Seeing Well With The Help Of Josef LachkovicsThursday, July 08, 2010
Two years ago Rebecca, Rosemary and I were in Yucatán. We were at a lagoon where we were going to see flamingos. The young man in charge of our little boat gunned it forward without warning and my expensive bifocal sun glasses went flying and sank like lead into the dark waters. I was extremely depressed. Even though I no longer have migraine headaches (I suffered them all my life until about 10 years ago when they mysteriously went away) I am most sensitive to light. We returned to the hotel in Mérida and I noticed that there was an Óptica next door. I went in with my regular glasses (also bifocals) and enquired about clip-on sunglasses. The pleasant woman attending told me that she could have prescription bifocal sunglasses made within three hours with the very frame I showed her. I was astounded. She was true to her word and three hours later at the tidy price of $50 I had a brand new pair of excellent glasses. Well, not so excellent. My original glasses had a neutral gray tint. These made blue slightly magenta. But I could live with glasses at those prices.
Last year during my daily comings and goings to visit Abraham Rogatnick at the hospital in August I misplaced my sunglasses. I decided I would do without them. Then a few months later I dropped my regular glasses on the street and the frames broke. I repaired them with epoxy until they further broke beyond repair. So I wore glasses that were three years old from an old prescription.
At one time this would be anathema as I consider my eyes and eyesight very important. After all I have made my living as a photographer from my eyes. Curiously I have never needed glasses to properly focus through my cameras. I refuse to let a machine tell me where I want to focus it so I have never been much of a follower of auto focus cameras.
But Rosemary nagged and nagged and I told her I was going to convert some beautiful frames (tortoise shell look with hinged side legs) into new glasses. Alas! I left one window of our car open for an hour and the glasses were stolen.
I reluctantly went to Factory Optical on 595 West 7th Avenue. I was not able to find anything like my tortoise shell-look glases with the roundish openings I had worn for most of my life. I will admit that for a while sometime in my stupid 80s I wore metal frames. But the tortoise shell look has always been my favourite. An elderly man with a beautiful smile and small German accent offered to help me. When I told him how I had not found what I had been looking he asked me what exactly it was I wanted. He then produced the most beautiful frames (including those prized hinged legs) I have seen in a long time (at a very good price) and proceded to take my measurements with lots of expertise. He asked me if I was happy with my ophthalmologist, Dr. Simon Warner. I told him I had gone to him and previously to his father ever since I arrived to Vancouver in 1975. I explained that I would not trust my eyes to anybody but the best ophthalmic surgeon around. Josef Lachkovics, who hails from Vienna, smiled.
I left the premises most happy and today I picked up my glasses. The sunglasses that I had also ordered had a minute difference in the left lens that rendered images ever so slightly blurry. The attendant (not Mr. Lachkovics) explained that the lens was within the industry standard. He then produced a lens and told me to put it in front of that left lens. I could see perfectly. He explained that to most people the difference was negligible but if I could see better with the change they would do so at no extra cost. The sunglasses are extra dark and of a gray that is absolutely neutral. Colours look exactly as they are.
Happiness is truly to be able to see well. And this is something that thanks to Josef Lachkovics I can assert is true. When I was about to leave I asked of a different attendant if I could have a glass case. He produced a smart hard-and-hinged one which I told him I did not want. “I want one of those soft ones,” I said. He produced one and while smiling told me, “But this is for old folks.” “What do you think I am?” I retorted as I happily accepted it.