I hate putting things in my eyes.
It’s always been very uncomfortable to even get just water in them, much less chlorinated water in pools or eye drops/wash.
But I have also always wanted to try wearing color contacts.
It’s a bit contradictory, I know, but when I was a kid I wanted to have really brightly colored eyes – purple, blue, vibrant green! However, I never had cause to get contacts, and I was (probably rightly) afraid to just go out and buy some blindly without any guidance.
Eventually my eyes got worse and I started needing glasses, which I’ve worn more and more frequently for driving and other less-distant things. Last month I decided it was time, that I should finally try contacts.
Obviously, the contacts I’m dealing with right now are just the normal, clear prescription kind, but the principle is the same. Sticking something foreign in my eye and hoping to adjust… well, that’s assuming I could even get it in there.
They recommended I allow at least an hour for the initial appointment. I think I was there for around an hour and a half, and most of that was practicing putting them in and taking them out and putting them back in again. My eyes were so red and sore I wanted nothing more than to take them out and never wear contacts ever again.
Well, pain fades and resolve returns, and I did try to wear them the following morning. Brilliantly I decided to put my left eye in first, because that is more difficult for me to do, being right-handed. I thought getting the challenge over first would make things easier. It didn’t.
Whether it was my vision being even weirder or just still being terrible at this, I managed to get my right contact folded up inside my eyelid. What was really weird is that I knew it had to be there, but I couldn’t feel it at all. I freaked out. I finally put some random knowledge to use and gently massaged my eyelid downward to help the contact move down from where I assumed it was. After about ten minutes of freaking out and massaging and peeling the eyelid up to see if I could find it, I finally caught a glimpse of the edge and managed to pull it out. Unfortunately this tore the contact in the process, so I couldn’t wear them anyway. I took the left one out and went to work – late – with very red eyes.
As much as I try to overcome it, I’m still pretty anxious about unfamiliar situations, so I wasn’t sure how to go about getting a replacement lens. I debated calling, but of course they – like all medical places it seems – were only open 8-5 on weekdays. I work 8:30-5 so that would require calling during the day somehow, which I tend to have bad luck with, whether it’s long hold times or just bad cell reception at the office. Eventually I decided I would just drop by on the way to work and see if someone could help me. Thankfully, the receptionist was very nice and went to grab me another pair – she said I could toss the old ones.
With my new pair in hand, I went to work. Apparently sometime during the day, they were shaken up enough to cause them to fold over inside their containers which may have caused them to become slightly misshapen… I tried them on that night and wore them for almost 3 uncomfortable hours. I took them out before sleeping and placed them in the sanitizing case overnight.
The next morning was a breeze, comparatively speaking! Right eye took a while, but the left eye was easy – except the lens kept refusing to stick to my eye, having separation anxiety from my finger. Eventually I was able to place it comfortably in my eye, and I went to work. Those were probably the most unproductive 8 hours I’ve ever had. The contacts were dry, my eyes were irritated, and I only had whatever eye drops we had in the house, which were probably not meant for contact lens users, but they were better than nothing. I tried tearing up, I tried blinking like crazy, nothing made them feel less weird. As I mentioned above, it’s possible that the shape was less than ideal, but the thickness is something else. I couldn’t wait to get home and take them out.
I avoided using them all weekend. I just wanted a break from holding my eyelids in place and poking myself in the eye like some kind of masochist.
On Monday, I failed to put them in. I tried for half hour and got nowhere.
Tuesday was the same, long time and no progress. Tuesday night I finally managed to force them in after a long process, but it was horribly uncomfortable and I had to take them out right away.
I felt like I’d lost it. Friday was so good – well, except for it being uncomfortable all day – and I felt like I had finally got the general groove of how to put them in. I was devastated. Maybe I couldn’t do this after all.
I had my one week follow up appointment today. I went into that appointment ready to admit defeat – I have too much going on to be stressing about something so inconsequential – I was rehearsing in my head all the reasons why I just couldn’t do this right now. I checked in with the receptionist and waited for the moment of judgement to come.
I sat down with the doctor and told him about how it was good and then bad and then worse. How I can’t get any work done if my lenses feel that bad. How I can’t even succeed in putting them in anymore. How I don’t know if this is really right for me anymore.
He said – it’s okay, don’t worry, we’ll find something. He typed something into the computer that I couldn’t read because I wasn’t wearing my glasses and left the room. He returned with just one lens. He said, let’s try this, it might be easier.
Hesitant, but trying not to give in to anxiety, I sat down in front of the mirror, and nervously chatted as I prepared to poke myself in the eye yet again. The lens seemed smaller and lighter – although he assured me that the diameter was the same, 14.5! After about five tries, I miraculously just popped it in. I don’t know how else to describe it – it just went in. I blinked. It’s… in? I could barely feel it. He had me read an eye chart with just one eye, which always feels a bit weird, but is doubly weird when you only have one contact. As a side note, I tried covering my contact lens eye to see how the left would fare – everything was blurry… OTL
So, I don’t have a full set of those lenses yet, since they had to be ordered, and maybe a full day with them won’t be magical, but I feel… relieved. More confident. Maybe I can do this?
I don’t want to give up. I want to be able to wear contacts that make my eyes look bigger, that help me wear more accurate cosplay, that help me see without having to wear glasses which get foggy or dirty or wet. I want to be able to wear whatever cute sunglasses I want and still be able to see. Contacts are a fantastic invention – they’re really very amazing. Just a tiny piece of… plastic? vinyl? that’s curved in just the right way to correct your vision and help you see details again. My vision isn’t that bad (although it’s getting worse), so it’s not like I’m blind without glasses, and I spent a long time not even realizing that I needed them because I just thought things in the distance were always blurry. I am always blown away by the level of detail in distant objects when I wear glasses, and being able to do that without glasses is somehow a little mind-blowing. I like technology. Contacts are technology, even if they aren’t digital. (Although, one day…?!) This is something I’ve wanted since I was a little girl, and now I can have it.