Near-sighted or bifocaled? How do I do shower stuff when I can't see?
February 7, 2015 8:17 AM   Subscribe

I've been wearing glasses and/or contacts to correct far-sightedness for most of my life but recently I bit the bullet and switched to bifocals. The has mostly been a great improvement but now I find that basically all the below-the-knee grooming stuff is really difficult in the shower, where I can't really wear my glasses. I feel kind of dumb, but I can't be the only one with this problem. Have you faced this problem? Did you find a workaround? Or is this just another frustrating PITA part of getting older?

Some details:

1) Contacts are a no-go.
2) I can wear my glasses in the shower once in a while but it's annoying and impractical for every day.
3) My vision isn't awful, it's just really blurry (and beyond squinting) beyond a foot or two. So it's not just executing tasks like doing pedi stuff, it's even noticing that, say, my legs are stubbly.
4) I have no bathtub, so there's no ledge to rest my foot closer to my face. I do have an enormous shower, so other foot rests might work.
posted by Room 641-A to Health & Fitness (21 answers total) 3 users marked this as a favorite
You could get a (step)stool to use in the shower. Maybe one that's meant to be used outdoors? Those should stand up to getting wet.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:24 AM on February 7, 2015

Two things.

1. Do shaving on a schedule. I shave every other day.

2. Use one of those razors that doesn't require shaving cream. Just keep shaving. I like the Schick Hydro 5. Voop, voop, voop, done.

They make teak stools that are attractive.

I keep everything together in a shower caddy, and I don't move stuff around. So the shampoo and conditioner are always in the same place.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 8:26 AM on February 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Something like this might do the trick.
posted by Too-Ticky at 8:27 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I just keep my glasses within arms reach (on the bathroom counter) and when I turn off the water to shave I put them on, if I feel it's necessary. If the counter is far away can you put up a small shelf or hook where it won't get splashed by water?

Usually though I shave by touch (run you hand up your leg to find out if you have stubble).
posted by acidic at 8:39 AM on February 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

I've been in trifocal-land for the last 6-7 years, straight jump from single lens. I had some difficulties at first making the adjustment, lotsa sore neck days from learning to hold my head properly. Blurry was okay for some tasks of short duration, but not for stuff (like reading and writing) which requires a specific posture for an extended time. I solved the problem by getting a set of single lens reading glasses adjusted to my prescription for approximately an arm's length. I call them my "Ben Franklin's" as that is the style I like. I don't get them wet on purpose, but perhaps a plastic frame set of reading glasses might work for you.
posted by CincyBlues at 8:46 AM on February 7, 2015 [3 favorites]

I slather conditioner(shaving cream/lotion/whatever) so the first pass is just a matter of removing all the white from my legs. This is good enough for most situations.

If I'm putting in a but more time I tidy up a bit using two hands, one to feel for stubble followed closely by the razor.
posted by platypus of the universe at 8:49 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

I can't help with the noticing legs are stubbly bit, but I can't see my legs in the shower either. I shave by using Kiss My Face shave cream (you work up a lather) and I use the absence of the cream as my rough guide for whether I've shaved everything.

Then, I feel my whole leg while there's still shaving cream residue on my leg and hand, feeling for rough spots. It works better than looking for spots you missed I swear! (Unless you have some sort of magically soft undetectable leg stubble I guess.)

On preview, I guess platypus of the universe and I have the same method!
posted by purple_bird at 9:37 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is this just about the shaving issue? If your shower is large then sit on a shower stool or even on the floor of the shower. Also, my vision is fine but when I shave my legs I always rub my other hand behind where I shaved to make sure I didn't miss anything. Also maybe an electric razor may be useful for you because there's less chances of cutting yourself.
posted by Crystalinne at 9:51 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Is this just about the shaving issue?

No, it's for all the little attendant tasks that, for me, are "out of sight, out of mind."
posted by Room 641-A at 10:00 AM on February 7, 2015

This has been my situation ever since I was a teenager, so I'm used to it. I'm blind as a bat without my glasses. I just keep my glasses nearby in case I need them while showering, but otherwise I don't do anything special. I never wear contacts for showering. It might take some time to get used to it, but over time you'll start to build muscle memory of the shower area and it'll become a new "normal".

