Monday, May 24, 2010

On Contacts

Most people who know me have only seen me while wearing glasses. In fact, there is a decent bunch of people who have only seen me in one specific pair of glasses. In fact the only time I've seen myself without glasses since I was in high school was either as a blur or from about 15cm away from the mirror, neither of which give the greatest perspective. So going to contact lenses was kind of a big step.

I had tried contact lenses once in university when the optometrist on campus was offering one day trials (I guess this must have been when daily lenses were a new thing) and they were all right then, but I didn't have to put them in or take them out myself, and being a broke uni student with a relatively new pair of glasses at the time, I didn't follow it up further.

So why did I decide to try sticking pieces of soft plastic directly on my eyeballs instead of just continuing to wear glasses? The answer is pretty easy, my bike. Glasses and a helmet don't work well. Neither do glasses and peripheral vision.

Getting the lenses didn't turn out to be too tricky. I made an appointment with an optometrist, and after an eye test it turned out my eyes were just bad enough that medicare would cover some trial lenses to see what worked best for me. So then I waited for a week for a pair in my prescription to arrive, and the next Friday I was back to learn how to put them on and take them out.

Now putting a piece of plastic on your eyeball, much like putting anything one your eyeball is not something you generally want to do, and the body has a whole bunch of automatic systems that try and stop you doing this. And these even interfere with trying to take the damn thing off as well. So it started out with the optometrist putting the contacts in. Then I had to take them out. This involves holding your top eyelid open with one hand while first sliding the lens down the eye so as to form a fold, and then grabbing the fold and pulling the lens out. sounds easy when you say it, but you try poking yourself in the eye and see how easy it is.

Next I had to put them in myself. This proved even trickier than taking them out. You need to hold both eyelids close, and then stick the lens straight onto your eye. And if you don't hold your eyelids tight enough and blink halfway through, well then you just have to start again. I think it took about twice as long to get them in as to take them out. But get them in I did, and with a few other pieces of advice I was sent on my way.

I hung around the city for a little while to give my eyes some time to adjust to the presence of these intruders on my eyeball before riding out to Chermside for games night.

This first pair was meant to be a fortnight pair, but I stopped wearing them after about a week. After getting them on the Friday, I think on Wednesday night while they were meant to be soaking in contact lens fluid the right lens got stuck on the lid of teh container and so stayed out of the fluid. In the morning it had a bend in it and I couldn't get it in, and so wore my glasses and let it spend the day soaking in fluid. The next day I was able to get it in, but on the Saturday I was reading when the right lens fell out. I didn't notice immediately, but after a while noticed that the focus of my two eyes was different, and assumed that the right lens was a bit out of place. Close my eye and rubbing the eyelid did not do much to restore vision in the right eye, and so I decided to just take them out for the night. Only when trying to take off the lens and getting a more than normally unpleasant sensation did I realise the lens was actually not there. I did manage to find where it fell out, but decided that that was that for that pair of lenses.

At the follow up appointment on the next Tuesday I got two pairs of daily lenses and a monthly pair. Unfortunately I only got to wear one pair of the dailies as I managed to drop one while trying to put it in, and it ws then that I truly began to appreciate how helpful it was that the first pair I'd got were actually blue (it didn't seem to affect my perception of colour, but it did make seeing the things a lot easier). As a lens in just the left eye isn't much use, after get one day out of the daily, I started using the monthly pair, which I'm still using now.

In general the contacts are best while I'm out and about, either walking around or riding the bike, although riding the bike tends to dry them out a bit. Sitting in front of the computer gets a bit uncomfortable after a while, and when I play on my Wii I tend to lose focus a bit, forcing me to close my eyes for a little bit, which during most games can be a disadvantage. If I'm at home I stick with the glasses, as my routine has become such that I put the lenses in after taking a shower (I should ask if it's ok to wear them in the shower. I was told to use a daily pair if I was going to go swimming or such so I'm not sure), so when they go in depends a bit on my schedule.

I'm going to have to make a decision soon on if I want to keep going with them, as medicare will only pay for so much trying out different things. I think I'll continue using them, even if they are a bit uncomfortable at times (I presume that that will change with time). The improvement in vision is pretty good. It does avoid the hassles of the glasses not fitting in the helmet well, although it does introduce the whole eyeball poking as an alternative hassle.

I was also surprised by the general lack of comment brought about by switching to contacts. It was about two weeks before anyone commented on the fact, and in the month I've been wearing them there have been only 4 comments, and one was asking why I had gone back to the glasses on that day. I guess like a few other circumstances I've tried applying it to, Daria episodes are not a suitable guide for life. I guess perhaps its not so big a change from other people's perspectives. I have had two people not recognize me straight away, but one is understandable since I hadn't seen her in about 4 years and have a beard now as well (although given my irregular shaving habits back then that's not such a big change) although the other person had no such excuse.

Here endeth the stream of consciousness

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I want a photo