I got eye plugs today.

Who even knew there was such a thing?   

Though the procedure was quick and painless, I’m still thinking about it several hours later. I now have tiny gel-like plugs inserted in my tear ducts to prevent drainage. They are there as a treatment for severe dry eye, a problem I have been dealing with for several months.

The tears that lubricate your eyes are supposed to last in your eyes for 15 to 30 seconds, then dry up. My tears dry up instantly. Consequently, my eyes have been sore and itchy a lot. It has also started to effect my vision.  But to be honest as my doctor explained the next step in my treatment, I didn’t understand how blocking the drains were going to keep my tears from evaporating instantaneously. All I could think about was how much this news felt like the news I received a few years earlier when another doctor told me I needed bifocals. Back then I had actually cried. I couldn’t imagine myself with those little half-moons at the bottom of my glasses. Fortunately, that they don’t do that anymore. The lens are progressive, so no one need know they are bifocals. We won’t even get into the whole tilting your head to read in your glasses thing or walking down the steps the first time. It suffices to say it was an adjustment. 

All of this was going through my mind as he stuck the plugs in corners of my eye. I tried to console myself by focusing on the relief that this procedure was going to provide. I even tried to make small talk by casually asking what caused dry eye. 

“Age is the primary cause,” he said, but then quickly added, “That, and most medications.”

I’m not on any medications.

I’m not one of those women who hides her age. I don’t generally lament about getting older. But lately I’ve been thinking a lot about what aging means to me. Fifty used to be so old. I vividly remember my grandmothers when they were fifty. I can almost see them in their flowered housecoats and cat-eye glasses. And when I think about that, its hard to believe I’m the same age. I try to tell myself that fifty isn’t what it used to be, but then they put plugs in your eyes. What’s next?

Let’s not answer that. 

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