When I'm swimming, I always wear contacts because I can't see to get back to the blanket or to the side of the pool, and because I'm in public.
posted by starpoint at 10:20 AM on February 7, 2015 [4 favorites]

What if you spray your old glasses with some kind of antifog spray and keep them in the shower? Before I had lasik I always had to wear contacts in the shower. (I've never tried that spray, ymmv.)
posted by artychoke at 10:39 AM on February 7, 2015 [2 favorites]

Wrt shaving, is your toilet next to the sink? If so, close the lid and shave there.
posted by brujita at 10:56 AM on February 7, 2015

Shower chair?
posted by ShooBoo at 11:02 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

Astigmatic/myopic here: for shaving, when I don't wear my contacts, I just go by feel to see if it's time, and use Venus razors. They're super user-friendly, you'd have to work hard to take out a slice of leg. I do the same safety dance to orient myself every time (pivot in three little steps, lean on left quad with left arm, swipe right leg with right hand, cross over for the other), but a bench or chair is a great idea. I keep my products in a basket suction-cupped to the wall approx 6" from where I stand, and only use it to hold the few products I use regularly, so I'm not fumbling around.

When I'm swimming, I always wear contacts because I can't see to get back to the blanket or to the side of the pool, and because I'm in public.

Hey, good point - I wear corrective goggles to swim. They're not perfect, but they let me see well enough to get around. I'm not sure how they'd work with a bifocal script, but maybe worth a try?

I think for any kind of grooming that requires close attention, though, it might be better to do it out of the shower.
posted by cotton dress sock at 11:38 AM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

There are sturdy plastic stools that are used in showers for e.g., the elderly. (Sorry, you are already feeling um, classic.) You could just leave one in your large shower, to sit on or to use as a prop for your legs. Just Google shower stool for sources.
posted by Cranberry at 12:03 PM on February 7, 2015 [1 favorite]

It sounds like things closer than a foot or two are in focus, so I'm going to assume you've been nearsighted for your entire life instead of farsighted as you said.

I admit that I'm not quite sure what the problem is exactly. I was more nearsighted than you before correction, did not wear glasses in the shower, and never had any problems shaving. But I wasn't able to use contacts, so perhaps that makes this more complex in some way.

I find it generally useful and handy to have some sort of plastic stool in the shower for shaving legs, it's nice not to be trying to balance. You can sit or put a foot up on it.

Another alternative is buying an electric razor and shaving out of the shower.

not just executing tasks like doing pedi stuff, it's even noticing that, say, my legs are stubbly

Get in the habit of looking at your body before you take the glasses off, or shave your legs on a schedule.

I have no idea what sort of pedi stuff you are doing in the shower, I've never heard of people doing that sort of thing while showering, any time I've seen someone doing pedi stuff they have been sitting in a dry place.

For scrubbing the feet, that's not really a problem with blurry vision, and personally it's something I do regularly rather than waiting to notice there is some sort of problem.

If you have your old contacts I guess you could still wear them just for showering.
posted by yohko at 4:00 PM on February 7, 2015

Using the old readers will be a great solution since it won't matter if they drop or get scratched, and while I knew of teak shower seats (a little pricey) I'd definitely blocked out the, um, classic versions. I think the combination of the two will be the perfect little stop-gap, thanks.

For scrubbing the feet, that's not really a problem with blurry vision, and personally it's something I do regularly rather than waiting to notice there is some sort of problem.

But how do you know you feet are clean if you can't see them? Ah-ha!
posted by Room 641-A at 7:57 PM on February 7, 2015

Are your feet getting visibly dirty between showers? I am thinking a 5 second per foot scrub is going to git'r'done either way. You can probably pick up a pair of all plastic reading glasses in the drugstore for like $2 that can live in the shower. Something like this that lives in the shower to scrub your feet might be a good option for you too.
posted by Iteki at 9:28 PM on February 7, 2015

I just marked this resolved, but here's one last example: I took a quick shower. Since I don't need to shave my legs every day anymore shaving wasn't on my mind. Now, sitting barefoot and cross-legged, I realize I could have run the razor over a few hairs on my big toe. It's not a huge deal, and I wouldn't care if I left the house in flip-flops with a hairy toe, it's just the kind of thing I'd have noticed before, that's all.
posted by Room 641-A at 6:36 AM on February 8, 2015

If you don't want to go full electric razor, you can get one of these little trimmers. I find them really useful for tiny missed shaving spots like you mentioned. I sometimes have to follow up on a knee or something because my hair is really light colored.
posted by Crystalinne at 11:56 AM on February 8, 2015

This is an eye-opener; I've never been able to see in the shower, because of my glasses, and didn't realize people did things by sight.

Shave your legs by feel. Shave your toe right now, dry, if it's bugging you -- it'll be fine. Switch to getting your legs waxed or buy an epilator if you feel like shaving by feel isn't going to work.
posted by The corpse in the library at 3:44 PM on February 10, 2015

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