblood. My eyes are so tired. I feel like I’m ready to take the plunge and get LASIK surgery, but before that, I have to be able to apply the eye strain drops sitting next to my monitor in a “normal” way…
 TL note: In Japanese eyesight notation, 1.0 is equivalent to what is called 20/20 vision in the US. 1.5 is 20/13 (better vision) and 0.1 is 20/200 (worse vision). Yoshi-P’s “under 0.02” is equivalent to “under 20/1000.”