Yes, 1983 was the — “Year of the Big Glasses” — as you can see preeminently evidenced below in the 1983 promotional newspaper advertisement for “KFOR, Radio 1240, The One You Turn to For News.” I am in the lower right corner, aged 18, and in my Senior year at Lincoln Northeast High School in Lincoln, Nebraska. I was not alone in my Big Glasses accoutrement. Three others were with me, but none of my coworker cohorts also had the keen, brown, tint-a-wheel of The Big Glasses Transitions lenses of 1983!
I started working at KFOR, and sister station KFRX-FM, when I was 13-years-old or so, as the host of a radio interview program called Unique Youth. I later moved up to on air positions, and the whole experience was a real delight in finding my fundamental media footing.
When June 1, 1983 rolled around, I was still at KFOR, and I was graduating from high school, and getting ready to enter the University of Nebraska-Lincoln to begin my four year journey into a college education.
The tint of my Big Glasses of 1983 was always a topic of conversation. The lenses were supposed to only change in the sun, but sometimes television lights, or indoor photography lights, would cause the lenses to darken. After several hundred darkenings, and lightenings, the lenses tended to always have a little bit o’ tint, even in a darkened theatre.
The advantage of the Transitions lenses was that you didn’t have to switch from your regular indoor glasses to sunglasses when you traveled outside. You didn’t need to use a clip-on shade to your regular glasses. You only had one pair of glasses that served you in all lighting conditions.
I chose the brown tint — others chose the grey tint — my glasses experts at Modern Eyewear told me brown better blended with my hair and face, and so I acted on their expert advice.
Here I am in the basement of Pershing Auditorium in Lincoln, Nebraska — with my Big Tints of 1983. I’m lined up with Marianne, my Northeastern Newspaper editor, and co-class speaker. Marianne was speaking on merit, I was speaking because I wrote a speech that was selected for presentation by the school.
This is my official Big Glasses of 1983 graduation photo. I am receiving my diploma on stage and, yes, that is my speech hanging from my mouth — the topic of much mockery since that shutter snapped — but, I kindly ask you, where would you have put your speech when your right hand was shaking hands, and your left hand was accepting your diploma?
Graduation gowns are not amenable to placing papers under your arms!
Now a graduated lad, here I am in July, 1983 — playing left field for the KFOR Radio softball team — still fresh on my way to UNL in September.
My darkling 1983 Big Glasses were still on the on job, in full brown tint, waiting for the next fly ball to jump my way!
When Summer turned to Fall, I finally decided to get rid of my Big Glasses of 1983 and trade them in for contact lenses. Back then, at least in Nebraska, ophthalmologists were extremely conservative. If you wanted contact lenses, they had to be hard lenses, and you had to be at least 18-years-old to wear them.
Daily wear soft contacts, as we know them today, were not readily available for general purpose use for correcting everyday vision. Soft contact lenses were reserved for helping in recovery from some eye surgeries.
Hard lenses hurt! They were supposed to help terraform your cornea to make your vision better, but that reformation only tended to stick the lens to the surface of your eye.
We were given tiny, rubber-like, plungers to help dislocate the hard lens from the surface of the eye, but they rarely worked. The craftier way of removing your hard lenses was to pull your eyelid away from your nose while squinting really hard in an attempt to pop the lens from your eye!
Squinting rarely worked, and when it did, the clear, no tint, hard lenses tended to fly out and away as they left your eye and invisibly landed on the ground. You had to use a flashlight to find them.
You would then clean your hard lenses with distilled water, and then add some sort of anti-crud tablets to purge the eye cruft buildup from the day, and you’d cook them overnight in a special container for 30 minutes to finish the cleaning.
The hard lenses arrived in glass vials with a metal cap, one lens per vial, and they were super expensive! You worse the same lenses for years. There was no such thing as a “daily wear” contact lens you could toss away each night.
The suffering for beauty was worth the plunging, and the purging! Goodbye, 1983!