Apparently, the world is become more and more near-sighted with 40% of the population of the USA needing prescription glasses to compensate for their myopia. The news reminded me of my own path from perfect clarity to the first shimmerings of a change in my ocular depth of field. Indeed, I remember my last spectacles-free trip to see my optician for an eye test. She'd always told me my sight was perfect, better than 20:20 she used to joke. And, I could see the little lights in the so-called "field test" even when she hadn't switched them on. At the end of that appointment though, she said next time you visit I will be prescribing your first pair of reading glasses, I didn't quite need them that time, but next time I certainly would.

Of course, I'd notice that my near vision had become not quite so near, I wasn't quite hold a book at arm's length, but close-up work like restringing a guitar or threading a needle had become ever so slightly blurry, not quite sufficiently so for a prescription, but a definite change from the almost superpower vision of my youth and young manhood.

Anyway, the inevitable happened, I paid her a visit, and she prescribed my first pair of reading glasses prescribed at the next visit. I could still read the distant chart and the close-up device with the red and green cross etc, but I was holding it a little further away and she was slipping in lenses into that steam punk contraption they hang on your ears and nose until I could see clearly again. Like I say, it wasn't a shock, at least not until I saw the bill for the almost-trendy frames I'd chosen. But, at least she threw in for free anti-glaring tinting, a nice polymer material coating with what seems like a vaguely green hue. It supposedly cuts out some of the internal reflections and flare, the bane of photographers and those who like to work by a nice, bright window.

I soon discovered that wearing spectacles is philosophically painful. Catching sight of myself in a mirror with them perched atop my brow between reading and writing tasks was cause for a quiet existentialist alarm to ring, age wearying my vision a little more each day and antireflective coating was embarrassingly uncompromising in not hiding the first signs of grey hairs on what remains of the flowing locks I had as a teenage rocker. Worse is in dim light when you've left your specs in another room and you need to read the microwave instructions or work out which is the mute button on the TV remote control. And, don't get me started on keeping them clean, I have still got used to seeing through the tiniest of greasy fingerprints that others seem not to worry about when using glasses. Can't they find a self-cleaning, superhydrophobic coating for lenses that would be antireflective coatings any day.

I began to wonder...would laser treatment work and rid me of this visionary apparatus that ages and annoys me so? Apparently not. My prescription doesn't mesh with what lasering away the surface layers of the cornea does for people with a different prescription, unfortunately (hyperopia and an asymmetric astigmatism). So, I am stuck with the spectacles, at least until some wonderful materials scientist comes up with a biocompatible responsive material that might be used to coat the eye and give me back my 20:20 vision. Maybe I'm just trying to see the world through rose-colored spectacles, or "Red Lenses" as my old rocking buddies Rush had it back in the day when my hair was wavy before it waved goodbye. I try to see my 3D printed polymer resin glass as always half full rather than half empty.

David Bradley blogs at Sciencebase Science Blog and tweets @sciencebase, he is author of the popular science book "Deceived Wisdom".